All of us have achievements, small or big. It’s a mistake to think we’ll never forget all the great things we’ve done. When it comes to things like CVs and interviews, those amazing accomplishments can slip through our fingers like grains of sand.
So what can you do about it? When you achieve good things in study, your hobbies and interests, or work experience of any kind, note them down. Have your life’s achievements at your fingertips!
Why keep track of your achievements and successes?
It helps with:
- Writing or updating your CV
- Applying for jobs or work-related opportunities like apprenticeships (you’ve got that cover letter covered)
- Writing your UCAS personal statement if you choose the uni route
- Answering common interview questions like “what’s your greatest achievement” or “describe a situation where you overcame a challenge”
- Reminding you how awesome you are
Tips for noting your successes down
Every time you think “winning”, note it down! You’re likely to forget it if you don’t.
Every time you get praise from the people in charge for doing something great, note it down! It’ll help you reflect on what you enjoy, what you’re good at and what you’re recognised for. So useful for that all-important interview or application.
Track your successes in something you won’t lose and can update easily. It might be a special notebook or a digital spreadsheet.
Include a date for each success so you know when it happened.
Think Challenge, Action, Result when jotting successes down. How? First, think of a challenge that needed to be dealt with (e.g. exams coming up). What steps did you take to overcome the challenge (e.g. creating an exam timetable)? Were there any special obstacles you faced (e.g. finding some subjects trickier than others)? How did you overcome those special obstacles (e.g. prioritising revision for harder topics)? What was the result (e.g. exam grades)?
Questions about your skills, strengths and qualities will often crop up in interviews so it’s good to be prepared. For each success, you can make a note of personal qualities or skills you displayed (e.g. for exams you could make a note of your organisation, logic and problem-solving). Then coming up with three or four personal successes you can talk about confidently in interviews will be that much easier.
HOT TIP: In work already or doing work experience or a placement? Keep a “thank you/well done” folder in your email inbox. Any time people give you good feedback, you can file those thank you emails into your folder and save them for later.
Examples of personal achievements
Your life achievements are worth shouting about. They don’t all have to be Olympic-medal standard. Whatever stage of life you’re at, you’ll have done things that employers want to know about. Here are some examples to help you reflect on your past glories:
Did you show initiative when researching? Did you learn new skills to complete the project? Did you get positive feedback?
Setting up or participating in a charity event
Did you display qualities like initiative, event promotion or teamwork?
Hobbies and interests
No-one’s forcing you to have a hobby or interest, so having one displays initiative. Achievements in this area can make your job application/interview stand out and are definitely worth noting down. Whether you’ve set up a book club, coded your own app or done well with your local sports team, enjoy the fuzzy warm glow of achievement… and note it down.
Did you help to co-ordinate or lead any activities? Did you learn new skills? Did you raise money for a cause? Did you help to improve your community?
When you haven’t taken that first step into work yet, employers will find your academic achievements useful in seeing where your interests are and whether you’ll be suitable for a role. Exam grades are an example of academic achievements.
World of work
The world of work can include anything from work experience to jobs or work-based training. Did you learn new skills or build on existing ones? Did you display qualities like time-keeping, organisation and enthusiasm? Were you given responsibilities? Did you get positive feedback?