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The importance of quantifying your achievements in interview

posted by Roisin McNamara on 15th April 2016

I have been recruiting for technical engineering jobs such as Manufacturing Engineers, NPI Engineers, Automation Engineers, and Equipment Engineers for nearly 11 years.

As a job seeker, it is absolutely critical that you find ways to sell yourself effectively to potential employers in interview. You need to be able to present yourself, your qualifications and achievements in the best possible light.

The best way to make your CV and interview stand out from your rivals is by quantifying your achievements.

Firstly you must:

Clarify your involvement in the Achievement: What I mean by this is that you describe your contribution. It is important to use words like I created reorganised or initiated projects. A lot of people tend to use we or was involved in which don’t indicate your level of performance. The hiring manager needs to believe that you actually made a difference in achieving this positive outcome.

Describe a Start, Middle and End: Here it is important to use your problem solving techniques. You must define the problem, Measure the current outcome, analyse what can be achieved, implement change and put controls in place to insure this change is a lasting one. (DMAIC Model)

Quantify the Achievement: Use number and percentages where you can. For example the success of the project leads to a €10K savings for the company or we reduced costs or increased yields by 10% which had a €40K savings. The more specific you are the greater the value of your statement.

Include details of challenging circumstances: If the achievement was tough due to business events or conditions, then make sure you say what they were. Give an example of a time that something when wrong, describe the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

Quantifying your achievements can be an important mental exercise. It shows you exactly what you've been doing in recent years, and where there may be room for improvement. It provides you with a helpful barometer of your professional success. Once you've performed this exercise, you might find yourself doing it again and again until it truly becomes a habit.