How to talk about your achievements

Talking About Your Achievements

Many people are naturally cautious and careful about talking about how great they are. In an interview situation however it is your job to ‘blow your own trumpet’. The interviewer is likely to ask a question like:

“Tell me about your major achievements at XYZ Company.”
“What was your greatest success in Company ABC?”

You must be fully prepared to answer this question.

If you are in sales or a sales-related job then things are easy, as a salesperson you know what your impact was because it was measured and your performance was evaluated. You know that you are good at what you do because your Manager has spoken directly to you about it – this makes you prepared to talk to the interviewer about your performance.

Remembering at all times that you must never share commercially confidential or sensitive information be prepared to talk about the percentages you added, the number of clients you brought and the volume of sales you closed. However sales achievement is expressed in your sector that is how you should prepare to answer this question. Be honest about sales which you personally delivered and make it clear which sales you only took a supporting role in.

If you are not in a sales or sales-related role then you have to prepare a little differently. However you must be prepared to describe your achievements all the same. Ideas for areas of achievement for you to prepare can be from the following list:

  • What improvements, innovations or developments did you bring about through your own inputs?
  • What impact did your own effort have on operations, relationships, systems, structures?
  • What project did you ‘own’ – meaning take accountability for?
  • What about you was your line manager happiest with?
  • What personal achievement was your greatest?
  • What project did you take ownership of and complete?

Although being part of a team that had achievements is a good thing to talk about here, if the interviewer is looking for examples of leadership then your achievement as part of a team effort may not be what you should be describing. If you didn’t have a leadership role, but you had responsibility for a part of the team’s achievement then focus your answer on the clear part that you were responsible for.

Before the interview you must prepare some examples, prepare a short list off your achievements for each of the positions you have held.

A good start is to make a list of all the things that you are proud of in your work. Focus on your successes and above everything else be honest.


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