This is upsetting for me too!

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“Incredible. More CV advice…” we hear you say

CVs are still here (for now), but we still get them so wrong.

Some oversell, some undersell, some cover the wrong areas entirely. If we can, without falling asleep ourselves, give some advice in one area with ecommerce in mind:

Responsibilities Vs Achievements

Responsibilities are the same as everyone else. You sound the same, the exact same. Who taught us this? Ecommerce Director's typically all own the ecommerce p&l, define strategy and implement it. Online traders typically all forecast and improve / increase conversion. Online marketing peeps drive traffic to the site and so on. Too many talented people (perhaps you are one of them) describe their job role similar to the job description, it is nothing more than a checklist.

What we advise:

Describe this checklist as soon as possible but the important part is to separate and understand the difference between responsibility (what you are paid to do as a minimum) and your achievement. For example:

  • Responsibility: Launch and project manage thenew platform

  • Achievement: Delivered new magento2 / demandware site within agreed timeframe and budget thus increasing mob traffic etc

And the best time to bring all this to life is in the actual interview of course. Another example

  • Responsibility: Manage team, liaise & work closely with senior stakeholders

  • Achievement: I led and developed the first graduate to management level, built high performing team with yoy % sales growth, personally promoted and recognised as a leader by my peers. They gave me a trophy. I have it with me, look! ...too far but you get the point

We can almost guarantee the owner of the business / line manager will follow up with or at least be thinking

  • Great stuff, HOW did you achieve this?

  • What did you need to achieve it?

  • Can you do it again with a different resource, infrastructure, product, timing, leadership …

  • Do you have the appetite to do it again?

  • Can you please do this again for us but with better results?

Unfortunately you do not know who the gatekeeper is and their level of understanding when you apply to a job. Make it easy for them to understand your job (responsibilities) and how good you are at them (achievements).

In summary

Digital & ecommerce is so competitive the reason why you don't get the job more often than not is not down to your capabilities but who you were up against. They sold themselves better, their ability, their achievements. They minimised the RISK for the hiring manager. They closed that gap. Learn to articulate your achievements in a fluent language. Own them. They are unique to you and you only. Your metrics. Your career. You don’t make it to the final stage interview to discuss responsibilities.

Another way to look at it is be to pay close attention to the words you use to describe achievements eg perhaps try Improved / track record / grew / increased / decreased / delivered / developed / recognised and awarded / promoted / empowered with more authority / influenced with "this" outcome / prevented

P.s personality, chemistry and culture fit - now that's a different shift story for another day!

CAREER ADVICEAdrian Ramani