Welcome to this sixth module, focused on


  • Enabling you to recognise and celebrate your skills, strengths and achievements

  • Identifying how to apply your abilities and achievements during your retirement

  • If appropriate, producing a CV, particularly while the info is still fresh in your mind 

Tackle the module in bite size chunks, don’t feel the need to do everything in one go and allow plenty of time to digest and apply the information covered

The module includes helpful ‘Activities’ for you to complete, it is strongly recommended that you undertake them to get the most out of the content and the key learning points



Allow yourself time to reflect and take on board the advice, key messages and suggested tasks in the programme to enable you to move forward with your retirement

This module will enable you to

  • Recognise and celebrate your key skills, strengths and achievements with pride

  • If you wish to seek part time paid or unpaid roles, then how to

  • Develop strong achievements that visibly demonstrate your market value

  • Design powerful differentiating CVs that enable you to find and secure opportunities

This module will be relevant to you if any of the following needs apply

  • You would like to enhance your self esteem and self confidence by capturing, recognising and celebrating your key career skills strengths and achievements

  • You would like to wrap up your career by recognising and valuing your key skills, strengths and achievements while they are still fresh in your mind

  • Your active retirement plans and intentions includes seeking part time paid or unpaid roles or responsibilities

  • There may be at least be a possibility that you might want to seek part time paid or unpaid roles at some stage in the future

In particular, this module will take you through a process to enable you to

  • Substantially raise your self awareness of your most valued skills and strengths

  • Produce and hone extremely punchy and highly differentiating achievements 

  • Draft a compelling CV that enable you to generate roles and opportunities

  • Tailor you CV depending on the type and level of roles that your may be seeking 


Recognising, identifying and appreciating your skills can be valuable and uplifting

Below is a selection of some of the skills particularly relevant for paid and unpaid roles

Recognising, identifying and valuing your key strengths useful and motivational

Below is a selection of some of the strengths particularly relevant to paid and unpaid roles

Probably a lot fewer!

Probably a lot more than you thought you would!

How many skills and how many strengths did you identify in total?

How many skills and strengths could you have  identified without the lists?

The reason why it can be more difficult to do it ‘from a blank sheet’ of paper is that you are currently unconsciously competent  on automatic pilot  as we saw when we looked at how people learn

Which is why you need to take a step back and become consciously competent

All of the words in these and any other lists are there for you to use to start building a clear picture of what you have to offer

When painting a visual picture of your skills and strengths 

  • You may wish to attach a describing or qualifying word first to describe them

  • There are many different ones you can use, provided you are comfortable with them

  • The following are a small sample, that you are very welcome to use as appropriate

Action words are important 'doing' words in describing your achievements

Below is a small selection of some of the more useful action words you could use

Recognising achievements raises your self awareness and self esteem

Articulating achievements differentiates you from other role hunters

Strong achievements answer three questions clearly and concisely

So what was the achievement?

  • Ensuring the reader understands, recognises and values it

So what benefit(s) resulted?

  • Confirming the key quality and/or quantity measures of success

So what does it say about you?

  • Demonstrating the skills and/or strengths that made it happen

'Don’t get it right, get it written' – focus on capturing the key 'so what' info

You may find it easier to start off with your most recent achievements

You may find it useful to print off the 'Word Bank' by CLICKING HERE

Having brainstormed the ‘raw material’ of your achievements, they now need honing into strong, concise, attention grabbing bullet points

This is an iterative process, you will not get where to you want to be first time, it usually takes several goes to get them right

Once drafted, it can be very useful to share your achievements with one or more others to get their feedback and suggestions

Some example achievements that might help you with drafting your achievements are provided below


Where safely possible, once you have honed the achievements, share them with others to seek feedback on how to improve them further

Feel free to use any words or phrases in the achievements that are useful to you 

  • Project managed a £1.5m office refurbishment meeting all time, budget and quality targets using strong leadership and consultative abilities

  • Used excellent networking and communication skills to identify and win new customers resulting in £1.3m p.a. additional gross sales

  • Won numerous multi million pound contracts including MOD, NHS and Lloyds using effective analytical and negotiation skills with determination

  • Generated excellent customer feedback managing 11 high volume catering venues and 150 staff by being motivational, energetic and fair

  • Consistently met high volume parcel van delivery targets with good customer feedback by being highly organised, accurate, diligent and friendly

  • Regularly received excellent manager and customer feedback for front desk reception cover by always being efficient and professional

  • Designed and presented a new, more informative, Excel spreadsheet at monthly meetings that measurably improved reporting and shortened meeting length

  • Negotiated and implemented a new defined benefits staff pension scheme with two unions resulting in a 9% p.a. business cost reduction

The key purposes of your CV are to

  • Generate interviews, meetings, sales conversations/presentations or other interactions

  • Differentiate yourself from the other applicants – to get you 'ahead of the pack'

  • Tell the reader – 'I did a great job for them and I can do a great job for you'

  • Raise your self awareness, self esteem and confidence in your market value

  • To increase your understanding of your potential target markets and opportunities

A good quality CV

  • Uses achievements not responsibilities

  • Is clear, meaningful, relevant and concise  

  • Has the most important info as early as possible

  • Doesn’t use any 'I', 'my' and 'we' phrasing

  • Only uses jargon readers will know and expect

  • Is social media, email and online friendly

Minimum content

  • Contact details

  • Social media links


  • Personal profile

  • Employment history

  • Achievements

  • Qualifications

  • Memberships

  • Education

  • Training


  • Two or three pages maximum



  • Specialist CVs can be longer



  • Simple uncluttered format



  • Bullet points and punchy



  • Good white space usage



  • Spell/grammar checked    

Not relevant to getting an interview and difficult to do ‘on paper’, best explained and discussed face to face

Leave until asked for them, then you can choose who you use and give them some advance warning and guidance

If you have any related issues, they are best discussed verbally, if they ask about them

Omit, unless requested

  • Photos or pictures 

  • Reasons for leaving any job



  • Age or date of birth

  • Referees or testimonials    

  • Family/marital information    

  • Health/weight/height    

Optional, if congruent and relevant

  • Interests and hobbies    



  • Charity/NFP etc. activity    



  • Driving licence info    

2% of the population is photogenic, are you one of them?

Its superfluous info and, due to age discrimination legislation, some organisations disqualify CVs that include the info to protect themselves

Irrelevant info that shouldn’t affect decision making either way

A personal profile statement

  • Is circa 30 words long and appears at the beginning of the CV



  • Summarises the key attributes and experience you have to offer



  • Is your first impression – and you only get one chance to make it



  • Is not a compulsory feature, but many readers expect to see one

  • Some readers don’t like them so, for them, keep it short and sharp



  • The following are a couple of examples of effective profile statements

Reverse chronology CV


  • The most common and most traditional format



  • Starts with most recent role and works backwards



  • Emphasises most recent achievements and experiences



  • Particularly favoured by recruitment agencies



  • Good if seeking to stay in similar roles and sectors

Functional CV



  • Useful if trying to move to a different job and/or sector

  • Allows you to tailor the order of skills sets as you wish

  • Focusses on skills and achievements rather than roles

  • Enable career gaps to be de-emphasised

Academic/teaching/ scientific/medical

  • Either above formats work, but reverse chronology is usually used

  • Usually much longer than two pages and much more detailed

Below is the an example of a 'typical' two page reverse chronology CV

Let's take some time looking at some of the features and benefits of this type of CV

Most recent job first and then going backwards

Provides at least two ways of being contacted

Punchy profile, lots of key words and not too long

Achievements answer the three ‘so what’ questions wherever possible

Just the last ten years or so in detail

Older jobs summarised

Education and qualifications summarised

Relevant memberships included

Kept down to two pages and builds a clear picture of abilities 

The following functional CV contains the same info as the previous reverse chronology CV, but by function rather than from most recent job going backwards

It is a format that is most useful for networking, consultancy and when trying to change sector or types of roles 

It is least east helpful with recruitment agencies and headhunters who, almost always, prefer to see to see a reverse chronology CV

Functional headings need to be tailored to the target roles being sought

Put the functional groups of achievements in their order of importance for the reader, most important first

De-emphasises job titles

and sector experience, useful  if looking to change sector

As we have seen, the best achievements answer three ‘so what’ questions


  • ‘So what’ was the achievement

  • ‘So what’ success measure(s) did it generate

  • ‘So what’ skills and strengths of yours made it happen

It doesn’t matter in what order the three questions are answered, as long as they are

It does matter that

  • Automated online readers can identify key words and score you to the next stage

  • Human readers can quickly understand, recognise and value your three answers

Now for some related maths – there are six different ways of ordering the three ‘so what’ answers in a punchy sentence

Let's have a look at real example to see how the six different ways work out in practice to see how they actually read

The 3 ‘so what’ elements of an example achievement we are going to use are


  • THE ACHIEVEMENT – ‘successfully led and trained a sales team of 10’

  • THE MEASURE – ‘exceeded annual sales target by 20% over 3 consecutive years'     

  • THE SKILL(S)/STRENGTH(S) – ‘used excellent coaching and motivation skills’    

So the 6 combinations of the 3 ‘so what’ answers could look something like this

  • Successfully led and trained a sales team of 10 to exceed annual sales target by 20% over 3 consecutive years using excellent coaching and motivational skills

  • Successfully led and trained a sales team of 10 using excellent coaching and motivational skills to exceed annual sales target by 20% over 3 consecutive years

  • Used excellent coaching and motivational skills to successfully lead and train a sales team of 10 to exceed annual sales target by 20% over 3 consecutive years

  • Used excellent coaching and motivational skills to exceed annual sales target by 20%  over 3 consecutive years by successfully leading and training a sales team of 10


  • Exceeded annual sales target by 20% over 3 consecutive years by successfully leading and training a sales team of 10 using excellent coaching and motivational skills

  • Exceeded annual sales target by 20% over 3 consecutive years using excellent coaching and motivational skills to successfully lead and train a sales team of 10











+ Measure

+ Skills/Strengths


+ Skills/Strengths





As you can see, they can all work, its simply a matter of deciding what works best for you



As you build more achievements you need to use all of the six different options for variety



The variety is needed for human readers, of course, not the automated online readers!

You might find it useful to print off the 'Word Bank' we looked at before by CLICKING HERE

Additional example CVs can be accessed by CLICKING HERE

In relation to preparing for your retirement, this module has enabled you to


  • Increase your self-awareness, self-esteem and self-confidence

  • Express your skills, strengths and achievements powerfully and effectively

  • Create and update your CV as a powerful active retirement tool to seek part/full time paid/unpaid roles

Go to the next module by CLICKING HERE

Go to the Active Retirement main menu by CLICKING HERE