The most talented people build the most talented companies. Beyond mega investments and market opportunity, people are the number 1 asset of any highly successful organisation.

Companies recognise that A players drive innovation, creativity, organisational ambition, and relentless determination. The key to success; companies are searching for A players to sit behind their desks.

What is an A player?

Topgrading experts, Brad and Geoff Smart describe A players as:

“An A-Player is an employee who has a 90% chance of performing in the top 10%”.

A Players are a rare find. Somewhat unique, A players only about form 10% of the labour market. They can be found in every industry, and don’t belong to any one sector. So although they will have the impressive technical ability as required by their particular field, it is the personal attributes of an individual that define them as an A player.

Are you an A player?

Are you one of the 10%?  Before we delve into how you can identify yourself as an A player on your CV, why not see how many of these attributes you can (honestly!) recognise in yourself!

Among other things, A players have:

  • An ownership mindset
  • High self-awareness
  • Intellect
  • Depth
  • Curiosity and a desire to learn

How can you demonstrate an A Player status on your CV?

A players can be identified by a few different markers.  Of course, it is unlikely that your CV would be able to demonstrate all of these. However, where you can, you should aim to highlight as many of these achievements as possible on your CV or LinkedIn profile.

Project-focused description in your profile.

A players can do more than just list the technologies they have used as part of their work.  Going one step further, they can also point out their impact on the business.  They can identify the contribution they have made, both to the progression and growth of the organisation.

Entrepreneurship experience.

Building a company from the ground up takes a very healthy dose of impressive qualities. Vision, dedication, self-motivation, self-organisation, determination, tenacity, resilience…I could go on! In fact, there are almost too many to list.

People who have started their own businesses understand how a company works. They have experienced highs, lows, and everything in between. Entrepreneurs are a great asset to any company – no matter the outcome of their own endeavors.


A Players are performance-driven. They believe in self-development, and so by their very nature are motivated and ambitious. Earning a promotion demonstrates that you have a high drive to succeed and that you have enjoyed success in your former work.

You should ensure that you include all your promotions at each company, no matter how insignificant they appear on the surface.

Lasting durations of employment.

A players make an impact on an organisation. This doesn’t happen overnight. Employment that is over 2 years in length allows you to have made a significant contribution; one that is worthy of an A player.  Time commitment also indicates loyalty and a tenacious motivation to succeed in a role.

Of course, if you are a contractor, this may not apply. Instead, make sure you indicate if your contract has been extended.  Highlighting this demonstrates that the contribution you were making was significant.

Open source experience and published works.

Have you a particular area of expertise?  A players have an innate desire to learn and to educate. Make sure your CV or LinkedIn profile lists any opensource contributions you have made, or any journals, books, or other educational literature you have had published.

Good references.

A players are top performers.  They love what they do and make a seismic impact on each business and team they have worked in.  As a result, A players are likely to have a wealth of former or current colleagues they can call on to provide a reference.

LinkedIn allows you to feature endorsements on your profile. On a CV these are not so easy to advertise. However, a recruiter or hiring manager will always browse your LinkedIn profile with a keen eye, so be sure to include some stellar references here.

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Volunteer and mentorship experience.

A players always have an eye on the success and growth of others. They are also rounded individuals who recognise the importance of supporting and helping others. Volunteer or mentorship roles are an important indicator of a proactive, generous community-oriented person who will give up their own time to benefit others.

Now that we have come to the end of our suggestions, Is your CV A player worthy??  If you are an A player, your very nature probably means that you are self-aware enough to know it! You may have already recognised the contributions you have made, your achievements, and the impressive personal attributes that place you in this rare 10%!

However, it is also possible though that you are so focused on your larger ambitions that you have overlooked all you have already achieved in the pursuit of achieving the next thing.

We would recommend revisiting your employment history and make sure you are looking at it through the A player lens. If you work on your CV as you go, and update your profile routinely, your A player employability won’t be missed or fall down the gaps.

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Are you an A player looking for your next tech, digital, or data role? Are you ready to make an impact at the table of one of our progressive, industry-leading clients?

If so, we’d love to help you! Working with A players is our passion. Get in touch today!

About the author: I work hard to find the best opportunities for my candidates and the best talent for my clients. My honest and pragmatic approach helps me to build lasting relationships and deliver real value.  I have extensive experience helping organisations overcome their critical challenges in the digital environment, and have worked with everything from start-ups to major global brands.

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