Using a personal statement at the beginning of your CV is an excellent way to show a potential employer what you can bring to the table. Giving your CV that extra impact with an effective summary allows the reader to identify quickly the value you will bring to their organisation.
Many applicants struggle with this and when every second counts, persuading the reader that they need to interview you is key. By cracking that tricky personal statement – sometimes called a career or profile summary – you’ll be over the first hurdle. Here are our “Do’s and Don’ts” when writing that all important statement.
Stick to the rule of 3’s – A personal statement should answer three questions; who you are, what you can bring to the table and what’s your career aim? It’s a misconception that a personal statement should be focused on your “wants and needs” even though it’s about you. A reader wants to know what you can do for them, how you will help their organisation, not what they can do for you. Tell them about your professional attributes and goals, emphasising the value that you will bring to the company – the reason why they should continue reading your CV.
Match your statement to the job specification – Similarly to the tailoring of your covering letter, you need to make sure that your personal statement reflects your skills and experience appropriate to the position. Make each sentence a key selling point; if it’s not in the job specification – leave it out. Avoid overused clichés such as “good team player” or “excellent communicator” – try to find a more inventive way to say the same thing.
Ramble – A well written statement should be concise and between 50 and 200 words. Get to the point and avoid lengthy descriptions you always have your covering letter for other interesting and engaging information.
Mix the 1st & 3rd person – Don’t mix first and third person sentences; pick one and stick with it. A mismatch of the two can be very confusing and can read as though it is a profile of two different people. There is no hard and fast rule as to which is best, but as the statement is about you, I prefer the first; for example use “I am”, rather than “Bob is”.
Don’t forget to read your profile out loud to ensure it flows naturally. Ask friends and family to read the statement for you; does it “sell” your CV to the reader? Writing an effective personal statement can take time, so don’t be disheartened if it takes a few goes; just step back and try again.