You are in a bookstore, you pick up a book. You read the back page. You’re left unimpressed. Why? The short resume of the book has not enticed you to read further. The same can be said for a CV.
After glancing at your profile for a mere 15 seconds, a decision is made. If they like, they will read on. If they don’t, you will have to try again next time.
The personal statement is by far the hardest section to write on your CV. Thankfully, we have put together a complete guide for you to write a great one.
- What is a CV Personal Statement and its importance.
- How to write a personal profile for all industries.
- Personal statement examples.
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What is a CV Personal Statement?
A personal statement, also known as personal profile, is a vital component for a CV. However, many applicants fail to create a strong profile. This short segment is placed just below your CV header.
It is the main starting point of a CV. It tells the employer who you are, your abilities and goals. What’s more, it provides a viewpoint why you are the right person for a role. A tailored personal statement for every job advert is a must. You must show you have done the required research of the firm.
Keep in mind, the opportunity window is short. Very short. On average, a recruiter will spend 7 seconds looking at your CV before making a decision.
For UK applicants, do not confuse university with the corporate world. The personal statement is not the same . Little similarities exist between them.
Length, Format and Font to Use for Personal Statement
To make an impact, a personal statement should be short and sweet. You want it to be clean and concise. Write a small paragraph which does not exceed 5 sentences. This is equivalent to 150-200 words. Place it beneath your CV header which contains your contact details.
Format and Layout
Choice is the essence of this section. Whichever you choose, make sure it is consistent with the rest of your CV format. Therefore, maintain the same font, font sizing and margins at every turn.
Add a heading for this section if there is enough space on your CV. Titles can be Personal Statement, Personal Profile or Personal Summary. If there is no space for a header, don’t worry. The recruiter will know exactly which section he is about to read. Stay focused on the content and the rest will take care of itself.
Person to Write your Personal Statement
Often ignored by numerous job hunters. Which person to use when writing a personal statement? First or third person. The simple answer is you can write it in both.
Pro Tip: Show you really get the CV process. Writing a personal statement can be done with any person. The real secret is to remove pronouns from your sentences. Do this to show you are objective with your skills all the whilst being precise. It is very easy to get caught up using “I” over and over.
For example: I had sales of £10,500.
He had sales of £10,500.
The correct version: Sales of £10,500.
Now it’s time for us to build one together.
How to Write a Personal Statement
Okay, we have determined the purpose of a personal profile. It’s now time to crack on and know how to write a winning personal statement.
Keep in mind, you have less than a minute to impress this person. Make sure it packs a punch.
Here’s how to do it.
- Analyse the job advert properly. The keywords are your ally.
- Introduce yourself in the first sentence.
- Insert the relevant skills, achievements and goals needed to assert yourself.
- Mention your career goals and how you intend on achieving them.
Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. You must be able to answer the 3 following questions when reading:
- Who are you?
- What can you give to the firm?
- What are your career goals?
Analyse the Job Advert
A position has come up for Futures Trading in a London based Family Office. They are looking for someone who wants to have a career in finance. Must have strong analytical and risk management. Can manage large AUM and can aggressively meet targets. Must be able to work well under extreme pressure.
Your tasks will include:
- Actively find new trade opportunities in main indices futures.
- Create risk management tools.
- Track progress made by all traders at the firm.
- Ensure targets are met on a regular basis.
Who you are
We have run you through all the steps to get a personal statement started. It’s time to break it down. We have seen an example of a job advert that can come up. Now the hard bit, how to maximise your potential with this advert.
The first sentence is incredibly important. It must show the recruiter your current standing. You must show them what you are currently seeking professionally and in which industry.
Look at your current status. What makes you happy in your current employment or what you most like to see it include. Consider which qualities you currently have developed that could be vital for this application.
Here is an example of first sentence for your personal statement:
Having successfully leveraged my SEO skills to build numerous websites to a top ranking, I have had the chance to work with many mid sized firms to maximise their online potential.
What can you give the firm
The first sentence is an entry door. You are showcasing what you have done. It’s now time to add meat to the bones. Take the keywords you have underlined from an advert. Link as many as you can to achievements you have realised in the past. You want to be as relevant as possible in your description.
This is the moment to shine. Show an employer you are the right person for the job.
Here is what your second sentence could look like:
I have experience taking little known websites with little online referencing to the first page of important search bars such as Google and Microsoft. I have been able to develop strategies around keywords and partnerships to make almost any business or blog reach the highest echelons on offer. Many websites have seen between 500 and 1000% increases in traffic.
What you aim to achieve
As the last sentence of your personal statement, you must be able to leave a lasting impression. Reaffirm why you are seeking this role and what you want to achieve.
Here is what the last line of your personal profile may look like:
At present, I am looking for a senior SEO writer role working for a unicorn startup. I would like to upscale my results from small and medium sized companies to large blue chip companies with exciting visions.
CV Personal Statement Examples
Now that we have outlined all the steps to create a personal statement, it’s time to see the finished product.
Here is an example for a recent graduate seeking a career in Finance:
A recent graduate with a 1:1 BA Hons in Business Management from the University of Westminster. My studies have given me a broad understanding of business and how access to suitable financing is essential for a company to prosper. Good knowledge of C++, Python and Matlab. Seeking to expand my knowledge of creating sound financial modelling to make business decisions with minimal risk. I would like to join BNP Paribas as a Junior Financial Analyst.
For an experienced candidate looking to leverage experience in their industry.
Proactive managing director with more than 15 years of experience working in small and medium hotels. Specialised in increasing profitability, stable cost structure, supplier negotiations and a great internal management framework to maximise employee potential. Adept at managing sites simultaneously, delegating tasks and hiring exceptional human talent. Ensure every new employee is properly trained with access to numerous learning facilities. Seeking a role within a global hotel firm to expand my knowledge and experience.
Mistakes to Avoid for your CV Personal Statement
Whilst it is easy to get caught up in what to write, there are plenty of potential banana skins. Make sure you don’t end up losing your chance for an interview over a simple mistake.
Adding too Many Action Words
Action words are necessary for a CV personal profile. They add substance. Nonetheless, you don’t want to over do it. Common action words seen in a personal statement can be verbs and adjectives alike. These include leveraged, achieved, developed or created. They are there to add dynamism to your CV.
However, do not over do it. There is nothing worse for a recruiter to read a personal profile filled with too many action words. Limit your action words to one per line.
The best way to demonstrate is with tangible examples. It will give a stronger statement of intent than any action word.
Remember, job adverts and personal statements are littered with them. The best way to stand out is to use them as effectively as possible.
Like that you will avoid your personal statement becoming the complete opposite of success.
Type of Voice to Use
Often neglected, the voice used in a profile can play a key role. This applies for every section of your CV. Find out more on this topic through our CV tips.
Just like the post you are reading at present, active voice is always spurred on. It makes it easier to engage a reader with active than passive voice.
For example, “David likes Beth” is an active voice sentence. “David is liked by Beth” is a passive voice sentence. As you can see, it is easier to read in active voice. Also, it portrays a more upbeat candidate.
On another note, avoid using the first person. Personal pronouns such as “I”, “She” or “He” are frowned upon. It can make your personal statement seem dull.
Generic Personal Statement for Every Application
You may think once you have written your profile once, you can send it a 100 times. Whilst it may require just some tweaking, no application should be the same.
Keep in mind, you do not want a recruiter to find out you have sent a generic statement. Tailor it to make sure the key skills in the advert find their way on to your profile.
Not Specific Enough
Writing a personal statement is difficult. Not only is it difficult to relate all the necessary skills, it can also be hard to limit the word count.
Be aware, do not write too many phrases in this section. A CV personal profile filled with bold adjectives and filler words will not get an interview.
Feature your most important skills and results. Keep the rest of your story for other sections and a cover letter.
Key Takeaways for your Personal Statement
Now that you have all the tools to build a great personal statement, here are the key points:
- Stick to the point. This is the shortest section of your CV. Contain it to 5 sentences. It is very about quantity over quality.
- Ensure your personal statement responds to the keywords in the job advert.
- Keep in mind the 3 key questions for your personal profile.
- Avoid falling on a banana skin. Limit passive voice, adjectives and filler words at all cost.
Still have unanswered questions on how to create a winning CV personal statement?
Not sure how to impress the recruiters with your personal profile? Then please get in touch here. We would love to help you reach your dream career.