How to Write a CV Personal Statement
Your CV Personal Statement is a vital component of your CV, if you've ever read about the 30-second rule, you will already know that this is how long you have to impress an employer who's reading your CV. Instead of taking time to read through the entire document, the recruiter or employer will spend a maximum of 30 seconds scanning your CV before placing it on the shortlist or reject pile.
This means that you have be sure of grabbing their attention during that critical 30 seconds. The best way to do this is by bringing the most important information to the top of your CV, so that it really can't be missed. For this reason, it is conventional to write a brief personal statement summing up your suitability for the vacancy at the head of your CV.
Having difficulty writing your statement. A professionally written personal statement by Bradley CVs can really influence an employer and make them want to interview you. You can also use our professional CV writing service if you would like an interview-winning CV.
What is a CV Personal Statement?
Positioned beneath your name, contact details and job title, a CV Personal Statement is often referred to as a Profile or Summary, depending on your country and style of CV. Usually 2 or 3 sentences long, and no more than 4 or 5 lines, it highlights the most important areas of your experience and itemises two or three key skills and abilities.
The whole point of the personal statement is to really sell you, so that the employer or recruiter feels compelled to read on and look at your CV in more detail. It must be targeted to the job in question and be worded so that it creates the maximum impact. Its ultimate goal is to encourage the employer to read all of your CV, so that they decide they'd like to meet you.
How a Personal Statement on a CV Works
The employer must gain an instant sense of how you would help their organisation if you were successful in gaining this job. For that reason, it's more important to focus your CV Personal Statement on what you are offering, rather than what you would like to gain from a job.
In just a few lines of text, your well-written personal statement should:
- Show that you're the right candidate for the job.
- Show that you have a sense of direction.
- Show your potential to the employer.
- Provide a sense of you as an employee.
- Show how motivated you are about the job.
- Give your CV a focus.
- Make it easier for the employer to remember you later on.
If you're changing career direction, you can use the CV Personal Statement to indicate how your experience will fit. It can also help when you're returning to work after a break through unemployment, sickness or raising a family.
Clearly, it's important to spend a great deal of time and effort creating a powerful personal statement that will really work on your behalf. This means undertaking through self-assessment and evaluation before putting your CV together. If you don't, the weakness will show in your statement and you'll have less chance of gaining interviews.
If you don't have the time or the ability to write a good personal statement, then please ask a CV Writer from Bradley CVs about our personal statement service. Bradley CVs has 23 years' experience and can create a personal statement that will make you stand out compared to all the other candidates who applied for the same job as you.
Identify Your Goals Before Writing Your CV Personal Statement
Before writing a word for your CV Personal Statement, it's important to know where you're going with your career.
If you're feeling vague and without direction, the first place it will show is in the personal statement. You need to be extremely clear on the kind of job (or jobs) that you want, as well as the skills and experience that are needed for such jobs.
You should research other jobs similar to the one you're applying for, so you can really get a feel for the skills and abilities employers value most. If you're applying for more than one of these jobs, remember that you can reorder the information in your personal statement to suit different employers' priorities.
Something else you can do is to undertake some free online psychometric tests. These will not only confirm the wisdom of your career choices, but the reports provided will identify your skills and attributes, while also giving you a lot of useful language and phrases for your CV writing.
Identify Relevant Experience For Your CV Personal Statement
This is the relatively straightforward part of preparing material for your CV Personal Statement. Relevant experience can be:
- If you've held a similar position already.
- If you've held a more junior position in the same profession.
- If you've held a more junior position in the same sector.
- If you've done a similar job in another industry or sector.
- If you've completed voluntary or unpaid work that gives you experience in this profession.
- If you've gained qualifications suitable for entry to this position.
Identify and Prioritise Skills on a CV Personal Statement
It can be very hard to take stock of your own abilities and skills for a CV Personal Statement. Taking time to write them down and list them in the most relevant order will save you a lot of trouble when it comes to writing your statement. These categories may help you to do this. In each case, you only need be concerned with those that are the same or are relevant to the jobs you're applying for.
- Sector-specific skills relate to the industries or professional areas you've previously worked within. Included are the voluntary, community, part-time and season positions you may have held, even if you weren't receiving a salary.
- Transferable skills can be used in any job. You'll have used them in any role, whether full-time, part-time, temporary or seasonal, as well as in unpaid roles. These skills are valuable if you don't have recent experience or are changing career direction.
- Specialist skills include languages and IT skills. They may also relate to certain sectors. You would only mention these in the statement if they were relevant to the vacancy.
- Personal attributes or soft skills are positive aspects of your personal approach to work, whether paid or unpaid. For example, communication skills, paying attention to detail and being self-motivated.
- Qualifications speak for themselves, yet say more if you can show their relevance to the job.
Once you have your list, you need to prioritise each point. You can do this by returning to the job description of this and similar jobs to see what matters most to the employer.
What to Include in Your CV Personal Statement
- The first thing to include is your professional position on your CV Personal Statement. It's best to choose a specific title if appropriate to your profession - e.g. accountant. If your position comes under many titles, choose one that's reasonably generic and that will suit various vacancies. Don't choose a very specific and unusual title just because it's the one used in the vacancy - it will appear phoney.
- Next, include one or two areas of highly relevant experience. If this includes specialist areas, mention them. If you have an absolutely 'knock-em-dead' achievement in your track record that is central to the advertised role, you can include it here (other achievements go in their own section).
- Sector-specific and specialist skills come next - pick out 2 or 3 that match the employer's uppermost requirements. (The rest will be peppered throughout your CV.)
- Finally, select your two most outstanding personal attributes and, if you're short of details, a transferable skill or two. This is because transferable skills won't make you stand out - only use them if you really have to.
- Qualifications are only included in a CV Personal Statement if you are recently out of college or university, or are changing careers and need to demonstrate your suitability without having much work experience.
Your challenge is now to link it all together, so that the statement forms a 3-sentence, potted description of who you are and what you're offering the employer.
Structure of Your CV Personal Statement
As a very basic guide, you can construct your CV Personal Statement in the following way:
[job title] with [number] years' [specialist or profession] experience in [industry or type of organisation] and [industry or type of organisation]. Strong track record in [skills area] and [skills area], with expertise in [specialist skills]. Combines strong [personal attribute] with [personal attribute] and [transferable skills].
This may not work for your exact combination of skills and experience, but it will help you to get started. There are many ways you can put your statement together, so do take a look at examples online.
Language to Use in a CV Personal Statement
You should always write your CV Personal Statement in the third person. This means writing as though you are talking about someone sitting next to you, rather than yourself. However, you shouldn't use any pronouns - i.e. the words 'I', 'he' or 'she'. The style should be emphatic and professional, but not overconfident.
Never simply copy the wording that the employer has used in the advertisement. Doing so will stand out a mile and the employer will not believe that your statements are genuine as a result. This is why it's useful to select wording from other job descriptions, but without going too far - it must still sound like you are writing it. It has to fit in with the rest of your CV.
Be very specific, as this shows you know what you are doing. If you waffle, you'll sound as if you have no sense of direction. Unfortunately, no matter how experienced you are, a poor CV can do a good job of disguising that fact.
What to Avoid Writing in a Personal Statement for a CV
Never say that you are 'seeking a position' or 'looking for new challenges' on a CV Personal Statement. Doing so is to focus on what you want and need, rather than how you can help the employer. If the employer believes you have what they need, they'll ask you about your direction at interview.
It's useful to look on the Internet to see what other people have said in their statements, profiles or objectives. However, be careful not to use clichés. Some phrases are so overused as to be meaningless. Being a 'team player' says very little, as does 'goal orientated' or 'enthusiastic'.
Avoid using out-of-date terminology. It may be some years since you applied for a job and some industries move on very fast - especially the technical industries.
How to Finish Your Personal Statement in a CV
You need to rewrite your CV Personal Statement for every job you apply for, as your CV should be targeted each time.
Always keep your lists of strengths and experience to hand, as you may need to change the focus accordingly.
Once you've drafted a statement - or maybe a couple of alternative versions - try showing them to a trusted friend or, better still, a colleague who knows you well. They'll be able to tell you whether it sounds like you and is effective, or not.
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