The personal statement at the top of your CV is your chance to grab the employer or hiring manager’s attention from the get-go. It’s an opportunity to show off your strengths, shout about your achievements and share your ambitions. Just make sure you don’t clutter it up with boring jargon or you’ll end up sounding like everyone else!
How to make your personal statement pop
- In 50 to 150 words, tell them who you are (education and work history), what you can offer (skills and achievements) and your career aim (what job you want).
- Banish clichés such as ‘hard worker’ and ‘works well individually or as part of a team’.
- Make it specific to the job (if you’re applying directly) or to the type of role (if you’re looking on a job site or with a recruitment agency).
Examples that sell…
“Enthusiastic school leaver with five GCSEs looking for an apprenticeship in the engineering field. Possessing good written and verbal communication and an interest in engineering which has spanned my lifetime with particular passion for electrics. For my GCSE Design & Technology project, I built a working calculator and was awarded an A*. Looking for a start in the exciting world of electrical engineering where I can learn a trade and realise a lifetime ambition.”
“A proactive sales professional with over 6 years' experience. Working as a sales executive for BSkyB, I hit my sales targets and was promoted within two years. This role has enabled me to develop a valuable and transferable skill set which stands me in good stead for a Sales Manager role. ”
“Recent graduate with a degree in English from Bath University. Practical work experience as the former editor of Bath University student blog and magazine. Looking to start my career in journalism in a role where I can build on the skills gained at university and through my editorial experience.”
Be sure to start your personal statement with a brief professional summary about yourself. Think of it as a bite-sized blurb that sums up who you are. Some examples include:
- A broadcast professional with five years’ experience working in digital media.
- A highly creative broadcast professional who has recently completed their masters in videography in addition to four years’ experience across digital media.
- An outgoing, sociable and well-presented shop assistant with a passion for first class customer service and three years’ prior experience in a busy high street fashion outlet.
- A skilled and adaptable construction worker who specialises in bricklaying as well as roofing, plastering, plumbing, timber work and demolition.
- An articulate and self-motivated customer service professional with three years’ experience in banking and financial services sectors.
The devil’s in the detail
Your CV is not the place to get too personal. Share your love of social media, and your would-be manager might picture you tweeting through every meeting.
Instead, include hobbies and interests that demonstrate a particular skill or are relevant to the job you’re applying for:
- Captain of school hockey team (shows leadership)
- Volunteer/community work (shows you’re proactive)
- Visiting art galleries and museums (if relevant to the job you're applying for)
Likewise, steer clear of any personal information that doesn’t impact your ability to do the job, including:
- Date of birth, marital status, number of children or religion.
- Data that could be used in identity theft such as your National Insurance number or passport number.
- A photo, unless you’ve been asked to submit one.