How to write the personal statement in your CV

How to Write The Personal Statement In Your CV

A well-written personal statement is probably one of the best business cards when applying for a new job. Here's how to meet companies' expectations in the first lines of your CV.

The personal statement is probably the most challenging part of writing a CV. It is also potentially the most powerful. Written well, those few short introductory lines can convince a recruiter to keep on reading with a mind that already sees you as a candidate for the position. Done badly they could have your CV heading for the reject pile.

Get Their Attention

Your CV will be competing with a stack of other hopefuls so you don’t have much time to catch the recruiter’s attention. Keep it short, punchy and compelling to make them sit up and take notice. Fifty words might do if you make them count. Anything over 200 is too many. Somewhere in between is perfect. Write it in the tense you feel most comfortable with, first person or third. Both are perfectly acceptable.

Layout is important too. Present the facts in an eye-catching way using bullet points, short sentences and, if there is room, slightly wider line spacing than normal to make it easier to read. You are not telling them your life story here. The personal statement is your own sales pitch, a device to whet their appetite enough to make them want to know more.

Sell yourself

A recruiter will have three main questions in their head when they read your CV:

  • Who are you?
  • What can you offer us?
  • Why do you want this job?

Your personal statement needs to answer all of these positively to convince them you could be the one they want. Tweak and tailor your statement for each application to show how closely you meet their advertised requirements.

The first part should be about you – qualifications, experience and achievements. Describe both what you have done and how this has helped develop your skills, professionalism and competence.

Next lay out the qualities you bring to the job, but try to avoid clichés. Everyone claims to be committed, hardworking and a great team leader. It is far better to link qualities with outcomes. If you’ve got an eye for detail, for example, explain how this means fewer snags during production and projects being delivered on time.

Finally close with why you are applying for the job. Wanting more money is never a good reason. Much better is something like a desire to advance in your career, expand your experience or take on new challenges.

Make a great impression

The personal statement is going to speak for you so make it as good as it can possibly be:

  • Don’t confuse the reader by mixing your tenses. Choose one and stick to it.
  • Double and triple check for typos. You’ve only got one chance to impress.
  • Read the statement out loud when you are finished to check it reads naturally.

The personal statement can be time consuming, especially when you are customising it for each new application. But if it makes the difference between getting that interview and getting nothing it will be time well spent. You can do it. Just make sure you do it right.

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