The personal statement (or profile) section of your CV can have many uses, but its main purpose is to sell yourself and show the reader why you’re the best person for the job.
This tends to be why many candidates cite the personal statement as one of the trickiest parts of their CV. Not only do you need to effectively explain who you are and your career goals, but you need to make sure that it’s relevant and tailored to each vacancy you apply for.
So how can you make sure yours stands out (for all the right reasons)? Here are our top tips for writing a great personal statement…
Why do I need a personal statement?
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of a personal statement, but it can be one of the most important parts of your CV. It gives you the chance to demonstrate your skills and experience and explain why you’d be the best person for the job in a short, easy to read paragraph. When written well, the personal statement can help you really stand out from the crowd.
How long should a personal statement be?
While there is no set length for your personal statement, the ideal length is typically between 80 and 150 words (or four to five lines). This should give you just enough space to show that you’re a strong contender and encourage the hiring manager to read on, without running the risk of wasting valuable space on the first page of your CV.
What tense and person should it be written in?
Your CV as a whole, personal statement included, should all be written in the first person (so “I,” “my,” etc.). But when it comes to which tense to write in, this will depend on what you are writing about. Typically, because you are often speaking about yourself currently, the personal statement will be in the present tense (so “I am a Bench Hand Joiner with 6 years’ experience…”).
However, if you include any previous responsibilities or achievements, these will need to be written in the past tense - just be sure to make it clear that they are past activities to avoid any confusion.
What to include in your personal statement
When a recruiter or hiring manager reads you personal statement, they want to know who you are and what you do. So it should include:
- Your current or previous role, and your experience level. If you have little to no relevant work experience, you may choose to include your relevant education instead.
- You may also want to mention your industry background to provide context to your experience.
- Your key strengths and skills that are the most crucial for the role.
- Any additional knowledge or experience you have that is relevant to the role.
- For example, if you are applying for an upholstery vacancy, you may want to include that you have deep buttoning experience. Or for an IT support job, you may want to include the systems you are most familiar with.
Whatever you choose to include in your personal statement, make sure that everything is relevant and beneficial for the job vacancy you are applying for. Every role, and every organisation, is different, so be sure to cross-reference your CV with the job description and tailor your personal statement to best match what each employer will be looking for.
Writing an effective personal statement is never easy, but hopefully these tips should help you get off to the right start.
XCL are experts at helping our candidates find their ideal jobs. Specialising in the construction, engineering, automotive, production and commercial sectors, we can help you identify the vacancies and employers that are right for you.
To find out about our current job vacancies and how we can help you enter the next stage of your career, send a copy of your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.