How to write a CV: Personal Statement

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

If you are looking for help to write a CV, a series of short articles and related videos by My CV Guide are providing quick and easy tips covering each section of a CV in turn. This is free CV advice that is easy to apply and will strengthen a CV in identifiable and meaningful ways. It goes beyond a lot of the generic CV advice you may have already seen by offering hints and tips you probably haven't thought of before.

This is the second article in the series and focuses on the opening statement, professional profile or Personal Statement of a CV.

The Purpose

A Personal Statement at the start of a CV is an opening statement of a few sentences that gives the reader an immediate understanding and brief overview of your profession and some headline context to the most relevant experience and/or qualifications that you have. If written well, it can tell the reader very quickly:

  1. Your profession and/or level of academic achievement

  2. Contexts in which your experience has been gained

  3. Key areas of proven delivery and competency

  4. If of value, insight into current circumstances and what is being looked for from new opportunities.

Top CV Tips

Be short and to the point

The aim of your Personal Statement is to create an instant buy-in to reading on. This makes it an incredibly important section of a CV. On some job boards and applicant tracking systems, it may be the only content that is seen initially and payment or use of credits will be required to access the full CV. It therefore needs to be strong enough to justify that action straight away. By starting strongly, confirmation biases will play to your advantage. But start a CV poorly, with weak content and the rest of the CV may not even be read.

Be true and honest to yourself

Create honest and relevant content, clearing your mind of what you think is expected. What you include can be edited later to target it to specific roles, so start off thinking purely about yourself and what matters to you. This will not only make the content more meaningful, but it will also help in avoiding over-used and clichéd phrases that the reader will have seen numerous times before and will be genuinely bored of seeing. Once you have created a personal statement that truly represents you, the language used and ordering of the information can be reviewed to ensure it connects as strongly as possible to each specific role applied to.

Avoid Clichés

Don’t think about search optimisation or trying to get buzz words into a CV at this stage. Doing so can result in writing the same as everybody else which will not engage the reader or add any value to the content. Writing cliched or common phrases into an opening statement dilutes the impact and carries no weight to a reviewer. It can actually have a detrimental effect on how you are perceived. It can be immediately categorised as standardised content and so the whole CV is judged as having not much to say or offer, regardless of how good you may actually be for the opportunity.

Cover organisational fit

This is an opportunity to create an understanding of organisational fit. Giving an indication of the types of organisations you have been a part of and circumstances you have worked and delivered within provides context that can be related to the roles applied to. This can be incredibly impactful.

The paragraph can also be expanded to include insight into your current circumstances, motivators and aspirations as well, but only do this if it would genuinely add value rather than for the sake of it.

Good luck writing your CV and getting it off to a strong start with a really meaningful and clear Personal Statement.

For the other articles in this series, visit the My CV Guide Blog and for in-depth advice and guidance on how to write a CV, take a look at our downloadable CV Guide. Professional CV writing and CV review options are also available through our CV Review and CV Consultation services.

Any questions at all? Take a look at answers to common CV questions on our free CV advice page and don't hesitate to get in touch at anytime. Whatever your CV needs, My CV Guide is here to help.

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