A critical aspect of creating an effective CV is writing a personal statement, sometimes called a profile or career summary, that enables the recruiter to quickly identify the strategic value you can add to their organisation. Your CV should be a self-marketing document aimed at persuading the recruiter to interview you – and your personal statement is a critical part of making this happen.
Many candidates struggle with writing the statement but it doesn't have to be a difficult as you may think. A well written statement can be between 50 and 200 words, although it is important not to ramble. Remember you always have your cover letter for interesting and engaging information.
It's important to read the job specification carefully and ensure not only that your skills and experience match but you reflect this in your statement. I am often asked whether a statement should be written in the first or third person and, while there are no definitive rules about this, my preference is always to write in the first person because the CV is all about you and your skillset. This doesn't mean that you have to add "I" at the beginning of each sentence, however. The reader knows it's about you so avoid this type of repetition and keep them engaged in your value and transferable skills.
For example an opening statement without the opening "I" could read:
As a highly-motivated and results orientated manager within the luxury hotel sector, I have a proven track record of providing exemplary levels of service to a broad range of guests, including VIPs and high-profile individuals.
This example reads naturally and flows for the reader, whereas if an "I" was inserted at the start, while not hugely different, it would read more like a list. As you move forward with additional information it then becomes difficult to break out of the format you have started.
As a general rule, it's best to break the statement into three sections:
Who you are
As recent graduate from Durham University, with a 2:1 honours degree in media communications, I have undertaken several internships within leading organisations such as Bertelsmann and Times Warner. These placements have enabled me to develop not only specific media industry experience, but also a valuable and transferable skill set in this fast-paced sector.
The above opening allowes the recruiter to quickly identify where you are coming from, that you have had industry experience (something that may be in the selection criteria) and core transferable skills. This in itself could be enough for your opening statement, but it can be expanded upon by adding some additional information.
What you can bring to the table
During placement with Bertelsmann, I worked in the media division contributing to projects – such as the award-winning China Max Documentary – and managed my own research, liaised with various divisions, formulated media reports and participated in group project meetings. Utilising excellent communication skills, I developed and maintained successful working relationships with both internal and external staff.
Your career aim
Looking to secure a position in a media organisation, where I can bring immediate and strategic value and develop current skillset further.
An example of a poorly written personal statement
Tim is a recent graduate from Durham University with a 2:1 honours degree in media communications. I have undertaken several internships within leading organisations. Tim is now looking to secure a position in a media organisation where I can develop my current skill set.
The mismatch of first and third person is not only confusing to the reader, but it almost sounds like a profile about different people. It also lacks specific detail and proof of what value the candidate could bring to the company.
Key points on writing a dynamic and interesting personal statement:
- • Get straight to the point: avoid lengthy descriptions and make your testimonies punchy and informative.
- • Keep it between 50 to 200 words maximum.
- • If you have enough space, use 1.5 line spacing to make you statement easier to read.
- • Match person and job specifications with well written copy.
- • Read your profile out loud to ensure it reads naturally.
- • Don't mix first and third person sentences.
Other essential resources
•Three excellent cover letter examples
•CV templates: graduates, career changers and ladder climbers
•What questions to ask at the end of your interview
•How to write a CV when you lack direct work experience
Elizabeth Bacchus is a consultant and founder of The Successful CV Company.
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What is a personal profile statement?
A personal profile statement is a vital part of your CV, and it is a short statement outlining your personal characteristics. It tells the reader what kind of a person you are, the attributes and qualities that you possess and the experience you have.
Be bold, be confident and talk about yourself in a positive way.
Your personal profile is not the place to be humble; it is your chance to be noticed and tell the potential employer exactly who you ‘really’ are and what you can do for them.
But please, do not make the mistake of going ‘over the top’ and give the impression to the prospective employer that you’re either arrogant or simply too good to be true!
An excellent personal profile statement must be:
- Short and to the point!
- Only contain positive information
Personal Profile Statement: position on a CV
Based on experience and recent research, it doesn’t really matter where this statement is located as long as the statement is present somewhere on the CV in a logical way.
Ideally, it should be placed just below your personal details:
What are some things that I can include in my Personal Profile?
You can mention anything from the following categories when writing a Personal Profile:
- An eye for detail
- Management skills
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Design skills
- 10 years in management…
- Excellent track record…
- Extensive background…
- Wide experience in…
How long should a Personal Profile Statement be?
There are no set rules about the length of a Personal Profile, but we would suggest you keep it within the 40/70-words boundary; that means no longer than five lines.
8 Personal Profile statement examples
Personal profile example 1 – Business management
I have a clear, logical mind with a practical approach to problem solving and a drive to see things through to completion. I have a great eye for detail. I am eager to learn, I enjoy overcoming challenges, and I have a genuine interest in Business Management.
Personal profile example 2 – IT
I am an open-minded individual with a proven track record in designing websites and creating databases. I have strong technical skills as well as excellent interpersonal skills. I am eager to be challenged in order to grow and improve my communication and professional IT skills gained through previous experiences in the IT sector.
Personal profile example 3 – Fashion
I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced retail professional with an extensive background in fashion and children’s’ wear both in large departments and small boutiques. I am a creative, adaptable and bright individual with an excellent eye for detail and design.
Personal profile example 4 – Project Manager
I am an energetic, ambitious person who has developed a mature and responsible approach to any task that I undertake, or situation that I am presented with. As a graduate with three years’ of experience in management, I am excellent in working with others to achieve a certain objective on time and with excellence.
Personal profile example 5 – Project Leader
I am an open-minded, friendly and resourceful project leader with a sound and optimistic outlook on all things in life. I possess an excellent ability to motivate others, coupled with the ability to communicate comfortably at all levels, therefore ensuring an excellent working environment for all members of the team to perform at their bests.
Personal profile example 6 – Article Writer
I am an articulate, confident person who relishes challenges and working under pressure. My greatest strengths are my research, communication and writing skills. I have an excellent ability to write good quality content since more than 200 of my articles have been published by leading newspapers and magazines.
Personal profile example 7 – Sales Person
I am a mature, positive and hardworking individual, who always strives to achieve the highest standard possible, at any given task. I possess excellent communication skills, and I have the ability and experience to relate to a wide range of people. I enjoy learning new things, I can work very well under pressure and I have the sales experience to handle customer complaints and solving problematic situations.
Personal profile example 8 – Primary School Teacher
I am a loyal, talented and caring person who loves making a difference into the lives of young children. I am open-minded, patient and supportive towards other people, especially towards children or those who suffer from disabilities. I have an excellent ability to remain good-humoured and unflappable under pressure.