Or you might say its your work experience or even your hobbies if they’re relevant to the career you’re pursuing.
It may surprise you then, that the most important thing on your CV is not your eductional history, your hobbies or your work experience but the short paragraph at the top – your personal statement.
What Are Personal Statements?
A personal statement, sometimes called a profile, is the short description at the beginning of your CV, which aims to provide a brief snapshot of who you are and what you’ve done in your profesional life. These 3 or 4 lines above your CV essentially introduce what you’re all about and what you’re looking for.
Why Are Personal Statements So Important?
Employers and recruiters spend less than 20 seconds scanning a CV, and from my own experience we would generally scrutinise your personal statement more than your work history, so being able to sell yourself in a few lines is crucial.
A personal statement is much like the blurb on the back of a book, if it’s good it invites you to read the rest of the book – in this case the rest of your CV – but if it’s rubbish it goes back on the shelf, unread.
“But I’m a fresh graduate, with little work experience, surely there’s nothing I can put down that they would be interested in?”
Its easy to think that personal statements only apply to seasoned professionals, but luckily that’s not the case. A personal statement gives you the chance to differentiate yourself, which is especially important for graduates – as there’s so much fierce competition out there for grad jobs.
A good personal statement will help you stand out and get you one step closer to landing that great graduate career you want.
Okay, you’ve convinced me. So how do I write one?
Here are some guidelines you can follow:
-Write in (and stick to) one tense (I always recommend the first person)
-Make it snappy: No longer than 3 or 4 lines
-Key points to cover:
- Explain who you are e.g. I’m a 2.1 graduate from Essex University
- What work experience you’ve got e.g. I have 6 months commercial experience from my part time job at a retail store and recently completed a 6 week accountancy internship with a local brokerage firm.
- What you can bring to the table: As well as being driven and analytical, I also have a keen eye for detail, which has helped me succeed at University and at work.
- What you are looking for: As I am currently pursuing in a career in accountancy, I would be very interested in any trainee or graduate roles in accounting.
- Explain what makes you different/ what value you add: This is the single most important thing and the raison d’etre for the personal statement: e.g. I believe I could add my creativity, my drive and my analytical skills to make a positive impact within your company.
- Don’t Waffle: avoid meaningless jargon and run on sentences of writing for the sake of writing.
- Here is a real example of waffling you don’t want: “I am a multitasking, strategic, motivated, self-starting organiser, effective at facilitating communication skills.” – seriously, what does that even mean? Unfortunately this kind of vacuous drivel is all too common, so please avoid it at all costs.
Ultimately having a personal statement is incredibly important, as it encourages employers to take an interest in your CV and serves as a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. It’s only a few sentences but if you put the work in, you’ll reap great rewards and get a graduate job – fast!
If you enjoyed this post, you might like:
–How I Got A Graduate Job In 3 Days
–The Single Most Important Question You Must Answer For A Successful Job Search
–Top 8 Worst Graduate CV Mistakes Of All Time