Writing a powerful Personal Statement - 5 Top Tips
Of all the components of a CV, the personal statement is often the part people struggle with. Recording objective facts about your career progression to date is easy. Writing subjectively about yourself, having to actually sell yourself (cringe) – not so much. But it doesn’t have to be a challenge. Sometimes called a profile or summary, the Personal Statement is a critical part of your CV which enables prospective employers and recruiters to quickly identify who you are as a professional, what you have to offer in terms of experience and ambition, and the strategic value you can bring. Here are a few quick tips to making the most of your personal statement.
1)Pick a person and stick to it.
There is no set rule about writing your statement in the first or third person, but as it’s your CV we would suggest the first person (using pronouns such as I and Me). Whatever you choose, make sure you stick to it. Switching between the two is a grammatical disaster and confusing for the reader – not a great first impression.
An example of this would be:
“Sarah is a talented Business Development Manager with a wealth of experience selling consumer products into retail. I have undertaken many sales and selling training courses which has helped me ensure I know how to close a sale. Sarah has over 5 years’ experience selling into FMCG and has worked closely with all major supermarkets.”
2) Start with a brief professional summary about yourself – in one sentence if you can.
Remember, this section is about quickly summarising and selling yourself. Something like “I am a creative design professional with seven years post graduate experience, specialising in F&B packaging for the retail industry.” That’s it!
3) Keep it short and to the point.
Your personal statement should be between 50 and 200 words. Make sure you do not ramble, remembering you have your cover letter for any further content you might want to include.
4) Tailor it to the job you’re applying for.
As with the rest of your CV, highlighting particular experience, projects, or skill sets according to the role you are pursuing is critical. Read the job spec (then read it again), ensure that your skills and experience match, and then reflect this in the statement.
…On a side note, if you’re struggling to tick any of the required boxes then perhaps that role is not for you.
5) As a general rule, split the statement into three sections:
Who are you?
This should allow the reader to quickly identify your relevant skills and experience for the role.
“As an experienced National Account Manager working in the retail sector I have been selling consumer products into FMCG for 10 years.”
What can you do?
A quick synopsis of your skills and abilities, making sure this is relevant to the role you are applying for. For example, if the employer is looking for someone to sell their products into the top 5 supermarkets and you have that experience – put it in here.
“With wide experience selling into Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda I have strong knowledge and an understanding of the retail sector.”
What is your goal?
What do you want your next career move to be? It is essential this matches the job you are applying for.
“Looking to secure a position within a consumer product organisation, where I can bring immediate and strategic value.”
I have read CVs where the applicant’s career goal is totally different to the role being applied for – a big no no!
Key Points to remember
- Don’t mix first and third person
- Keep it between 50 and 200 words
- Match the person and job specification for the role you are applying with the statement
- Get to the point – do not ramble
- Don’t include personal information that doesn’t enhance your ability to do the job (Ok, you have a cute crocheting hobby, but is it really going to impress prospective employers?)
- Read it through, out loud to make sure it makes sense and reads well.
For any further tips, or for assistance in making your next career move get in touch with our team. You can email us or follow Ben Johnson Recruitment on LinkedIn for all the latest updates, news, and vacancies. Just click on the button below.