Posted on: June 7, 2017
As the first opportunity to market yourself, a good personal statement will win the attention of a recruiter. This article will provide some valuable tips and examples.
Although only a small paragraph at the beginning of your CV, it’s essentially your ‘elevator pitch’ – and an opportunity to sell yourself to the reader, like you might do if you came across somebody who could give you a job in person. You want it to hook a recruiter’s attention, persuade them that your CV is valuable and relevant to the role, and keep them reading.
In many ways, your personal statement is a piece of self-marketing. It’s a few sentences that highlight who you are, your skills, strengths, and career goals. The CV is there to tell your employment history and achievements, but the personal statement is a good chance to reveal a little bit of your personality.
You might decide not to have it if you’ve included this type of information in a cover letter, but if you consider a CV to be the story of your working life so far, the personal statement is a very useful entry-point.
Image: Adobe Stock
How to structure your personal statement
A personal statement shouldn’t be any longer than four to six sentences. Any longer than that and you’ll risk losing the attention of a recruiter, who might only take a few seconds to glance over your CV before deciding to read further.
For some, writing a personal statement might come naturally, especially if you already have your elevator pitch prepared for the ‘tell us about yourself’ question in a job interview. For others, this might not come so naturally, so here is what to include in a personal statement:
- Sketch out the main skills and experiences that are relevant to the job or jobs you’re applying for
- Narrow these into skill highlights you think are particularly important and worthy of mention
- Craft sentences that flow logically and tell a story. Try and make it descriptive enough to let a reader know you as a person, rather than as a series of work statements
- Take your time. Even for a natural writer, it can be difficult to create a concise and effective summary of your skills, expertise and experience
- Consider writing the personal statement last, as if you’ve been working on your CV you’ll have a much better idea about your overall skills and experience
The general advice for writing a CV also applies to the personal statement – make it specific to the different job roles you apply for. Like CVs, the personal statement might need changing or tweaking based on the requirements of the role.
What to avoid in a personal statement
“A dedicated and enthusiastic professional with extensive experience in …. Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate at all levels. Enjoys part of being in a successful team and thrives in challenging working conditions.”
Recruiters are used to reading these types of lines in personal statements, so much so that they’ve become cliché. They’re also problematic as they don’t tell you anything about who you are, or even what you do. They could be made about any type of job.
An example of a good personal statement
A personal statement needs to show a company what a candidate can offer, whether it’s skills or relevant experience. It needs to be tailored to the job role, rather than a generic throwaway statement that could apply to anybody.
James Innes, Chairman of the CV Group and author of the CV Book, says that candidates should think about giving recruiters something different, personal, and more specific.
He gave this personal statement example:
A PRINCE2 qualified Project Manager specialising in leading cross-functional business and technical teams to deliver projects within the retail and finance sectors.
Uses excellent communication skills to elicit customer requirements and develop strong relationships with key stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.
Demonstrates strong problem-solving capabilities used to mitigate risks and issues, allowing projects to meet deadlines, budgets and objectives.
Innes explained why he felt this worked as a personal statement:
“With just a little more specific detail, the personal statement has been transformed into something much more effective and individual. A recruiter can see that you are qualified and experienced in delivering projects in certain sectors. They know your communication skills have been used effectively and how your ability to solve problems has resulted in successful project delivery.”
In a competitive job market, it’s important to make sure that every area is covered. With a well-written and professional personal statement, you have an opportunity to make your CV stand out from the rest of the pack.
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Putting together a personal statement can be quite daunting as many people find it hard to talk about themselves.
To help take the sting out of putting a personal profile together we have collected some examples of completed profiles and a list of the type of things that may help you to best describe yourself and your skills.
Examples of Completed Statements:
I am an experienced joiner with well developed skills and experience in groundwork, concrete finishing and steel fixing and have worked in the construction industry since 1982. I am also a skilled labourer who has supported many different trades over the years. I have a full clean UK driving licence with entitlement of up to 7.5 tonne. I am keen to return to work after a period of training and personal development which has broadened my skills and experiences.
I am a flexible and experienced insurance administrator with excellent time management skills. I am a good communicator with proven inter personal skills and am used to working in a team whilst also being capable of using own initiative. I am skilled In dealing with problems in a resourceful manner and negotiating to achieve beneficial agreement. I am always enthusiastic to learn and undertake new challenges.
I am a professionally qualified fire engineer with 7 years experience. I have recently achieved RTITB accreditation in the use of Counterbalance fork lift trucks and I am seeking employment that will make best use of my skills and allow me to develop them further. I am determined and enthusiastic, I have developed good planning & organisational skills and am confident working independently or as part of a team. I am flexible regarding working hours and am able to work a range of shifts.
I am a hard working, honest individual. I am a good timekeeper, always willing to learn new skills. I am friendly, helpful and polite, have a good sense of humour. I am able to work independently in busy environments and also within a team setting. I am outgoing and tactful, and able to listen effectively when solving problems.
I am a punctual and motivated individual who is able to work in a busy environment and produce high standards of work. I am an excellent team worker and am able to take instructions from all levels and build up good working relationships with all colleagues. I am flexible, reliable and possess excellent time keeping skills.
I am an enthusiastic, self-motivated, reliable, responsible and hard working person. I am a mature team worker and adaptable to all challenging situations. I am able to work well both in a team environment as well as using own initiative. I am able to work well under pressure and adhere to strict deadlines.
I am a dedicated, organized and methodical individual. I have good interpersonal skills, am an excellent team worker and am keen and very willing to learn and develop new skills. I am reliable and dependable and often seek new responsibilities within a wide range of employment areas. I have an active and dynamic approach to work and getting things done. I am determined and decisive. I identify and develop opportunities.
I’m a nice fun and friendly person, I’m honest and punctual, I work well in a team but also on my own as I like to set myself goals which I will achieve, I have good listening and communication skills. I have a creative mind and am always up for new challenges. I am well organized and always plan ahead to make sure I manage my time well.
To download these examples
click here: Lighthouse Project – Example statements for personal profile 2014
Examples of personal statements to go into a personal profile
If your not sure what to say, or how to start then consider selecting a combination of up to 5 sentences from the list below to create your own personal profile.
Also consider adding information relevant to the job description or duties that you may be expected to undertake – this makes it personal!
- I am an organised and efficient person with an enquiring mind.
- I am a flexible person seeking employment which will allow development, growth and make use of my existing skills.
- am a good listener and learner, and am able to communicate well with people from all walks of life.
- I am a keen, hard working, reliable and excellent time keeper.
- I am a bright and receptive person, able to communicate well with people at all levels.
- I am good at working using my own initiative and I am flexible in my approach to work duties.
- I have a good sense of humour and a pleasant approach.
- I am a hard working individual with experience of assembly line work, drilling, and spraying.
- I am a loyal and trustworthy employee who can work alone or as part of a team.
- I am a quick to learn and willing to adapt to any job.
- I am a competent, loyal, hard working employee with the ability to achieve tasks when working alone or as part of a team.
- I am punctual with an excellent attendance record.
- I have a flexible and positive approach to employment and am willing to train to suit my next working environment.
- I am an organised, efficient and hard working person, and am willing to discover and accept new ideas which can be put into practice effectively.
- I am a good listener and learner, able to communicate well with a group and on an individual level.
- I am able to motivate and direct my talents and skills to meet objectives.
- I always seek to achieve a high standard in whatever work I undertake.
- I am well organised with a clear and positive approach to problem solving.
- I am a well organised, efficient and professional person.
- I am able to communicate easily in both spoken and written forms.
- I am a hard working, loyal and mature worker with a variety of skills to offer.
- I am keen to obtain new skills and training and have a flexible approach to all work situations, and find it easy to adapt.
- I am capable of relating to people at all levels and am prepared to help them overcome problems in a work situation
- I am open minded, receptive and innovative, with an enquiring mind.
- I can work unsupervised alone or as a member of a team and I like to use my skills to make a positive contribution to the workforce.
- I am a family person with responsibilities, very reliable and trustworthy.
- I am willing to learn new skills and have many existing ones to offer.
- I have good interpersonal understanding and communication skills and am a confident team worker with the ability to work on own initiative.
- I am a mature person with a sound engineering background.
- I can organise and prioritise my own workload effectively.
- I have the ability to work under stress and keep within set budgets and targets.
- I am a mature and confident person with sales experience, team leadership skills and the ability to create new sales and build on existing accounts.
- I am a quiet and focused person who can work swiftly and effectively either alone or as part of a team.
- I am a reliable, trustworthy and flexible individual who can learn new skills easily and execute them swiftly.
- I am a confident driver with clean driving licence, I have my own transport and an excellent knowledge of local and national road and motorway networks.
- I am a confident Fork Lift Truck operator with a good all round knowledge of warehouse duties.
- I am an experienced machine operator with a good all round knowledge of factory procedures.
To download a copy of these statements
click here: Lighthouse Project – Example sentences for personal profile CV 2103