Write a Powerful Personal Statement

Personal statement for a CV, also known as a personal profile or CV profile, functions as the introduction. It’s a short paragraph designed to grab the recruiter’s attention and keep them reading.

The personal statement comes immediately after your CV header. Your aim is to show your worth for the role in the instant it takes this section to be scanned by the hiring manager or the ATS.

Before you start, read the job description. Your CV profile must be specifically tailored to each individual job advert. Don’t even think of copy-pasting the same personal statement for every CV you send.

Pro Tip: Think like a computer. Make sure your personal statement is optimised for ATS software. Go through the job description and look for keywords in the form of responsibilities, skills and job title. For example “analytical skills,” “marketing manager,” “QuickBooks.” Then include these in your profile, making sure it sounds natural. And always include the name of the company you’re applying for and the job title.

Whilst analysing the job advert remember that your profile is going to be an advert itself. An advert for you.

If you’re an experienced candidate, start your personal sales pitch by giving yourself a job title. Don’t describe yourself as a “highly experienced professional” or any similar generic label, be specific. Where possible, give yourself the same title as the position you’re applying for. If the advert is looking for a “qualified paralegal” then call yourself one.

If you’re applying for a job where education, vocational qualifications or professional memberships are relevant then include them in your personal statement. But do so in brief or using the correct abbreviation. Save the detail for the specific sections of your CV. For example MSc in Data Science, ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), RCN (Royal College of Nursing).

To add meat to the bones of your personal statement for a curriculum vitae consider three things:

  • Motivation: Why do you want to work in this job/industry?
  • Skills & Experience: What skills and experience do you have that make you the best hire for this role? Again, tailor this to the job description.
  • Objective: Where do you plan to go in your career with this company?

Depending on where you are in your career, the balance between these three factors will shift. Your profile will look different when you write a CV for a job with no experience. So let’s take a look at a selection of CV profile examples.

RIGHT
Office Manager with 10+ years experience looking to take on new challenges at Berkshire & Co. Proven track record of success including achieving 50% reduction in annual office supply costs through highly developed procurement and contract management skills. Also adept in working with HR teams and introduced consolidated payroll system, which saved 10 man hours per month. Seeking to leverage my experience to achieve similar efficiencies and savings at Berkshire as it grows rapidly into new markets.
WRONG
Accomplished professional with 10 years experience seeking a job in an accounting firm. Adept at managing a team of office administrators, scheduling company events and making cost savings wherever possible. 

For an experienced professional continuing their career in the same field the key is measurable skills and experience.

The right example will have the hiring manager hungry for more. It starts with the applicant’s job title and experience then moves straight onto achievements that are backed up with numbers. It finishes with an impressive statement of the applicant’s goals, showing they’ve done their research on the company’s current challenges. It also names the firm they’re applying for. The ATS will love it and so will the recruiter or hiring manager.

As for the wrong example, it’s going nowhere. It looks far too generic and doesn’t mention the name of the role or the company being applied to. No keywords, no evidence, no chance of success.

So there’s a CV personal statement for an experienced candidate. How about for someone with less experience? Let’s check this graduate CV example.

RIGHT
Recent University of Greenwich BSc graduate with a 2:1 honours degree, seeking to obtain an Operations Graduate position with Vehiclease Systems to develop my business management and strategic planning skills in a fast-paced, cutting-edge tech environment. I aim to grow within the role and leverage my passion for the automotive industry, and specialisation in business analytics to become an expert in business process improvement.
WRONG
BSc in business management graduate looking for an opportunity to commence my career in a fast-paced tech environment. I have a 2:1 honours degree and I believe my skills would be a perfect fit for this role.

As you can see the balance shifts here, more focus on motivation for the role, less in the way of practical experience to draw on.

The first candidate still gets it right though. The personal profile covers specific and relevant details about their degree and the 2:1 honours is a measurable achievement. The last sentence covers motivation nicely and it’s clear that it’s been tailored to the job being applied for.

The second? Like the first wrong example, it’s generic and dull. There’s also no real focus on motivation, which is even more important when you don’t have professional experience to draw upon.