You might think that a personal statement is just for that special 47 line or 4000 character UCAS box and something that you spend hours poring over ‘just’ to make sure you make it to university.
How wrong could you be! Personal statements can be used on your CV too and a nice paragraph or two on you, your interests and work ethic can go a long way in helping your job application.
Sometimes called a personal profile or career summary, the personal statement on your CV should aim at marketing yourself and persuading the employer to at least interview you. So, what to include?
What to Include in a Personal Statement for your CV
The personal statement should be short and snappy, and between 50 and 200 words, which is fewer than the amount you have for UCAS personal statements. However, it’s more than likely you’ll have to send over a cover letter as part of your job application too, so this can be used to include more interesting information, such as case studies of where you showcased a particular set of skills.
Overall, the personal statement or profile on your CV should address three key issues:
– Who you are
– What you can bring to the company or organisation
– Career aims.
The ‘who you are’ section shouldn’t read along the lines of ‘Alright geezers, I’m Dave. I love working, but I love boozing even more. If you hire me, I’ll redefine your idea of #topbanter.’ We’re exaggerating here, but ‘who you are’ should include a brief summary of education and employment history, and the skills you have developed.
Something along the lines of, ‘I have recently graduated from the University of Nottingham with a 2:1 degree in Classics. Additionally, I have undertaken several internships with local and national organisations, allowing me to develop my transferable skills and media industry experience’, will go down a treat. It gives the employer a brief insight into your employment history, education and skills.
You should then build upon your skills and experience in your ‘what you can bring to the table’ section of the statement. You could mention that ‘During my placement with Guardian News and Media, I worked with the website team to assist in uploading articles to the site. I had to liaise with journalists and editors, as well as ensuring articles adhered to a certain style and were scheduled to be published at a certain time. This allowed my communication, proofreading and knowledge of content management systems to flourish.’
This is a good ‘what you can bring to the table’ paragraph because it highlights a range of transferable and industry specific skills and shows that you have worked effectively with others.
The final section, ‘your career aim’ is slightly trickier. Rather than telling the employer that you want to be CEO within five years, you should speak about your goals at the moment, such as ‘I’m aiming to secure a position working for a print or online publication, where I can bring strategic value and develop my skillset.’
Whether you write your personal statement in first person or third person is entirely your choice. The important thing is to stick to one style and stay with it. Mismatching is not only showing that you have a slender grasp on grammar, it also confuses the reader.
Keep your writing short and sweet too; there’s plenty of space in the cover letter to go into more detail. Leading on from this, your statement should be between 50 and 200 words. If you have the room on your CV, use 1.5 line spacing, but don’t worry if this isn’t possible.
Finally, right it aloud to make sure that it ‘sounds right’!
Personal statements for your CV are a fine art, but nailing it will ensure that you have a well-rounded, competitive application.