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CVs & Cover Letters

4 Great Personal Statement Examples for Your CV — & Why They Work

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 2, 2021

Personal statements — the paragraphs at the top of CVs that summarise past experience and accomplishments — may be short, but they are undoubtedly important. After all, a personal statement gives you the chance to sell yourself to potential employers — and you don’t have much time to do that, says Romanie Thomas, founder of Juggle Jobs: "People spend, on average, a measly nine seconds glancing at CVs, so a compelling introduction is critical.”

Hooking a potential employer within seconds might seem like a lot of pressure. But don’t worry, these four examples — plus tips on why they work — will help you craft a personal statement that shines.

1. Include Keywords, Not Buzzwords

Keywords are specific statements or required skills taken from the job advert. Keywords will ensure your CV not only passes an initial screening from the recruiting software known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), but they also show the hiring manager that you understand the role. Alternatively, buzzwords are simply seen as fluff, acting as useless and cliché adjectives that take up valuable space in your personal statement.

“It seems the world is full of disruptors, gurus and ninjas,” says Gabi Dalla Riva, Head of Talent at Credit Karma U.K. “Steer clear of buzzwords that will make your statement generic and lacking in substance”.

Example Personal Statement:

Startup veteran for 10 years, including businesses rated the UK’s fastest-growing. Strategic advisor with a specialism in fast-growth forecasting, initial finance and operations function setup in SaaS, e-commerce, fintech and blockchain businesses. Proven team builder, creating an FP&A function from scratch and leading first hire to full CIMA qualification.”

Why This Works:

Thomas provided this example from a professional on Juggle. The keywords are in bold. He explains; “Keywords will drag your CV out of the slush pile with an ATS, and effectively speak to the traditional matching done by real-life recruitment professionals.” This personal statement is information-dense and calls out several of the expert skills of the candidate via keywords.

2. Focus on Brevity

Personal statements should be a maximum of three to five lines. “Think of your personal statement as your elevator pitch — keep it concise and to the point,” suggests Dalla Riva. “If you're applying to multiple roles, have a couple versions of your statement to make the most impact with your audience.” I.E., Don’t have a generic statement. Keep it short, to-the-point and specific to the role and company.

Example Personal Statement:

“CIM qualified VP Marketing with experience growing market share and penetrating new markets for world-class luxury goods brands. Fluent in French, I have held country leadership roles in Belgium and Singapore and possess strong Digital Marketing skills. London-based, I am now seeking a Chief Commercial Officer role with an entrepreneurial, fast-paced luxury brand with international growth.”

Why This Works:

Chris Mumford, managing director of the London office of Aethos Consulting Group, provided this example of an executive-level personal statement. While only three sentences, this personal statement packs a punch.

Mumford explains: “It’s clear that the applicant is an expert in digital marketing, the inclusion of the French language capability and markets worked in conveys that the applicant has international experience, [and] an ATS will instantly match this person with roles in London.” Also, note that the statement is keyword-dense as well.

3. Actionable Stats Make a Difference

Once you move past an ATS, recruiters and hiring managers look at hundreds of CVs each day. Including specific data and actionable statistics from your experience will make a personal statement stand out. Metrics of success also serve to quantify your achievements.

Matt Dodgson, director of Market Recruitment, gives a great example of a sentence that truly quantifies achievements: “Grew Company X's client base from 10 to 50 within one year. Increased sales by 40 percent by implementing a new lead qualification tool.” See it in action with a full personal statement below.

Example Personal Statement:

"Target-oriented Sales Executive with a 15-year sales record. Proven success in both B2B and B2C verticals. Grew [Company X]’s client base from 10 to 50 within one year. Increased sales by 40 percent by implementing a new lead qualification tool. As a confident networker, brings to the table effective relationships with key senior contacts in FTSE 250 organisations."

Why This Works:

“Similar to your CV, quantifications tell a moving story,” says Dodgson. He explains that adding the 40 percent metric to the above statement makes it stand out much more, rather than just saying “Increased sales by implementing a new lead qualification tool.

Dodgson also suggests name-dropping with purpose. In the above example statement, Company X signifies a recognisable client or high-powered firm the applicant has worked with. However, you must always include metrics to back up your results working with the big-name organisation.

4. Consider Bullet Points

If you struggle with articulating your value in full-sentences, Becky Heys, professional CV writer and owner of Heys Resumes, tells us that bullet points are an acceptable option. She says, “This style can be much more reader-friendly, concise and often the preferred style of recruiters and executive-level candidates.”

Example Personal Statement:

  • Sales Director within the travel industry with over 30 years’ expertise in the travel and tourism sector
  • Can quickly identify your clients’ needs and provide a tailored service, increasing the pipeline to meet your operational objectives
  • Strong track record in driving new customer leads, increasing sales revenue, client-focused account management and people development
  • Created and implemented a 3-year sales and marketing plan, achieving the target result of £26m

Why This Works:

Heys explains that this is a brief but strong synopsis of experience. Bullets also make it easy for the reader to quickly scan and understand what you do and if you’re the right candidate. If you do opt to use a bullet point format, Heys recommends the following outline:

  • Bullet 1: Industry credentials
  • Bullet 2: What you bring to the table
  • Bullet 3: How you can help the business achieve their objectives, in relation to the role
  • Bullet 4: A strong, relevant and recent deliverable

Curate The Perfect Personal Statement for Your CV

It can be nerve-wracking to write a short, yet highly effective pitch of yourself when applying for jobs. As you write yours, use these examples as guidance. Remember to use specific keywords from the job advert, keep it short and relevant, and include quantifiable metrics of your past.

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