There are many elements to a CV — they are pages and pages long, after all! But every CV should kick off with a personal statement — a paragraph that summarises your experience and sells you as the best possible candidate for the job. And we’re here to help you craft one that will knock the socks off any employer.
What Is a Personal Statement?
So, what is a personal statement anyway, and why do you need one on your CV? A personal statement serves as the starting paragraph to your CV. It’s a paragraph long, and it covers your experience and accomplishments. And while it’s short, a personal statement is very important. Because employers don’t spend much time reviewing CVs — about seven seconds, on average — it’s crucial to capture their attention with interesting information.
A great personal statement gives hiring managers a small, but impactful glimpse into your experience and expertise without having to read through your entire CV.
Personal Statement Essentials
Every good personal statement has a few things in common. First, your personal statement should be short — think: two or three sentences, max. Remember, you don’t have a lot of time to interest a potential employer — and going on and on won’t keep them interested.
Personal statements also highlight your professional attributes — your experience, hard and soft skills and past accomplishments. If you crushed a recent campaign, for example, or can crunch numbers like no one else, these are things that you might include in your statement.
According to a survey of 800 hiring managers by Netquote, problem-solving, communication and time management are the biggest strengths that employers look for when evaluating candidates. In addition, hiring managers value job applicants’ ability to manage conflict and learn from mistakes. Not only is it important to summarize how your past experiences are transferable to the new position, but how your skills can help the company reach its goals.
Personal statements also make a case for why you’re the right person for the role to which you’re applying. In other words, a good personal statement should help you sell yourself.
As for format, you might dedicate one sentence to stating who you are, another to your background and accomplishments and a third to explain why you’re a good fit for the role.
Tips to Craft a Great Personal Statement
If you’re feeling stuck as you write your first personal statement, use these tips to give you a jump-start. Once you write your first one, try again. It may take a few tries to create an impactful personal statement. Don’t forget, you may need to change it for each job you apply for, so getting good at writing this will benefit you in the long-term!
- Incorporate keywords used in the job description to show the hiring manager that you can “talk the talk.” Using keywords is also valuable because many employers use CV scanning software, which uses keywords to pick out CVs of note. In the digital hiring era, keywords ensure your CV is seen.
Action verbs will help your personal statement stand out. Here are eight you could include:
Use these words — or other action verbs — to explain your experience and accomplishments.
- Do your homework. Browse the company’s website and social media accounts to get a feel for the organization. Tailor your statement to align with what you uncover about their culture. Unlike any other sections in your CV, the personal statement is a place to highlight your personal brand and how it aligns with their company, to exemplify why you’d be a great culture fit.
- Instead of “saying” you helped grow a company’s bottom line “show” it. Include percentages, sales figures or numbers to quantify your professional achievements.
Examples of Great Personal Statements
If you’re still stumped as to how to write a successful personal statement, these examples might inspire you to put pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be.
Example 1: “Startup veteran for 10 years, including businesses rated the UK’s fastest-growing. Strategic adviser with a specialisation 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.”
Example 2: “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.”
Example 3: “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.”
Leave a Lasting Impression
Your personal statement is just one piece of a successful CV, but it’s an important one. Use the tips and ideas above to develop a personal statement that showcases your strengths and personality. Don’t forget to provide quantifiable achievements, from which hiring managers can derive your overall value to the company. Use your personal statement to show that you’re the candidate that checks all the boxes and wait for that highly-anticipated interview call.
Now that you know how to write an impressive personal statement, here are some additional resources to help you get your new dream job: