OK, so if you’re not of the right age to be writing your UCAS personal statement around this time of year, you should consider yourself lucky. Writing that kind of statement can prove tricky at the best of times. However, if you’re looking for a new job, a change of career or you just simply fancy the challenge, perhaps you’re bringing your CV up to date?
You may know it as a ‘career summary’ or a ‘personal profile’, but the introductory paragraph which probably lurks at the opening of your curriculum vitae is, to all intents and purposes, a personal statement. Thankfully, in this case, one is not expected to write up to 4,000 characters. Oh no. Indeed, it would be frowned upon if you did.
In the case of a CV personal statement, less is more. We’re looking for something between 50-200 words. That’s it! Simple. Or is it?
This is the first thing a potential employer is going to read on your CV. You may have included a covering letter when you sent your CV in so you don’t have to go to town on this introductory paragraph – that’s not what it’s for. This friendly little opener is supposed to act as a sort of précis, an executive summary if you will. Use it to set the scene, summarise yourself in a concise way and draw your potential employer in to make him or her want to read on and find out more about your qualifications and skills.
Brief but critical, getting your CV personal statement right could enable you to insert your metaphorical foot in the door of your dream position. So let’s get this right.
- Write in the first person: This makes the statement more personal. After all, it is about you. Use I and me not your name and he or she. In my opinion, writing in the third person in this kind of setting appears pompous and a little bit affected. Be careful to remain in the first person and not to chop and change
- Deliver the facts: Lay out who you are, what your qualifications are, what skills and experience you would bring to the job and your career objectives.
- Don’t waffle: Keep it informative, simple, clear and to the point. Read the job specification carefully and match what they are looking for to your skills and experience. Be relevant.
- Tailor your writing: In the case of CVs, you may be sending it off to a number of companies for consideration. Don’t just send a ‘blanket’ version to every one. Make sure you tailor your personal statement to suit the specification of each job. This will help to show the time and effort you’ve gone to and may help with the shortlisting process.
- Review your writing: Take care to spot any errors, spelling mistakes or typos – you need to look professional. Read your statement aloud to yourself to make sure it flows and that it makes sense. If possible ask a third party (or more than one if you can) to read through your writing and check for errors and sense.
So there you have it. What are you waiting for? Get that CV out, blow off the cobwebs and bring it bang up to date with a sparkling new personal statement!