Tips for a Personal Statement on a CV

Written by barbara bryant
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Tips for a Personal Statement on a CV
A CV personal statement is your initial paragraph-long sales pitch to a prospective employer. (curriculum vitae 50409 image by pablo from

The personal statement at the beginning of your curriculum vitae (CV) should give job recruiters and human resources personnel a quick glimpse of your professional achievements and career objectives. It should also convey the experiences that make you a valuable asset to your potential employer. It's important to state these points as an introduction to your CV because most organizational gatekeepers don't spend much time reviewing resumes, says Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, a recruitment specialist. A compelling personal statement will help you stand out from the crowd and pique the reader's interest in you.

Keep It Short

Make it a brief sales-pitch with you as the product, not an attempt to summarise your entire work history. Personal statements are typically a short paragraph, no more than 50 words, says MacKenzie-Cummins. This rule is important because reviewers may decide on the basis of this section alone whether to read the entire document or to quickly toss it aside.

Targeted Pitch

Show your interest, not just in the job but in the nature and activities of the hiring organisation. This approach shows that you're not just after any job but you're after this job--and that you've taken the time to make sure your skills are compatible with the employer's identity, activities and needs.

Struttin' Your Stuff

Indicate that you understand what the job entails and allude to the experience you have to excel in the position. Potential employers want to know what you will bring to the table. For example, if you're applying for a development position, how much money did grants that you wrote attract? If you're a CEO on the hunt, by how much did you increase revenues and reduce costs at your most recent job? If you're in human resources, to what extent did employee recruitment and retention rates increase during your tenure? In short, an example or two of relevant, concrete success indicates your distinctive suitability for the job.

Original Prose

Emphasise the "personal." Conveying an original voice makes you memorable. Describe your achievements concretely yet compellingly, and do not use phrases that come easily to mind because you've heard them so often (clichés). Effective messages are memorable, not generic. Commonly-used phrases such as "looking for a challenging opportunity," will get you lost in the crowd, Cummins says.

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