Your personal statement should be one of the first things employers read on your CV. It’s there to grab the attention of the reader and unfortunately, if it doesn’t sell you very well, they may simply put down your CV. The perfect personal statement doesn’t happen on your first try, just know that it has taken some of the best professionals’ years to get theirs right. As you develop your career, your statement and CV will change and get better alongside it. This may seem like a lot of pressure, but we have some tips on how you can get a great personal statement ready for your first CV.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is a small professional profile often found at the top of your CV. It’s supposed to be an engaging summary of you, your achievements so far and what you want to get out of your career and importantly the job you are applying for. It’s all about persuasion. You want to have the employer interested enough to keep reading the rest of your CV. Don’t drag it out. It can be hard to compact all of this information into one paragraph, but after practice, it’s doable.
Structure it correctly
It’s always easier to start something when you have a plan and a way of structuring it. Your personal statement shouldn’t be too long, so it’s always a good idea to have an idea of what you want to write before you begin.
Start with who you are – Introduce yourself with your name, your age (if you want to add this part in) and where you are in your career. If you’re a graduate or just finished an apprenticeship, add that in! Employers know that everyone has to start somewhere.
TELL THEM your value – Your CV is not the right place to be modest. You want to be shouting about your value and what you can bring to the company. Look through the job spec for skills they are looking for and add a few of those in to get the reader interested.
Career objectives – They know you’re either fresh out of education or starting a new career path already, so make sure you are talking about your goals. What do you want to achieve and how do you think their company will help that?
The length of a personal statement is important, but this is where the difficulty comes from. You want to include all of the information stated above but keeping it short and concise at no more than 200 words.
You might find it easier to write down everything you think is important to begin with and start taking out things that might not be relevant. It’s often easier to get all of your ideas on one page and work from there. Your statement is there to introduce your CV and the other information on your CV will do the rest of the talking. If you do feel like you have more to say, save it for the cover letter. You don’t have to worry about missing things out if you take the time to write one. For more information and advice on your cover letter, click here.
Loads of people like to add a bit of their experience within their personal statement. However, if you don’t have any, it’s best to leave out any work experience that isn’t related to the job you want. You can mention in your statement that you are a graduate or apprentice and go from there. It’s always good to include a few qualifications in there if you lack experience. You can talk about how you want to use this experience to follow the career path that is right for you. Life experience and skills are just as important as work experience.
You can and will change it
Your personal statement is something that will change over time. It will need to be changed and re-evaluated every time you apply for a new job. It’s even good to try and tailor your statement to each employer you send it too.
Don’t worry if you feel like your CV and statement isn’t as impressive as you would like. It will change and grow over time, as you do. It’s okay to take your time and re-write it a few times, it’s all in the practice. One day, you’ll find this part the easiest to write!