Did you know that according to research, most employers will only spend between 6 to 10 seconds skimming over a CV?
Not just that, they are searching for specific keywords. Should your CV contain none of the keywords they are looking for, it will quickly end up into the reject pile.
Having a killer CV that is designed to catch the eye of the employer is your first step to attract their attention. Without a well-constructed CV, your efforts will fall flat even before you have had a chance to prove yourself.
In a lot of cases, an employer will be more interested in what sort of person you are and what impression you give off when reading your CV.
This is because at the end of the day they will want someone that will be a good fit for their company culture. This is especially true if the recruit needs to fit into an existing team.
Finding a good personality match and someone with the right skills, focus and dedication is just as important – if not more so – than what qualifications you have.
Having a compelling personal statement
Although you may believe that putting all of your focus into recording your qualifications and work experience is the most important element of your CV, in fact, it is your personal statement that can end up making or breaking the success of your job application.
As long as you tick all of the boxes with the required qualifications and work experience to qualify your application for the job, you need to remember that you will be directly competing with numerous other hopeful applicants with the same history as you.
So, make sure that your personal statement isn’t bland and wishy-washy. It needs to grab the attention of the reader and give them a taste of the sort of person you are.
But, Wait, What is it?
Your personal statement is a short and compelling paragraph that tells the employer that you are the most qualified person for the role on offer. It tells the reader who you are and what valuable benefits you will be bringing to their company.
Do I need to include one on my CV?
The short answer to this question is YES! Yes, you must make sure to include a personal statement for the following reasons:
• It gives you a chance to showcase your most valuable key skills in one place
• Not including one will make you look the same as every other job applicant
• It can inspire employers to read your CV in its entirety
• It is an opportunity to provide more background about your experience
• You can get your personality across to show that you are a good cultural fit for the company
In essence, this helps you express why you are the right choice for the role on offer in one condensed paragraph.
How to write a strong personal statement
Just like when writing your CV you need to make sure that your statement is unique to the job that you are applying for. A generic paragraph used on every copy of your CV that you send out simply will not do here!
Writing a strong personal statement means summarizing your skills and experience in a way that is relevant to the job. This makes your statement interesting to the employer and adds extra value to your application.
This is not the place to waffle or to add a lot of fluff or filler. Your statement needs to be short and to the point. Make sure you include the following points:
• Your statement should reinforce your relevant key skills that the employer finds desirable
• Keep your statement short and punchy – it needs to be easy to read
• Highlight the knowledge and experience you have that makes you a good fit for the role
• Mirror the keywords and key phrases that were used in the job advert and description
Choosing what to highlight
You can make it easier for yourself to choose what to highlight in your personal statement paragraph by looking at the information contained in the job advert and the job description supplied by the company.
As you read through this information, try to remember the times in your previous work roles where you accomplished notable achievements that match with required skills and experience for this job.
Note down everything that springs to mind including your years of experience in a similar role, challenges you took on and the positive results achieved, new projects you kick-started – anything that has close relevance to this new position.
You can use your collected notes to formulate your paragraph.
Personal statement examples
Let’s take a look at a few personal statement examples just to give you an idea of how you can formulate your own.
Remember that you need to make your statement unique to you and to the job you are applying for. Simply copying and using these examples may not be the best move because your statement wouldn’t be reflecting the real you.
Depending on where you are in life and your career, you will need a personal statement that matches your goals for your next steps forward. Here are the most common career stages that most people will fit into, accompanied by a fitting personal statement:
A personal statement for a school leaver
Entering the workforce for your very first time is a big step. Your statement should focus on the following points:
• Why you want to work in your chosen industry
• What you can bring to the role (remember to search the job description for desired skills)
• What you hope to achieve by working with the company
Remember that you are bringing your energy, dedication, enthusiasm and willingness to learn to the table. As you will not have any employment history, you need to make sure to get your personality and your soft skills over in your statement.
School leaver personal statement example:
I am an energetic and enthusiastic person that is keen to learn new skills. I have recently completed my A-levels, achieving top grades in English, Maths and French. I am seeking a role in international sales where I can make use of and develop my language skills. I see that your company is looking to recruit someone with basic French language skills and feel that I would fit this role perfectly. My long term career goal is to further my language qualifications and position myself as a European sales manager living and working overseas for a global company.
A personal statement for a graduate
This personal statement will be quite similar to the school leaver’s statement, but will have more of an emphasis placed on your higher educational attainments and experiences.
The focus of your personal statement will be why you are applying for the job and what your hopes are for your future career. Remember to highlight what special knowledge you can bring to the role.
If you are applying before you have had your degree results, it is fine to give a projected grade. You can also mention any specific modules you have studied that are relevant to the job on offer and how much you enjoyed working on them.
Graduate personal statement example:
I am a recent business graduate with a 1:1 honors degree from XYZ University. I am hoping to move into a Graduate position within your Commercial Sales and Marketing section to use my degree skills and develop my practical experience. My long term career ambitions are to manage my own sales and marketing team within a fast-paced environment of a prestigious, high-profile, blue-chip company.
A personal statement for a jobseeker
If you have been made redundant or are currently unemployed, then finding your next job can be very stressful. Learning how to cover gaps in your CV can be very helpful here.
Always appreciate your worth. Stay positive with your statement and never mention anything negative that could be seen as a sticking point.
You should never come off sounding desperate. Never apologize and don’t turn it into a begging letter! Remember that you can bring a lot of valuable skills to their company that they need.
If you want to explain the break in your employment record then explain this in your cover letter rather than on your CV. When you have already explained your career break once, there is no need to repeat it again.
Jobseeker personal statement example:
I am a highly motivated, fully trained engineer with 15 years experience in the telecoms industry. I carry a proven track record working with XYZ Telecoms Ltd. as a field engineer and project team leader. I have managed many large commercial telecoms infrastructure installations. Currently unemployed due to the relocation of the company. I am looking for a fresh opportunity to use my many years of expert knowledge and supervisory experience to bring a high level of quality and service to a well-established and respected company.
A personal statement for a career change
When you are changing from one work sector to another completely different industry, you need to draw on your transferable interpersonal skills to highlight upon.
Remember that your transferable skills and soft skills are quite universal no matter what industry sector you work in. There is any number of different jobs that need the same set of skills that you have developed, so always try to lead with these and use real-life examples of your experience.
Career change personal statement example:
Working for the past 10 years as a regional sales manager has allowed me to develop keen skills in building strong working relationships and lucrative networks. My ability to communicate well with everyone from a variety of different backgrounds enabled me to win vital customer contracts that saw an increase of 20% in sales revenue over 3 years for my current employer. I am now ready to take on a new challenge and want to work in the charity sector so that I can use my skills to give something back for the direct benefit of others. I pay close attention to details and have a friendly, confident and professional manner that would be suitable for the role on offer with your organization.
As you can see, your personal statement can be the key between your CV making the ‘yes’ pile or the reject bin.
Take some time to get your statement right and always write a new one for each job you apply for using the same language as the employer.
Whether you are fresh out of education or are looking for a change after many years in employment, you may be a bit rusty or inexperienced when it comes to creating your CV.
You can find a lot of helpful advice and guidance in our Resources section to get you started.