How to write a personal statement for your CV

How to write a personal statement for your CV

The CV is a very formal document and sometimes lacks in that personal touch. However, writing a personal statement for your CV can add that little spark it needs. But what is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a short paragraph which discusses three main points:

  • Who you are
  • What you can bring to the company
  • Your goals for the future

Also known as a career objective, your personal statement will act as an introduction to your CV. It is an opportunity to sell your talents to the employer and make an instant and positive impact.

“This is your banner heading summarising your main selling points” –Jobs.ac.uk

A personal statement for your CV may be contrasted with a personal statement used when applying for a college or university place. Although called the same thing, the two types of statement are different. You can view and contrast examples of this type of personal statement on Personal-statement-examples.com.

Here’s how to write a personal statement for your CV.

For the most experienced of workers?

Some employers believe that a personal statement should only be written by an experienced career professional. The reasoning behind this is that a recent graduate would not have enough material and experience to write something adequate.

Whilst there is some truth to this we would not recommend dismissing the idea of writing a personal statement as a recent school leaver. The choice is completely yours. However, try not to be too ambitious to the point of arrogance when detailing your career goals. Be positive, but realistic!

Don’t write a generic personal statement

Writing a generic personal statement would only succeed in alienating the employer. The whole idea behind writing a personal statement is to align your skills and goals with that of the company’s. A generically written personal statement and even CV will fail to address anything important.

Research the company and the role to find out what makes them tick. Are they looking for an ambitious, dynamic individual? Is communication and team-working a vital part of the role? Is there scope for promotion? Once you have a good grasp of what the company is looking for you can then begin to write your statement.

Keep it focused on the relevant skills, experience and qualifications required for the role. When it comes to your goals and aspirations for the future, try to align those with the company. Be careful not to overstep the mark and assume that making manager within the first year is realistic. Don’t aim too high, but express a positive interest in climbing the ladder in the future. You could also consider how you could help the company. What do you have to offer that can help push and drive the company to success?

All of these are suggestions and it really does depend on the role, the industry and your own personal goals. But the important thing to remember is that you must custom write your personal statement and your CV to the role. Make the company feel wanted and show how passionate you are about working for them.

Keep your personal statement brief and to the point

The overall length of your personal statement should be around 150-200 words. Do not write anything more than 4-6 sentences, and keep everything on topic.

Stick to the script and follow the simple structure as outlined above. Here are some more tips on the structure of your personal statement.

What to write in your personal statement

First of all, let’s focus on the who. You are going to introduce yourself by telling the hiring manager who you are. For example:

I am an energetic and hardworking individual looking for a new and exciting challenge in your sales department at Hyundai, Shrewsbury.

Next on the agenda is what you have to offer the company:

With over 10 years of experience in the motor industry working in the parts and accessories department, I am looking to bring my knowledge and passion for motor vehicles to the world of sales. I have dealt with Hyundai cars for over 5 years and have built up a passion for the manufacturer as I believe they offer great value at an affordable price.

And now finally, you need to close out your personal statement with a look towards the future:

I have worked all of my life in the motor trade, initially as an administrator before moving to the parts and accessories department. This next step into the sales department will be a new and exciting challenge for me. I would like to be a part of an ever-expanding dealership with the aim to one-day push myself further to the role of sales department manager.

Remember, this is only an example and your chosen career will likely differ a lot from what you see above. However, as long as you follow the three main points above, you will create a very readable and positive personal statement which will introduce your main credentials nicely.

Be honest

You should always be completely honest when writing your application. Everything from your personal statement, cover letter and CV should tell the truth. It’s completely understandable that you would want to paint yourself in the best possible light – but try to avoid the temptation of falling into telling lies and embellishing the facts.

Most employers can quickly spot a fake personal statement as it will not match up with the rest of the CV. So rather than focusing on what will only make the employer happy, you should focus on two things – what will make the employer happy, AND the facts.

“Untruths are easy to uncover and lying on your CV is a criminal offence.” –Prospects.ac.uk

Avoid mistakes

Your personal statement is the first thing an employer will read (unless you also write a cover letter). As such, if you make a spelling or grammatical mistake, you will likely not hear back from them. So what does that mistake say about you?

It shows that you lack attention to detail, and are potentially not passionate about the role. If it meant that much to you then you would have checked your CV before it was sent off, right?

A mistake shows a lack of diligence which could roll over to the job if hired. You may be someone who is prone to constantly making mistakes, which would of course always put the employer off. So make sure you check every aspect of your CV before it’s emailed to the hiring manager. One small mistake could undo all that hard work.

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