Writing a Personal Statement for a CV

Written by Scott Harrison

Personal statements let prospective employers gain a quick understanding of your skills and experience, and serve as an introduction to your full CV.

Most people will find this one of the most challenging aspects of writing their CV. To help you, it is important to remember the following points:

  • Keep it short and to the point, it should be around 100-200 words
  • Summarise, don’t repeat what is listed in the body of the CV
  • Include a sentence on your career goals and ambitions
  • Most statements today are written in the first person, as this document is all about you and your skillset. However, there is no right or wrong, just be consistent throughout.

There are three main points to include in your statement, so it is useful to take the time to write these down first, before crafting them into a shorter paragraph. Firstly, you need to clearly state who you are and what you do. Outline your skills and expertise, and lay them out clearly. Secondly, detail what you have achieved. Create a list, now focus on which areas most fit the job you are applying for.

Lastly, in one sentence tell employers your career aim. This serves to show commitment and understanding of the roles you’re applying for, and ambition and passion for your chosen profession. Don’t overreach, you may want to run Nike one day, but at this stage, you are looking secure the step on the ladder.

There a few common pitfalls to writing a personal statement that can be the difference between your CV being considered in full or cast aside before the key points are read.

  • Avoid clichés, although they may be true, try and use words and phrases that don’t look as if you have taken them from a manual.
  • Keep it honest, don’t overstate or exaggerate, the facts follow in the main document anyway.
  • Avoid paying a professional writer, it will read much better if it has come directly from you, after all, it is all about you.
  • Be specific, vague statements mean nothing and take up valuable space.

Once you are relatively happy with your statement, read it out loud or try and memorise it. You will find this will help further refine and focus your statement, and you will be able to consolidate the elements into a meaningful and attention-grabbing introduction to your document.