A personal statement is the written description you use to sell yourself to potential employers. It details your achievements and strengths and is normally included in an application for a job – also known as a career objective.
Most potential employers rarely go past the first page of a CV. Your personal statement has to be captivating enough to keep them reading. You also have to summarise strongpoints, skills and experiences that are relevant to the position so that it is not a long and tedious read.
How do you ensure employers read your personal statement?
- Make your personal statement as brief as you can. Your personal statement is a brief overview of who you are. Let it lead to a discussion about your skills and what value you will add to your employer.
- Avoid using boring or old clichés such as ‘team player’. If you are new to the job market and lacking working skills, look to activities you have taken part in to get a sense of skills garnered. Use activities that are relevant to the position being applied for.
- Sell yourself. Summarise skills that you have gained over time that may have prepared you for the position you are applying for. List your achievements that are in line with the position.
Convince employers to keep reading your CV by keeping your personal statement concise and on-topic.
How do you ensure your personal statement is effective?
To begin with, don’t use the same personal statement to apply for all roles. You have to tailor each one to speak to the desires of the employer and the job description. Employers can sense generic CV’s and cover letters from a mile away.
Take time to write your personal statement with the specific role being applied for in mind. The personal statement should tell them who you are and why you are the perfect person for the job. It should also tell them what you intend to achieve in the position as part of your long-term career goals. This will increase your chances of being invited to the next stage of the process… the interview.
What should you include in your personal statement?
- Introduction. Begin your CV personal statement with a brief introduction of your professional history. This should be no more than two sentences long and thorough enough to prompt potential employers to keep reading. Remember to keep it relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Overview of past jobs held. Explain briefly what other jobs you have done and how they have helped you build up your career and skills.
- Area of expertise. Briefly describe to the reader why you are perfect for the job and why they should hire you.
- Why does the job interest you? Aside from actually getting the job, explain why this particular role interests you. How can it build you professionally? Employers know that when employees have something they are working towards, they are pro-active and hungry for the opportunity to grow. Employees with no clear goals might appear to be job-hopping or chasing a better salary which may reflect that a candidate is come uninspired and unmotivated.
- Echo the job description. This lets the person hiring know that you actually took the time to read and learn more about the company.
Things you SHOULD NOT include in your personal statement.
- Do not lie. Untruths have a way of coming back to haunt you, so don’t.
- Do not include unnecessary information. Personal information like your marital status or number of children will not in any way have an impact on the employers’ decision on your competitiveness for the position.
- Do not include your weaknesses. Paint yourself in the best possible light to give yourself a fighting chance.
- Do not exaggerate. Drawing unnecessary attention to the wrong things will only set you back and leave potential employers unimpressed.
- Do not copy and paste. Write your personal statement deliberately and accurately. Sending a generic sample shows lack of effort.
- Do not make it any longer than 150-200 words. A long read will bore potential employers and deter them from looking at your CV.
How should you conclude your personal statement?
A strong conclusion is your last chance to impress potential employers. Provide a brief statement of your career objectives, explaining why you have applied for the role and why you are the best contender for the position. Keep it simple by highlighting all of your unique points using professional language.
Personal statement examples can be viewed here, as well as more tips on how to write a personal statement for a CV.