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It is important to know how to write a personal statement for a CV

Many employers now ask job applicants to include a personal statement on their CVs. Each job application should have a different personal statement that has been crafted to fir the job applied for. Don’t think that one personal statement will cover all the jobs you apply for.

These days you need to have an attention-grabbing CV so that your application stands out from the rest of them. So let’s consider the question of how to write a personal statement for a CV.

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Your CV and personal statement will be read by bots as well as people. That means that you have to attract the attention of the bot and a prospective employer. You need to understand the importance of keywords and use them to good effect.

For example, if you are applying for a position in a marketing company, use keywords such as ‘digital marketing,’ ‘successful marketing campaign,’ Honours degree in marketing,’ and so on. The use of such keywords can get you on a shortlist. The person reading your personal statement and CV will be judging whether or not you are a good candidate for the job. The more experience you have had, the more likely you are to be put on the initial shortlist.

Where should your personal statement go in your CV? You should place it immediately under your contact details. Even if the job advertisement does not specify the necessity of including a personal statement on your CV, you should include one.

Your personal statement should include pertinent details about you and your work experience, that are relevant to the job you are applying for. You should say what professional sphere and capacity you are working in, or explain why your field of study is valuable to an employer. Explain your job title and give details of your responsibilities.

If any of your hobbies are relevant, then include them. You might want to demonstrate that you are a well-rounded individual with many interests. If you have an unusual hobby, mention it if you can. Make yourself as interesting as possible to a prospective employer.

Study the job advertisement carefully and read between the lines. What kind of person is the company looking for? Probably a dynamic person who has a lot of experience in the field. Make sure that you come across as a go-getter with lots of drive, determination to succeed and ambition. State what you have done that can prove your dynamism rather than just baldly stating that you are dynamic.

If you are applying for a job that you have experience of working in give yourself the appropriate label. If the company is searching for a person with crowd-funding experience, for example, then say that you specialise in crowdfunding or that you are a crowd-funding expert.

If you are a member of a professional body such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants, say so. It’s important that you establish your credentials. Of course, these will be mentioned in your CV, but highlight them for a prospective employer.

What information to include: -

  • Mention any specific training you have for your possible new role and explain what specialist knowledge you have.
  • You should also state how many years’ experience you have had in the relevant sector.
  • You have to market yourself very well if you are to be successful in your job search and have an edge over the competition.

Let the recruiter know that you have the appropriate work background and experience to do the job you are applying for.

A personal statement should be as concise as possible, while still including all your relevant information. Don’t ramble, focus on your talents, experience and abilities. You should aim to write a personal statement of not more than 250 words, or half a page.

Usually a personal statement is split into three segments: -

  • Say exactly who you are, e.g. a post-graduate student at Bristol University, investigating the effects of advertising on consumers’ buying behaviours.
  • Say what you have to offer the company and give examples of your past achievements which show that you have had a successful career so far.
  • Say what you hope to be doing in the future. What are your career goals?

Some people make mistakes with their writing, because they mix third person and first-person sentences. In other words, don’t speak about yourself as though you were another person, and then say ‘I’. This causes confusion and the reader will become irritated and may not bother reading the whole statement.

Spacing is also important, so if you have enough space, use 1.5 line spacing. This makes it easy for the reader. When you have finished your statement read it aloud to find out if it flows well. Also ask someone else to read it and comment on it. If you think the comments are helpful, change your statement accordingly.

Remember that personal statements ate not just written to accompany a CV. They are needed for university applications. That means that you have probably written a personal statement before. If you have a copy of it, compare it to your new statement. how different are they?

If you are applying for your first position, there are three basic questions to address: -

  1. Why do you want to work in this sector?
  2. What skills do you possess that make you a perfect applicant for the job?
  3. How do you want to progress in your chosen career? Where do you think you will be in ten years’ time for example?

The answers to these questions should be contained in your personal statement.

Although you may not have much work experience, you may have done voluntary work, so you could say what you gained by doing it. What skills did you learn? How would they be valuable in the job you are applying for? You will have gained both knowledge and skills while you were studying.

You need to develop your soft skills. These are not necessarily skills which are job specific. However, they are very desirable attributes for most jobs. Soft skills include, but are not limited to the following: -

  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • The ability to work in a team (as well as independently)
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Flexibility
  • Conflict resolution and conflict management skills
  • Determination and resilience
  • Negotiation skills
  • Social skills

Give examples of when you have had to use one or more of these skills. How successful were you in handling the situation?

Soft skills are transferable from one job to another. Even if you don’t have much experience of working in an industry, you can be valuable to an employer. For example, if you have extremely good communication skills, you could be an asset to a company’s sales department. Your communication skills make you useful to have in a team. However, soft skills cannot be measured, so you have to give examples of instances when you have used them to achieve a positive outcome in what may have been a negative situation.

You can have lessons to teach soft skills, although you usually develop them yourself. However, you can take lessons in public speaking and organizational skills, for example, and also in how to manage conflict situations and resolve conflict in the workplace.

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