What is a ‘personal statement’ and why is it so important to include one at the top of your CV. Well, the term personal statement is talked about a lot and I’m not sure that the words ‘personal statement’ are accurate for a CV and I’ll tell you why.
The term ‘personal statement’ is used in a multitude of settings including when applying to university to study a degree, writing about how you meet the job specification in a job application and several other instances which are similar to what a CV does but are not quite the same.
A more accurate description to use and what is a more common and acceptable usage is ‘Personal Profile’, although nowadays with things getting shorter and more succinct, the word ‘personal’ often gets dropped. Nowadays it’s usually just ‘profile’ that people use, although I prefer ‘Professional Profile’ especially if it is describing a ‘professional’, whatever that word means but that’s another blog for another time.
So if we all agree with the word ‘profile’ instead of ‘personal statement’ then we can talk about what we put in a ‘profile’. One of The Oxford dictionary’s definitions describes a ‘profile’ as “A short article giving a description of a person or organization” and another definition they give is “(on a social media website or application) a user's summary of their personal details or current situation.”
I would agree with both of those definitions especially in terms of what to write regarding someone’s ‘profile’ in a CV. So a short description of someone, their situation, their profession perhaps and what they are trying to achieve is how I would sum it up.
Now what does that mean? How do you sum yourself up in 7, 6 or even 5 lines or 4? Well you have to be extremely succinct and economical in the way you describe yourself in such a way that would attract your next employer.
Here is an example of my ‘Professional Profile’:
'A fully qualified & highly experienced career guidance practitioner and graduate, who is seeking a new and interesting position within a dynamic organisation. A professional communicator, who is able to connect with people on all levels. A creative person, who enjoys working with others and has a good sense of humour. Looking for an interesting role to help people develop their employability skills.'
Not to blow my own trumpet, so to speak, but I’ve managed to sum myself up, explain my situation and say what I would like to achieve in my next role, all within four lines in Microsoft Word on A4 at font size 12 Ariel. An employer, who is possibly short of time, will read that and if they’re looking for a qualified careers adviser, they know that I’m qualified, experienced and looking for a new role. They might not even read the rest of the CV and just decide yes, I’m going to short-list this guy, or better still, offer him the job!
Once you’re happy with your ‘Profile’ and the rest of your CV, it’s not time to rest on your laurels. You need to be constantly reviewing your CV, especially when looking for another job to make sure that not only is the rest of your CV meeting the needs of potential employers that you are applying to, but also that your ‘profile’ is also meeting those needs and requirements.
The only way to do that is to write, re-draft, write and re-draft ad-infinitum because you will never arrive at a point where you never have to look at your CV again, or update it, tweak it, whatever you want to call it – this job will never end. But that’s not such a bad thing as nothing ever stays the same does it? Everything changes all of the time, especially the jobs market and especially yourself so embrace it! What choice do you have anyway?
As one famous philosopher once said, the only thing we can guarantee (apart from death and taxes) is that all things will change, sooner or later.
So embrace the change, smile and carry on. Unless of course you would rather someone else does this work for you, in which case, send your CV to me, CV Guru and I will give you FREE feedback on your CV and a quote on how much it will cost for me to bring it up-to-date and focus it on the jobs you want to apply for.
*Send your CV for a FREE CV review now - what have you got to lose?