Not sure what to include in your personal statement?
Although a personal statement can have many uses (whether it’s for university or for your CV), its purpose is always based around selling yourself to the reader. Not only do you have to summarise your skills and experience, you also have to make sure it’s relevant to what you’re applying for.
So how can you help your personal statement stand out? To make sure you’re doing it right, here are our top tips to consider when writing your personal statement for your CV:
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is a brief personal summary given to prospective employers to help you stand apart from the competition. A personal statement is also required for university applications, but will usually be much more detailed.
Why do I need a personal statement?
Your personal statement is one of the most important parts of your CV.
It gives you a chance to sell yourself to the employer in a small and easy-to-digest paragraph. By summing up the specific skills and experience that make you perfect for the position, you’ll be able to prove your suitability and convince the recruiter to read on.
In fact, a well written personal statement can mean the difference between standing out from the crowd and your application being rejected.
How long should a personal statement be?
Ideally, your personal statement should be no more than around 150 words (or four or five lines of your CV). Any more than this and you run the risk of rambling and taking up valuable space.
Remember: it’s a summary, not a cover letter. So keep it concise, pertinent and to the point.
Try reading our personal statement examples to help you get started.
How to start a personal statement
When writing your personal statement, keep in mind its purpose – i.e. to demonstrate to hiring managers your suitability for the role.
The opening sentence needs to interest the reader and make them want to continue reading. However, it shouldn’t be too ‘salesy’ as you don’t want to come across as arrogant. A suitable start to your personal statement could mention your current job title, how many years of experience you have, what role you’re interested in and reasons why you consider yourself suitable for the job.
The art of writing a persuasive personal statement is adding in lots of detail (without waffling), and making it relevant to the job you’re applying for.
What to include in a personal statement?
Successful personal statements answer the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What can you offer?
- What are your career goals?
To make sure you’ve ticked all the boxes, consider bullet-pointing answers to these when drafting your personal statement. And, if you’re struggling for inspiration, use the job description to help you identify the specific skills the employer is looking for.
For example, if it highlights that the perfect candidate will have excellent business analysis skills, make sure you cover this somewhere in your statement.
This could sound something like: ‘Working experience of strategic business analysis with an investigative and methodical approach to problem-solving.’
How do you write a personal statement?
Starting off with the ‘who are you?’ question, always aim to include a quick introduction as the first point.
An example opening for your personal statement could be: ‘A qualified and enthusiastic X, with over Y years’ worth of experience, currently searching for a Z position to utilise my skills and take the next step in my career’.
What tense should my personal statement be written in?
Your personal statement can be written in any person or tense – as long as you maintain consistency throughout.
This means avoiding statements like: ‘I am a recent business economics graduate. Excellent analytical and organisational skills. I am driven and self-motivated individual that always gives 100% in everything I do. Proven track record of successes’ – at all costs.
Personal statement structure
To write a persuasive personal statement, consider following this structure:
- Start with an opening sentence that hooks the reader
- Put the most important information at the beginning of your personal statement (e.g. why you’re applying for the role and what makes you suitable)
- Mention any skills and experience you have that are relevant to the job
- Finish off with a summary of your professional goals
The structure to adopt when writing a personal statement is:
- Use an active voice
- Keep sentences brief and paragraphs short
- Make it unique to the role you’re applying for
- Ensure correct grammar and punctuation is used throughout
How long should I spend writing my personal statement?
A personal statement isn’t a one-size-fits all document.
In other words, a new personal statement should be written for each application. Although it might take some time to alter it according to each job role, your effort will make all the difference when it comes to impressing an employer.
After all, each job requires a slightly different set of skills and experience – meaning the level of focus you put on your abilities will change from application to application.
Remember: generic personal statements won’t get you anywhere – and sending off five well-written and tailored CVs has more value than sending out fifty generic ones.
Personal statement example
A recent business economics graduate with a 2:1 honours degree from the University of X, looking to secure a Graduate Commercial Analyst position or similar to utilise my current analytical skills and knowledge, and also help me to further develop these skills in a practical and fast-paced environment.
My eventual career goal is to assume responsibility for the analysis and implementation of all commercial data and actively contribute to the overall success of any business I work for.
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