What is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement, most commonly known as a personal or a professional profile, is an introductory paragraph acting as one of the key selling points when producing the perfect CV. People tend to become confused when talking about a personal statement, they tend to believe that it has to be a 500 word mini-essay summing up your previous experience - wrong!
The personal profile must be crafted carefully to transmit critical information in order to strengthen your case as the first section encountered by the reader. It is an exercise in psychology and as such the content will differ on a case by case basis. As with many CV writing issues, there is no actual rule here per se. Within the personal profile you really need to focus on a combination of critical technical or personal attributes that you have developed and what contribution and result you can bring to the organisation.
This is your chance to really sell yourself to the recruiter as the personal statement is located at the very top of the CV, having huge impact on the on the employer's next step – the decision whether to continue to dedicate the next 30 seconds of his time to scan through your Curriculum Vitae or, as harsh as it sounds, to dispose of your document without further consideration.
How To Structure Your Personal Statement
Your personal statement should be completely tailored to you as an individual, hence the word 'personal' - try to keep it very specific to what it is you are seeking to do. Too many individuals feel that it is better to make a personal statement generic with the inclusion of various buzz-words - this has its positives, however the negatives quickly begin to outweigh these factors. It's important to show you can relate to the industry and that you have a genuine passion for your chosen sector.
Key elements that could be incorporated within the statement include how many years of experience you have within the sector, your progression through various roles, a key industry qualification held, a specific achievement that will stand you apart, a primary skill you bring to the table, the range of environments you have fulfilled a role in, your reason for entering the sector if coming from another industry and an essential evidential statement to immediately block any initial objection you foresee the reader having, your long-term plan, a primary interest in the target company, etc.
Try to think about yourself as a individual and begin to think about how to best describe yourself as a professional with a focus on what you bring tot he company and how you can be differentiated from other applicants, look to incorporate these into the personal statement along with a brief overview of your experience. Try to portray yourself as an achiever rather than somebody that just carries out tasks and responsibilities delegated to you, as that is simply expected rather than exemplary. This is also an opportunity to explain a gap if returning to work, although specifics to cover that could and should also be expended on (on a case by case basis, as per usual) within the correct entry under your employment history.
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