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Should I include a personal statement in my CV and, if so, what should I put in it?

Published on: 1 Apr 2020

Should I include a personal statement in my CV and, if so, what should I put in it?

Ultimately, you need to look at your CV as a key piece of marketing material about you as an employee (or contractor). A personal statement is a great opportunity to provide potential employers with a concise summary of what they would be getting if they hired you. It will be one of the first things a reader sees, and will influence their judgment on the rest of your CV, so it is vital that you get it right.

Cramming “all of you” into a short paragraph is a bit of an art. So too is making it stand out enough to create positive feelings in the mind of the reader. Try and get across all of the following in around 120 words maximum:

  • role experience (are you a manager, an advisor, a director?)
  • personality
  • approach
  • industry experience
  • skills (are you an influencer, organiser, administrator?)

This is a fair bit to get across in 120 words I am sure you will agree. But the restriction will ensure you make your words count and you do not write statements for the sake of it, or reel out clichés. it will also avoid boring the reader. Remember, if  your CV is the 20th in a pile and the hiring manager is nearing home time, they may not have the will to read another résumé that starts like a list of synonyms from a thesaurus.

The key to being efficient with words is to understand what you don’t need to include. Any memberships (CMIOSH) and major qualifications (MSc ) will appear after your name. If a job specification requires a particular qualification, say lead auditor status or NEBOSH diploma, then the reader will look for it elsewhere in your CV.

Before writing, have a bit of a brainstorm, take the bullets above and note the words and phrases you want to use to describe yourself. Make the words meaningful, and representative of the best you. From there you should be able to write a paragraph that you can tweak and sculpt down to around 120 words. You’ll know you’ve done a good job when you read it back after a couple of days and you still feel happy with it.

Tayla Brown, project support partner, Shirley Parsons Associates