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Your CV’s Personal Statement – Get it Right

Five lines might not seem like much to sum up why an employer should hire you, but this little summary is your best chance to impress an employer from the start. Rob Bevan, a CV consultant with CV Checker explains how to get it right…

Your Personal Statement represents possibly the most crucial five lines on your CV. What you say here will determine whether the recruiter carries on reading about you, or whether your CV will be confined to the ‘no’ pile. The idea is to create a summary about you, your skills, successes and achievements that will get an employer to buy into you from the get-go. Here are four things to remember when writing your Personal Statement:

1. Never say ‘I’m a good team player’

Don’t fall into the trap of using tired, old phrases. Ban the following lines from your CV: ‘I’m a great team player’, ‘I have good communication skills’, ‘I use my initiative’. I have worked in CVs for a number of years and have yet to read a CV that says ‘I have terrible communication skills’! Don’t state the obvious – we’ve all seen these phrases before. What you need to do is give us something that makes you stand out. What are your capabilities? What can you bring to the table?

2. It’s not the place to tell a story

Your statement should be in third person and written in an objective way. It needs to read like a sales or marketing brochure, all about you: what service are you selling? Does it demonstrate who you are? What is your position in the marketplace? Why are you the right service provider to do the job? Keep it short and impersonal. For example, a project manager might write the following:

“Highly experienced Project Manager with a track record of delivering projects successfully, on time and within budget. Familiar with all the latest innovations, working with a broad range of products…”

3. We don’t want to see your face

We always advise that you don’t include a picture with your personal statement, unless you are going for a modelling job! If you use a picture you are opening yourself up to judgement because people do make judgements based on pictures. Some people may like the look of you but some may not. The golden rule with CVs is never give someone a reason not to call you. So, if they can find something negative on your CV, they will, and this could be your picture. Nine times out of ten your picture may be ok, but what if the one time where it’s looked on negatively is your dream job? It’s not worth giving people the chance to say no for any reason.

4. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself

There are so many applicants out there today that you need to make sure you stand out in the crowd. It’s not just about having the capability to do the job anymore – out of 100 applicants, 80 will be as qualified as you. An employer will be looking for someone who can give him a good rate of return in his investment – he doesn’t just want anyone, he wants the best candidate. To show that this is you, you need to sell your achievements, your strengths and your successes. It’s not boasting, it’s simply being honest and not being afraid to shout about what you have done and what you can do.

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