Tips For Writing a Personal Statement

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Published: 1 Aug 2017      

CV structures tend to vary but most will contain some form of personal statement. This is where you get to talk about what makes you who you are. The personal statement also acts as a way for employers to figure out what you bring to the table beyond your qualifications and job-related skills.

Much of what’s in your statement will be expanded upon on the interview itself. However, you still need to put the effort in to impress. Here are a few tips for drafting a quality personal statement that tells employers what they need to know about you without distracting away from the body of your CV.

Keep It Short and Snappy

Employers want to know about you but they don’t want to have to trawl through pages of personal information before getting to your credentials. The ideal personal statement is between 100 and 200 words long. It should act as a taster of who you are, rather than a full exposé. Remember that employers will get to know you more during your interview, so use the statement to touch on some key personality traits. Ideally, these will be relevant to the job.

Stick to the Point

An unstructured personal statement will veer into tangents that employers don’t find interesting. Consider the key questions your statement needs to answer. What makes you who you are? What do you bring to the position that you’re applying for? What goals do you have for yourself? Try to answer those main three questions in the statement.

Create a List of Descriptions

Your aim is to make yourself stand out from others on the strength of your CV and its personal statement. That means you’re going to want to avoid the clichés that pop up on a lot of job applications. Employers constantly see that candidates “can think outside the box” or “have strong work ethics”. Those phrases will cause the reader to switch off if you aren’t careful. Avoid them by really thinking about the words that describe who you are. Create a list of every word you can think of and then check each one for synonyms. That list should give you the verbiage required to avoid the clichés that end up in a lot of personal statements.

Offer Value

It’s all well and good telling people about the basics of what you’ve achieved in your previous roles. However, it is with exact numbers that you will impress the reader. If you have noted an achievement in your statement, make sure that you back it up with relevant data. Every claim you make should offer value to the overall statement. If it doesn’t, consider removing the claim or finding a way to rewrite it.

Change It Up

You don’t have to use the same personal statement across every CV you send out. In fact, you’ll win a lot more Brownie points if you can adjust it to suit the job description of the role you apply for. Think about how you fit the role and make adjustments wherever necessary. You could create a base statement from which you can work in whatever information is most relevant to the specific role.

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