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20 days ago by Meg Fenner - Jamieson

How to Write the Best Personal Statement

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A personal statement is all about selling yourself to the person reading your CV. You’ll need to sum up your experience and skills but make sure to stay relevant to whatever it is you’re applying for.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is usually the first thing a person will read when looking at your CV, that sits at the top of the page. It is a brief summary for prospective employers, recruiters, and hiring managers to help set you apart from the competition.

 

Why do I need to include one?

Your personal statement is one of the most crucial elements of your CV. It gives you an opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer in a quick paragraph. By summing up the specific skills and experience that make you ideal for the role, you’ll be able to show your suitability and persuade the recruiter to continue reading.

A well written personal statement can be the difference between standing out from the masses and your application being rejected.

 

How long should my personal statement be?

Your personal statement should be no longer than about 150 words (four or five lines or a small paragraph). More than this and you risk rambling and taking up valuable space. Remember that it’s a summary of yourself, not a cover letter. Keep it concise and relevant.

 

What should I put in my personal statement?

A successful personal statement should answer the following questions:

1. Who are you?

2. What can you offer (in terms of skills, experience, and attitude)?

3. What are your career goals?

If you’re struggling for inspiration, use the job advert to help you recognise the specific skills the employer is looking for. Eg, if the job description highlights that their perfect candidate should have fantastic IT and technical skills, make sure you explain your talent somewhere in your statement.

This could be something like: ‘Working experience of IT and software analysis with an analytical and systematic approach to problem-solving.’

To help you find the right one for you, here are some personal statement examples – and information about how you can use them to make your CV stand out:

 

School leaver personal statement example

If you’re a school leaver, you should focus on explaining where you want to go in your career and what you can bring to the business. Talk about the knowledge, skills and positive attitude you gained through your education, rather than employment history.

Example:

A highly driven and meticulous individual, who has recently finished their A-Levels, achieving excellent grades in both English and Media Studies. Seeking a career in the creative industry to build upon a strong interest in branding and digital creativity. Ultimate career goal is to become a qualified and experienced digital designer, with the long-term aspiration of moving into team management.

 

Graduate personal statement example

Like a school leaver’s personal statement, but with extra attention for specific things you’ve studied during higher education. Try and explain why you’re applying and where you’d like your career to end up, as well as the explicit skills and knowledge you have to offer.

Try to drop in a few extra details about your degree (predicted grades are fine), as well as modules that have inspired you to look for a role in this industry.

Example:

A recent English literature graduate with a 2:1 honours degree from the University of Plymouth, looking to secure a Copywriting position to use and further develop my creative skills and knowledge of persuasive writing in a fast-paced environment. My career goal is to assume a role which allows me to take responsibility for the creation of informative and entertaining literature for a well-respected and market-leading leading publisher.

 

Unemployed/redundancy personal statement example

Dealing with redundancy is never easy, but if managed in the right way it doesn’t need to interfere when applying for new positions.

Put most of your focus on your employment history and provide more details for the reason for your break in your cover letter.

Remember, your personal statement is to sell yourself, so highlight your positives rather than apologising for a negative.

Example:

Driven Area Manager with over 8 years’ experience in the retail industry. Demonstrated track record of success, including managing the 2nd top performing area across the UK and the lowest staff turnover rate for all UK stores. Currently out of work due to business staff cuts but looking for the right opening to demonstrate my expertise to a well-established retail brand in an upper management position.

 

Career change personal statement example

If you’re making the decision to change industries completely, think about any transferable skills that apply to the sector you hope to move into. Any numbers or specific evidence you can give to demonstrate previous success can also be advantageous, so always try and back up your claims with real examples.

Example:

As a practised sales manager, my persistent and proactive methods have resulted in securing numerous high-profit contracts. My exceptional networking skills have provided my team with crucial client leads, and my ability to grow strong client relationships has resulted in a 22% growth in business renewals for my current organisation. After 6 years in sales, I am currently looking for a new challenge to utilise my attention to detail, and friendly, professional manner.

 

Creating a captivating personal statement will take time, particularly if it’s your first one. Use the above examples as a loose structure, and you can to add to them as your experience grows.

Don’t forget: you should always try to edit your personal statement for every role you apply for. This way, you can guarantee you’re selling yourself to their role rather than just sending the same generic statement for each application.