Make Your CV’s Personal Statement Convince Recruiters to Read On
Your personal statement is the first impression a CV will make on an employer. With recruiters spending just 6 seconds scanning an entire CV, it’s clear that the opening paragraph has to be as strong as possible.
What should you include in a CV?
Each CV you create, including the personal statement, should be customised to suit the position you’re applying for. As a starting point, every CV should include:
- Up-to-date contact details.
- A personal statement.
- Employment history, listed in reverse chronological order.
How would you describe yourself in a CV?
Describe yourself in your CV so that you demonstrate your suitability fore the role. Focus on:
- Using positive language throughout.
- Highlighting relevant achievements using concrete facts, figures, and examples.
- Focusing on what you can do, and not calling attention to the things you can’t.
Our CV builder provides successful example content to help you create a statement that stands out for all the right reasons.
How to Write a Personal Statement: 10 Top Tips
Every job has hundreds of applicants - it’s a competitive market! Stand out from the crowd with a strong personal statement and impress recruiters from the start. Here are our 10 top tips for getting it done:
Sit down and ask yourself what you could bring to the role. Write down anything that comes into your head, no matter how irrelevant it might seem. Even an idea that you initially discard could lead to other ideas that will help to build an effective personal statement.
Look at examples
Take a look at the personal statement examples in our CV builder. Created by professionals, these will give you a clear idea of the kind of structure to use, and the level of detail that employers will be looking for.
Consider using a CV builder
Designed by experts to make the process of writing a personal statement fast and simple, our CV builder gives you a real competitive advantage. As well as CV templates, you get tips, advice, and even examples of text that you can use to build a strong personal statement.
Keep it short
Your statement has to capture a recruiter’s attention during the vital first 6 seconds. If you can’t get your personal statement down to 50-100 words, then look again at the structure and the information you’re including.
The keywords mentioned in the job description will be vital if your CV is to get past an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). This is automated filtering software that many companies now use to scan CVs. Recruiters will also be looking for these keywords, so ensure they are evident in your personal statement.
Your CV personal statement should create a completely positive first impression, and language plays a huge role in this. Opt for positive, upbeat words like innovative, reliable, and proactive. Highlight your achievements and abilities. This is your chance to make the recruiter want to explore the rest of your CV, so focus solely on the positive.
Review, review, review
Create a word cloud of the most vital keywords from the job ad. Then check your personal statement, ticking those words off one by one as they appear. If you’ve missed what might be a vital keyword or a necessary requirement, rework your statement to include it.
Using a cover letter and CV builder is one way of making sure that your personal statement matches the rest of your job application. If your personal statement mentions sales skills, for example, but your cover letter and CV don’t offer any specific examples, the recruiter will conclude that one of them is mistaken.
Check your CV
A single spelling mistake could make a recruiter reject your CV. Check and re-check the spelling and grammar multiple times, and don’t rely on spellchecking software, as mistakes can sometimes sneak through. Reading it aloud is another effective way of checking that the grammar you’ve used ‘feels’ correct.
Don’t get too personal
You don’t have to include personal details such as your age, marital status, and the number of children you have. The recruiter won’t care, and it’s actually illegal for UK employers to discriminate on these grounds. You’ve only got enough space to highlight relevant information - don't waste space on unnecessary details.
20 of the UK’s Most Popular CV Personal Statement Examples
Your personal statement is like the opening scene of a film or a starter at a restaurant. It has to be impactful enough so that the reader wants to see more. Review some of our successful UK personal statement examples to get a feel for what you might write:
Law personal statement
An effective law personal statement is a strong opener for your job application. It outlines your qualifications for the post, your work experience, and the personal skills you can bring to the role. It should also use the kind of language a recruiter would expect from a legal professional.
Although graphic design is all about visuals, your graphic design personal statement is all about the words you use. It highlights the most impressive graphic design project you’ve delivered and explains your strong background. It should also capture your creative passion for the field of graphic design.
A nursing personal statement should point out that you have the qualifications and experience the role is looking for. It also has to use language and examples that highlight your commitment to caring for other people, and your understanding of the empathy that good nursing requires.
A university personal statement should focus on ambition and potential. Specific qualifications will be listed elsewhere on your CV, but this is your chance to convince the reader that you are the kind of person who could benefit the most from the opportunity being offered.
Since engineering is about precision and delivery, your personal statement should reflect this. Use professional language and highlight the kind of projects you’ve worked on to date, as well as the ambitions you have for your engineering career in the future.
The world of accounting and personal finance is a place where the smallest mistake could cost millions, so make sure your personal statement is flawless. It should set out your professional standing, key achievements, and understanding of the role in language that is clear and precise.
Mechanical engineering personal statement
Writing a mechanical engineering personal statement is like building a smooth-running machine. The parts of that machine are the facts you include, such as what you’ve achieved to date and how you’d like to move on in the future. The oil that makes it run is the positive language you use. Avoid a breakdown by not mentioning anything negative.
Good personal statement
A good personal statement supports a successful application. It should reflect your professional attitude, understanding of the industry, and positive approach to the role. It should also include enough highlights in terms of work experience, skills, and achievements to make the recruiter explore further.
A business management personal statement needs to include the keywords you’ll find when you look through the job description. These are what the recruiter will be looking for at first glance. In addition, it should highlight your personal strengths by mentioning the strongest business management achievement you can name.
Social work requires applicants to display the necessary training and qualifications, and the right attitude. As our personal statement examples demonstrate, you'll include these, a reference to your work experience, your understanding of the demands of the sector, and the positive impact you want to make.
A business personal statement will highlight your key business achievements with relevant statistics. Don’t say ‘ran a profitable business’ when you could say ‘ran a business with a profit of £250,000 in the first quarter of 2018’. It will also speak positively about your goals and plans for the future.
Architecture personal statement
As with any building, an architecture personal statement requires great planning. Summarise your professional status in as few words as possible, and reference the architectural project that you feel is most relevant to the position in question. Employers should be able to see that you’re a qualified professional with a strong job application.
Politics personal statement
A politics personal statement needs to be written in a manner that shows you believe in making a difference. It should demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly and argue a case, and needs to convince the recruiter that you understand, and have passion for, the world of politics.
Chemical engineering personal statement
Successfully applying for a role in chemical engineering requires a personal statement that demonstrates you have the qualifications and the professional approach required in this highly specific industry. It should use the kind of technical keywords mentioned in the job description, at the same time as capturing your passion for the field.
Occupational therapy personal statement
Working in occupational therapy means having the qualifications to understand the therapy required, and the empathy needed to deliver it to people in an effective manner. Your personal statement needs to capture both of these, using language that emphasises your understanding of the important role that occupational therapy can play in a patient’s journey.
A teaching position needs a personal statement that's free from spelling and grammatical mistakes. As well as showcasing your professionalism and qualifications, your statement should contribute to a strong, coherent job application by expressing your passion for teaching and commitment to achieving positive outcomes.
Our civil engineering personal statement example shows that you need to include a broad account of the position you’ve attained in the field, and the skills you’ll be able to bring to the post.Written in professional language, it uses keywords that recruiters and an ATS are looking for.
Marketing is all about results, and a great marketing personal statement shows that you understand this. Choose one particularly good result to mention, and highlight it with supporting facts and figures. Use keywords taken from the job ad and positive language to highlight your ambitions for the future.
A successful customer service personal statement demonstrates that you understand what working with the public requires. Mention your career goals, work experience, and the positive attitude you bring to interacting with customers. Use language that captures your passion and makes you attractive to potential employers.
What Makes a Good Personal Statement
The personal statement you use should be tailored for each individual application. But every good CV personal statement needs to include the following:
The right skills
Look carefully through the job ad and any other specification or description you’ve been given. Note which skills are being asked for and compare this with a general list of personal skills you’ve brainstormed. Only include skills that are directly relevant to this particular role. If there are five or six, choose just one or two at most.
The right voice
Whether you write in the first or third person depends on the tone you want to use. For the more caring or creative professions, the first person gives a more personal touch. Positions that rely on hard skills, like engineering or accounting, may suit the third person. There’s no right or wrong answer. Just make sure you're consistent throughout your entire CV.
Fewer words, not more
Limit yourself to 50-100 words. Your statement isn't the place for a long description of your work experience or a comprehensive list of skills - they'll find these in the body of your CV.
The right tone
Sound professional in your personal statement, but also sound like yourself. Adopt a tone that captures your personality and enthusiasm for the job you’re applying for. Stilted or overly formal language makes your statement sound inauthentic.
Keywords are important - but use them sparingly. Packing 12 into a 100-word personal statement may well fool the ATS, but it will look clumsy and forced to a human recruiter, putting them off reading the rest of your CV.
How to Structure Your CV’s Personal Statement
A strong structure ensures your statement looks professional, and will also make it easier to decide where to place particular pieces of information. A personal statement can be broken down into three main parts:
1. Who you are
- Keep it simple. You are a Chartered Accountant with 17 years’ experience, for example, or a fully qualified Occupational Therapist.
- Make sure your description overlaps with the job specification.
- Include irrelevant details such as the fact that you’ve completed three marathons. It may be impressive in its own right, but if it doesn’t impact on the job in question, don’t mention it.
2. What you have to offer the employer
- Tell the truth. It may be tempting to exaggerate your skills or even make up experience. Even if it does work (and it probably won’t) it could lead to you doing a job you’re not actually qualified to do, which is a recipe for disaster.
- Keep it brief. Summarise your areas of expertise, qualifications, and experience in 100 words or less. Have too many? Select the most impressive and/or relevant. If you get your personal statement right, the recruiter will read your full employment history further down your CV.
- Use irrelevant clichés like ‘works well as part of a team’. Recruiters assume this is a given, and when you’ve only got 50-100 words, you can’t afford to waste any of them.
- Write a list of sentences starting with ‘I’. Even if you’re writing in the first person, this will stop your personal statement being the dynamic, interesting couple of sentences it needs to be.
3. Key skills
- Tailor your skills to fit each application. Every job, even in a single industry, has slightly different demands. Your personal statement needs to reflect this to show you’re taking a professional and thorough approach.
- Focus on the wrong kind of skills. Empathy and good communication might be fantastic skills for certain positions, but if you’re applying for a job as an accountant, your mathematical ability might count for more. Decide if the job needs soft or hard skills, and get the emphasis right.
Your CV’s Personal Statement Could Make a Difference
Your personal statement is the first thing a recruiter reads when they look at your CV. Take a look at our professionally produced personal statement examples and you’ll see a short, high-impact paragraph that summarises the applicant’s strongest points in a highly persuasive manner.
With our advice and the power of our CV builder, it’s fast and simple to create a successful personal statement.