The digital jobs market is highly competitive, so candidates must do everything they can to stand out. A CV is your first introduction to a potential hiring manager, who can immediately impact your future career upon reading it. Therefore, it should be relevant to the job you’re applying for and give employers a reason to invite you to an interview. Squeezing so much information into two sides of A4 leaves little room for your personality to shine through: This is where a killer personal statement can help.
There are many ways to tweak your CV to make it more appealing to a hiring manager. Once you nail the basics, the final thing that will polish your CV is your personal statement. Often called a summary, objective or introduction, this brief opening paragraph concisely explains why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
Why Write a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is not the same as a cover letter, and there are several reasons you should write both.
Some hiring managers love receiving cover letters and reward applicants with extra points for writing them. Other companies receive so many applications that they don’t have time to read cover letters. Therefore, they use applicant tracking systems to screen cover letters out and just focus on the CV.
How to Write a Personal Statement
So, how do you write a personal statement for your CV? Here are some tips to ensure you get noticed by potential employers:
Keep it brief
Many job seekers confuse CV personal statements with the university application format. On a university application, your personal statement is long and detailed. However, writing a personal statement for a CV should be concise. The key is in the name: personal statement.
That’s about four or five sentences and should take less than a minute to read. The details a hiring manager needs will be in the rest of your CV. Your personal statement should grab readers’ attention and make them want to continue.
Answer three simple questions
The purpose of personal statements is to give prospective employers essential information about you. Effectively, you need to answer these three questions:
- Who are you?
- Why should an employer select you over any other candidates?
- What are your long-term career goals?
Start writing your statement by answering these questions. Introduce yourself, state your qualifications and work experience, and then talk about what you will bring to the company. Finish by speaking about your career objectives and what you want to achieve.
Focus on the job description
Candidates often tell us they know it’s good practice to tailor a CV to every job they apply for, but they don’t have time. They don’t often realise there is no need to write a new CV for each job they apply for. All they need to do is reword the personal statement to fit the job description.
Look at the three questions above and answer them with the specific job in mind. Write about who you are and why you’re applying for this job. Highlight your skills and experience that make you a great candidate. Is there a specific example you can give of a time you excelled?
Even write about your future with this job in mind – talk about how you want to grow with the company and help them achieve big things in the future.
Explaining why you want the job and what makes you think you would be good at it enables the employer to picture you on their team. They don’t just learn about you; they understand why they should hire you for this job. In a few sentences, this will differentiate you from other candidates.
Highlight your best features
Ultimately, your personal statement aims to highlight the best features that you believe will make you a good candidate. Naturally, these features will differ depending on where you are in your career.
If you’re just starting your first digital role, you may want to focus on your skills and education. Highlight your degree and other qualifications/certifications, demonstrating that you have more than enough knowledge for the role. Writing about skills you have gained from extracurricular activities may also be beneficial.
If you have work experience, highlighting this is crucial. Make any skills you have acquired through work experience the key focus of this statement. It showcases that you have been there and done it, which employers love to see.
A Few Final Thoughts on Writing a Killer Personal Statement
Writing a personal statement for your CV is tricky because it needs to capture the reader’s attention and be brief. Applicants often get caught up in selling themselves and write something way too long.
Stick to between 150-200 words, and keep it concise. This opening paragraph is one of the first things a potential employer will read, so consider it an introduction to the rest of your CV. If you can reel them in, and keep them interested, they’re more likely to pay closer attention to everything else in your CV.
We hope that after reading this article you have a better understanding of what makes an attention-grabbing personal statement. However, if you’re lacking confidence when it comes to writing one, it can help to ask a reputable recruitment consultant for advice.