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How to write a personal statement for a job

A good personal statement can make you stand out - but it can be a challenge to write. This guide shows you how to write a personal statement, and includes personal statement examples.

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This guide provides all the tips you need to write a personal statement on your CV that makes you stand out from the crowd, with personal statement examples and a personal statement template.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement, also known as a personal profile, is your CV’s opening statement, a brief section summarising what you can offer an employer in relation to the job you’re applying for.

Recruiters and employers like personal statements as they can quickly see if you could be a match in skills, experience and attitude for the job.

“It needs to convince your audience that you’re a good fit for the role in hand,” says Lis McGuire, Founder of Giraffe CVs .

Senior HR Business Partner at  Amazon , Lucy Ventrice agrees: “It’s your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight what sets you apart from others.”

The personal statement shouldn’t be confused with a supporting statement, which is similar to a cover letter. Check out some supporting statement examples here .

Writing a personal statement can be challenging. You have to condense your experience and skills into a few sentences in your CV introduction. Getting your personal statement format right can be especially crucial to making it impactful.

The advice in this guide will help you produce a first class CV personal statement.

How long should a personal statement be?

Sharon Xenophontos,  Senior HR Manager  at Macfarlanes LLP recommends you “use proper sentences, and a short paragraph of two to three sentences should be sufficient”.

She sees it as “an opportunity to summarise your unique selling points and allow employers to quickly read ‘between the lines’ of your CV”.

Sally Whiteside, Head of HR for  Tesco  Online agrees “It should be short and sharp, representing your tone of voice to set you apart”.

Remember, the personal statement is a summary. You can expand on your successes elsewhere in your CV.

Personal statement structure

A personal statement should answer the question “why are you the best person for the job?” says Lucy Ventrice Senior HR Business Partner at Amazon.

“Start with a mind map,” she suggests. “Put yourself in the middle and write down your experience, skills and attributes. Do the same with the future employer in the middle, what are they looking for in the job advert? Then compare the two and build from there.”

Lis McGuire, a Professional CV Writer adds “while it may seem logical that your personal statement should be all about you, to be effective, it should be about your target employer and how you can meet their needs”.

Break this down into:

  • Number of years of experience in the field.
  • Specialist or transferable skills you can offer.
  • Areas of expertise you have.
  • Relevant industries have you worked in.
  • Personal qualities relevant to the role.
  • Any relevant qualifications or interests.

The answers to these questions will determine your personal statement structure.

How to start a personal statement

While introducing yourself in a career summary format, your CV’s opening statement needs to “hook your reader, compelling them to read the next sentence, and the next”, says Lis McGuire.

The opening sentence of your personal statement should include:

  • Your job title.
  • Number of years’ experience.
  • A particular expertise you have.
  • Active positive words or verbs.

Example personal statement opening sentence

Innovative Project Manager (Prince II Practitioner and Certified Scrum Master) with over 5 years’ experience managing complex IT projects for a FTSE 100 company operating across the UK, Europe, India and South Africa.

How to end a personal statement

There are two ways to end a personal summary for a CV. Sharon Xenophontos finds it helpful if candidates let employers know what they are looking for. “It’s all part of the matching process,” she says.

If you’re at a relatively early stage in your career, state your career goal. Remember, this must relate to the role you’re applying for.

Example personal statement ending – entry level

My career goal is to gain responsibility for leading on a project and managing delivery successfully, actively contributing to achieving the business goals.

If you’re a bit further along in your career, state more specific goals and why you’d like to work for the employer.

Example personal statement ending – career developer

Hoping to join an innovative and dynamic company, and develop my social media and marketing skills further.

What should I include in my personal statement?

Getting your personal profile on a CV right can make all the difference, so we’ve compiled a list of what to include – and what to avoid – on your CV’s personal statement.

Include in your personal statement

  • Very little! Be concise. 150 words maximum. “Lengthy blocks of text are a turn off when you have a huge stack of CVs to get through,” says McGuire.
  • Skills that are specific to the job. A good example would be “skilled in taking client briefs and presenting findings to stakeholders”. Avoid  generic statements such as “possess good communication skills”.
  • Skills that make you stand out from other applicants. Think about the unique value you can bring to the employer.
  • Evidence of how your skills, competencies and experiences match the requirements set out in the job description/advert. “Think of examples that help to bring what you’re saying to life,” adds Ventrice.
  • Language comparable to that used by the employer in the job description, their website, or their social media channels. Doing this will go a long way to showing that you’re a good fit for the organisation.
  • Your passions, as long as they’re relevant. For example, if you’re passionate about the environment and are applying for a job in a sustainability organisation it can help you stand out.
  • “Your immediate career objective,” says Xenophontos. It helps the employer understand why you’re applying.

Don’t include in your personal statement

  • Uninteresting and uninspiring phrases. “Using clichés that could describe anyone in any role at any level is a big turn off,” says McGuire.
  • Generic statements that you use for every job you apply for. Employers won’t be impressed if you don’t take the time to tailor your personal statement to their job.
  • Exaggerations, embellishments, or lies – these could be found at a later stage, such as during an interview.
  • “Lists of unsubstantiated adjectives and buzzwords,” says Xenophontos. She recommends you “concentrate on what genuinely differentiates you from other candidates”.
  • Negative language. Your personal statement needs to be a buoyant and positive introduction to you.
  • Personal information. There’s no requirement to let an employer know your marital status or how many dependants you have.
  • Disjointed statements. “You can’t rely on the fact that the reader will join the dots between what you can offer and the results you can deliver for them. Spell it out,” recommends McGuire.

Personal statement examples

Since every personal statement is about one particular individual’s suitability for working for one particular employer, every personal statement should, in theory, be unique.

We’ve shown you how to write a personal statement now, but we know getting started can be tough.

To help, we’ve curated some practical personal statement examples for you to base your personal statement on.

Half are for people in specific career stages or circumstances. Half are CV personal profile examples that are industry-specific. Use the links to jump to the one that suits you best.

Career stage or circumstance CV personal statement examples

Your current career stage or circumstance will have a major impact on both your employability, and how to present your employability in your CV.

We hope you can build upon the following personal statement templates to give your best representation of yourself in your next job application.

  • Unemployed personal statement

School leaver personal statement

Graduate personal statement, career change personal statement, industry-specific cv personal statement examples.

Your skills, competencies and goals will be shaped hugely by the industry you work in. Accordingly, so will your personal statement.

We hope you’ll be able to find inspiration from one or more of the following personal statement examples for jobs in specific industries as you write your own.

Nursing personal statement

Midwifery personal statement, teaching personal statement, teaching assistant personal statement, accounting personal statement, marketing personal statement, civil engineering personal statement, customer service personal statement, economics personal statement, unemployed personal statement sample.

It’s important to carefully manage your unemployed status in your job application. Our first piece of advice is to play down the fact you’re unemployed. Or, in other words, don’t write anything to highlight it.

Focus on the skills and experience you’re bringing to the role and the difference you can make. Employers may wonder how up to date you are. You can address this head on in your personal statement by highlighting volunteering, attending training courses or reading trade journals or blogs to stay aware of industry trends.

Don’t worry too much about the gap on your CV. These days, employers are more understanding. After all, there are countless reasons why people become unemployed, for example redundancy or caring for dependants.

Unemployed: Sample CV template and guide

Unemployed personal statement example

Successful Sales Manager with over eight years’ experience in the Telecoms industry. Proven track record of success, including leading the top performing team in the region, and developing a sales training programme for all new staff. Now looking for the right opportunity to bring my skills to a dynamic IT software company in a management position.

School leavers worry they don’t have anything to put in a personal statement.

Jon Gregory, Editor of  WinThatJob.com , who advises parents and teenagers to find work, has this advice: “Employers are usually not recruiting school leavers for knowledge or experience. They want to understand why you’re interested in a particular job. If you ‘care about the environment’ or perhaps ‘love working with animals’, it’s that relevant individuality that counts.”

Gregory adds: “Talk less about what you want and more about what you can give in the future. Show you are positive, proactive, determined and in it for the long haul.”

Think widely about how your hobbies or interests could be relevant. Gregory recommends that “if you have employability skills developed from other work, projects or interests, use them to demonstrate your potential.”

First job: Sample CV and guide

School leaver personal statement example

Motivated and enthusiastic student with a passion for design technology, especially woodwork. I am interested in completing a construction apprenticeship in joinery, as I have always enjoyed making things. I am good at maths and confident when taking measurements and I recently won a school award for my chair design.

When writing your first CV after graduating, Sue Moseley, Senior  Career Advisor  for London University, recommends that you “think of your personal statement as the headline to your CV”.

“A good headline grabs attention because it connects with something the reader cares about. So start with what the employer cares about and work from there.”

“Change your statement for each application even if it’s just a linguistic tweak to match the employer’s voice. If the job ad asks for ‘excellent customer experience’, using those terms in your statement will increase impact,” she adds.

The key to impact is evidence – so use examples and numbers based on things you’ve done.

Graduate: Sample CV template and guide

Graduate personal statement example

Customer experience: As a student ambassador I welcomed a group of 30 sixth formers and their families onto campus and received positive feedback about the clear and helpful way I handled questions.

Lis McGuire says you should “show how your transferable skills can be applied to your target career, and convey energy, enthusiasm, and commitment ”. She adds “don’t fall into the trap of over-explaining yourself and the reasons for your transition”.

If you’re changing careers to move into HR, for example, highlight the relevant parts of your previous career such as people management, recruitment or inductions, training, and exclude the other less relevant areas of your roles.

Career change: Sample CV template and guide

Career change personal statement example

Experienced manager with 5 years’ experience in recruiting, inducting and training staff. Recently delivered a change management and restructuring programme for two departments, sensitively managing redundancies and redeployments. Passionate about employee engagement and enabling staff to contribute fully to achieve business aims. Now looking for a challenging HR role in the retail sector.

Career break personal statement

“When your CV lands on a hiring manager’s desk, the first questions they’ll have are, ‘why did this person take a career break?’ and, ‘can they do this job?’” says Fay Wallis, founder of  Bright Sky Career Coaching . “Your personal statement is the best place to answer these questions and explain away any concerns.”

She warns not to make your career break the focus of your CV though. Instead, make your experience and relevance for the role leap off the page.

“Follow this with a brief reason for your career break. And end the personal statement with another reason that you are right for the role,” Wallis adds.

Returning to work: Sample CV template and guide

Career break personal statement example

An experienced Communications Officer, with proven media relations, copywriting and proofreading skills within the voluntary sector. Looking to return to a communications role, following a career break to travel the world to experience other cultures. Recently qualified in social media management with a strong interest in working for a sustainability organisation.

Julie Watkins, Careers Advisor at  The Royal College of Nursing  suggests that  “your personal statement should include the kind of sector you have worked in, any relevant clinical fields and what you’re passionate about”. She goes on to say “this could include empowering patients to take ownership of their health and wellbeing or an interest in health promotion”.

Watkins adds: “In the current fast paced environment of the NHS you must emphasise your resilience and flexibility.”

She also highlights “the need for a tailored personal statement, as it’s the one thing that will really make your CV stand out in the health sector.”

Nursing personal statement example

Caring and efficient Nurse committed to safeguarding the medical needs and wellbeing of my patients and their families. Particularly skilled at building rapport with anxious patients and focused on providing a high standard of care that lead to improved patient recovery. Experienced in a number of specialist and complex fields including geriatrics, cardiac and maxillofacial. Excellent observational and record keeping skills to ensure continuity of care and team support. Looking to now develop experience in other clinical areas within a high performing Trust.

Lynne Pacanowski, Director of Midwifery at  Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital  suggests “identifying what you have learnt from working in different areas such as antenatal, community, labour ward, or from services such as midwife led or tertiary units, and use this in your personal statement”.

Include skills that will interest the Trust, for example, advising expectant mothers on diet, exercise and medications during pregnancy.

Pacaonwski recommends you demonstrate that you understand the population of the area the Trust serves. “You can also highlight challenging situations you have been involved with, for example, difficult births, identifying when caesareans are needed, or supporting mothers with challenging home situations.”

Midwifery personal statement example

Professional, approachable and efficient Midwife committed to providing the best quality care and support for mothers and families throughout their pregnancies. Four years’ experience and a first honours midwifery degree from University of Liverpool. Extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of pregnancy including ante and postnatal nutrition, and supporting both low and high risk women in a hospital setting. Have experience in both medical and community midwifery, particularly with women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Recently trained in aromatherapy to support women mentally and physically during labour. Looking for a new position within a progressive Trust with a Birthing Centre.

Jo Postlethwaite, Head Teacher of  Somervale School , recommends that you get to know your target audience and says: “Read everything you can about the setting. Read their vision statement. What can you say about yourself that shows you support this ethos?”

Secondly she recommends that you “Talk like a member of staff – spend a bit of time looking at the sort of language the establishment uses. Do they talk about pupils, students or children? Do they talk about ambition or aspiration? Ensure you use their words back to them.”

Additionally, it’s important to describe your teaching philosophy and enthusiasm for your subject.

Teaching personal statement example

Passionate Science Teacher striving to make a real difference to young people’s lives through engaging lessons matched to individual learning needs. Excellent behavioural management skills gained through vast experience of working in diverse academic settings. Experienced in developing lessons for a wide range of students. Now looking for a teaching role that offers more responsibility and management experience within a challenging and proactive school.

Jo Postlethwaite feels that simple is best. “Don’t over complicate what you write. This is your opportunity to summarise your good points. So, be succinct, but don’t forget to highlight how you work closely with teachers and parents as well as pupils.”

Postlethwaite often has more than 50 applications to read through so she wants to see candidates “showing their unique selling points (USPs). But don’t be tempted to go for a wacky colour or design as this can be off-putting.”

Finally, Postlethwaite recommends you “check your spelling and grammar, not just for your personal statement but your whole application”. Errors in applications for teaching or support roles would end up on the ‘no’ pile.

Teaching assistant personal statement example

A highly motivated Teaching Assistant with four years experience and a caring and supportive attitude. Through my recent studies in Early Childhood, I am up to date with developments in Early Years Care and Education, and have recent experience in Reception and Y1 classes. I have supported children with special needs and helped with behaviour management in the playground. Happy to support teachers with developing learning materials and displaying work, and am also comfortable communicating with parents and carers. Now looking to broaden my experience with Y2 and 3 children.

Ex-Accountant turned Career Coach Diana Norris of  Career Balance  suggests that “you should think of your CV as the first report you will write for your new employer, and your personal statement as the executive summary. Your statement should show you can write succinctly and ensure your reader grasps the essentials of your argument.”

Norris goes on to add “anything you think an employer really needs to notice should be in your profile. If you’re fluent in another European language, and the organisation you’re applying to does business in the EU, don’t leave that information languishing at the bottom of the second page of your document.”

She also recommends that you avoid “CV blah blah blah language”, such as overused phrases like ‘good team player’.

Accounting personal statement example

Experienced and qualified Accountant with a sound understanding of financial controls and processes. A strong commercial awareness combined with the ability to analyse and produce high quality management reports to tight deadlines. Specific experience of developing cost saving practices, budget management and forecasting within the retail and utilities sectors. Now looking to broaden experience specifically in an IT firm.

Kate Kassis, Marketing Manager for  Harrods  has the following advice for would-be marketing executives: “Keep it concise and avoid unnecessary use of adjectives. Simple yet effective language skills are key to any marketing role.”

Kassis goes on to say: “Be honest. Don’t over-sell but, where possible, look to include a commercial angle. Creativity is key in Marketing but the ability to think strategically is even more important”.

When she’s recruiting, Kassis looks for something that tells her the applicant has the ability to ‘run with it’. This means working to deadlines, managing and presenting to stakeholders, delivering results and critically analysing.

Marketing personal statement example

Intuitive Marketing Executive skilled at increasing sales through diligent research and efficient resource allocation. Especially adept at managing complex projects while also developing key stakeholder relationships. Able to maximise profits whilst working within a tight marketing budget. Enjoy identifying client needs and delivering practical short and long term solutions. Now looking for a new role to develop my digital marketing skills.

“A good personal statement should focus on three key themes – your postgraduate experience, including details of chartership; the range of technical skills you have developed; and how you apply these to consultancy,” says Rob Delahunty, Associate Director at  Webb Yates Engineers .

“You’ll really stand out to an employer if you can show how these themes transfer to the workplace,” he says. “Highlight your ability to work within a design team with architects, contractors and other specialists; show how your specialist IT knowledge or skill for analysis was applied to project challenges; and demonstrate your experience in assessing the environmental or safety impact of a project.”

Delahunty recommends: “Include any licences, industry accreditation, security clearances and certification you have, as they establish you as a recognised professional in the industry.”

Civil engineering personal statement example

An ambitious and highly motivated Civil Engineer with strong practical and technical skills, consistently finishes commercial and residential projects under budget and on schedule. Sound knowledge of designing, testing and evaluating overall effectiveness, cost, reliability, and safety of a design. Advocates for environmentally-conscious design and cost-effective public infrastructure solutions. Currently seeking a challenging professional position within a cutting edge engineering practice.

“Convey your enthusiasm for the role as employers are looking for staff who will represent them and their brand in a positive way. Highlight if you won any awards or suggested a change that benefited customers in some way,” suggests Amanda Reuben, Experienced Fashion & Retail Brands Recruiter and Founder of  Bijou Recruitment .

Reuben wants to see a number of personal qualities displayed in a Customer Service personal statement. “You want your candidate to be friendly, warm and engaging whilst also remaining calm under pressure.” She also recommends that you show how you have managed customer expectations or dealt with difficult situations.

Think what you associate with the brand or company – are they fast paced and focused on efficient service, or do they like you to take time with customers. Show you understand and can support their approach.

Customer service personal statement example

A well-presented, patient and friendly Customer Service Advisor with a proven track record of building relationships by providing information on additional products and services and helping customers find the right ones to meet their needs. A genuine ‘can-do’ attitude demonstrated through a number of staff awards, and an excellent telephone manner combines to contribute to the growth of any business. Trained in effectively resolving customer complaints and now looking for a suitable position to take on more responsibility and expand retail experience.

For your personal statement to stand out, Dr Chris Sherrington, Head of Environmental Policy and Economics for independent consultancy  Eunomia , recommends you “show creativity in the way you’ve approached problems”.

He says this is important as outcomes can’t always be easily quantified. “Also show how you’ve offered relevant advice based on sound economic principles, and where you’ve successfully made the best use of the data that’s available,” he adds. This could be in a report you’ve produced or some analysis you’ve delivered.

Economics personal statement example

Proactive Economist with 5 years’ experience in both public and private sector, and specific expertise in healthcare trends. Extremely skilled in market trend analysis, financial modelling and business planning, having delivered a comprehensive management report on a proposed outsourcing opportunity. Enjoy developing productive industry and internal relationships to increase understanding of business needs and economic impact. Now looking for a role to further develop my strategic planning skills within the environmental sector.

Personal statement do’s and don’ts

  • Do sell yourself and highlight what sets you apart from other candidates.
  • Do make it relevant. Tailor it to the job you are applying for.
  • Do be succinct. Max 150 words or 2-3 sentences.
  • Do use a career summary format showing what you have to offer.
  • Do make it engaging. It needs to be interesting to read.
  • Do be specific. Avoid generic phrases that everyone uses.
  • Do show some passion, as long as it’s relevant.
  • Do make it about the employer. Show how you can do their job.
  • Do include number of years experience, specialist skills and expertise, relevant industries and personal qualities.
  • Do have a strong opening sentence to ‘hook’ the employer to read on.
  • Do end your statement by letting the employer know what you are looking for.
  • Do show you’re a good fit. Pay attention to the language used by the employer.
  • Don’t make spelling or grammar errors.
  • Don’t be negative about yourself or a previous employer.
  • Don’t exaggerate or embellish what you can do. Be honest.

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how to start a personal statement for a job

The ultimate step-by-step guide on how to write a perfect CV, from formatting to tailoring it to the specific job you’re applying for – and of course good CV examples.

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how to start a personal statement for a job

How to write a good personal statement when applying for jobs

How to write a good personal statement when applying for jobs

What is a personal statement? A personal statement is a concise summary or paragraph that tells the reader exactly what you can bring to the job. It is a critical part of any job application; it is your opportunity to show the employer what makes you unique and why you are the best candidate.

Personal statements for CVs are like the cream atop a cake, as the cake is dry without the icing. Are you tired of the same old statement you have been using? Is it not getting you anywhere? This article will discuss how to write a good personal statement that will make you stand out from the competition.

We will provide tips and advice on what to include in your statement and examples of personal statements that have helped candidates land their dream jobs.

Remember, the first impression carries a lot of weight, and a personal statement is the carrier of that impression. Coming up with a unique way of describing your talents and skills can go a long way when getting a job. That is because it keeps the reader engaged and gives him relevant information about you.

With that said, let's begin!

Tips to write a good personal statement for CVs 

Here are a few qualities of a good personal statement. We suggest you read them thoroughly; you may learn a lot from them.

Keep it short and concise

The personal statement should be no longer than a paragraph or two. It summarises who you are and what you can offer the company. Therefore, it should be concise and to the point. Ensuring it is accurate shows the employer that you know what they are looking for. It also shows your summarisation skills as you can present what is crucially required in a few sentences.

Highlight your strengths

Your statement should highlight the strengths and qualities that make you the best candidate. That will give the employer an idea of what you can bring to the table and how you can contribute to the company's success. That helps you win over your potential employer and allows you to leave a solid, positive impression that can help you get the job.

As we mentioned before, first impressions are everything. You want to make sure that your statement is different from everyone else's so that you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Be creative and try to find a way to make it memorable. That will ensure that the employer remembers you when making their final decision. After all, a great personal statement for resumes is what allows you to stand out from the rest.

Evidence off your skills

When writing your statement, it is important to include evidence of your skills and qualities. That will show the employer that you are not just making empty claims but have actual proof to back up what you are saying. For example, if you are claiming to be a great team player, mention an instance where you had to work with a team and the project's successful outcome. That will add weight to your claims and make them more believable.

Use action words

When describing your skills and experiences, use action words such as "achieved," "created," "improved," etc. That will make your statements more powerful and give the employer a better idea of your capabilities. Furthermore, using such language makes you sound more confident in your abilities, which is always good.

Use simple language

It is important to use simple language that everyone can understand because the employer may not be familiar with technical jargon, and using such terms might make you sound like you are trying to show off. Therefore, it is best to use layperson's terms so that your statement can be easily understood.

Here are a few examples of good personal statements

Now that we have gone over what makes a good personal statement let's look at some examples of statements that have helped candidates land their dream jobs.

"I am a recent graduate of XYZ University, and I am looking for an opportunity to use my skills and knowledge in a real-world setting. I believe that my background in XXX makes me the perfect candidate for this job."

"I am an experienced XXX with more than X years of experience in the YYY industry. I am looking for a new challenge, and I believe that this job is perfect for me. I am confident that I have the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this position."

"I am a motivated individual with a strong work ethic. I have X years of experience in the XXX industry, and I am looking for an opportunity to use my skills in a new setting. I believe that I would be a great asset to your team, and I am eager to learn new things."

Here are a few things to avoid when writing a personal statement for a CV

Please don't make it too long.

Your statement should be concise and to the point; this is not the time to write your life story or list every one of your experiences and skills. Keep it short, sweet, and interesting so that the employer will want to read more.

Don't use clichés

Using clichés such as "I'm a people person" or "I'm a go-getter" will not impress the employer. It might even turn them off. Be original and try to stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Don't lie

It is very important to be honest in your statement. Lying about your skills or experience will only come back to bite you later on. Be truthful and transparent so that the employer can get an accurate idea of who you are.

As you can see, there are many approaches to writing a personal statement. However, as long as you keep the tips we have mentioned in mind, you should be able to write a good personal statement that will help you land your dream job.

After all, that is how the best personal statements for CVs are made! If you made it to the end of this blog, we believe you are more than ready to start writing the personal statement of your dreams!

For more information, please visit the FAQs section below.

Frequently Asked Questions about personal statements 

How long should my personal statement be.

Your statement should be around 50-100 words. Any longer than that, you run the risk of boring the employer or including too much information.

What should I include in my personal statement?

You should include your skills, experience, and motivation for applying for the job in your statement. Try to stand out from the rest of the applicants and be original.

What should I not include in my personal statement?

You should avoid using clichés, lying, or including too much information. Stick to the important points and be concise.

Can I use slang words in my personal statement?

It is best to avoid using slang words in your statement because the employer may not be familiar with them and might make you sound unprofessional.

Photo by  Marten Bjork  on  Unsplash

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Writing a personal statement for your CV

CV personal statements are like the sales pitch of your CV, but not everyone thinks they're useful. Discover if they're really necessary, how to write a CV personal profile and templates for inspiration

What is a CV personal statement?

A CV personal statement is a concise paragraph or summary, which details what you can bring to a job or company. It's also known as an opening statement, personal profile, personal summary or executive summary.

Sitting at the top of your CV, it's your opportunity to sell yourself to employers and to highlight the relevant skills and experience you possess.

While effectively and succinctly convincing recruiters that you're a good fit for the role, a personal statement gives you the chance to show off your strengths and share your career goals.

'The focus of your CV statement should be to target your offer to employers - why should they hire you and how are you different to other graduates? Therefore, making your personal statement as unique as possible is crucial to ensure you stand out from the crowd,' explains Alex Proctor, careers consultant at the University of Bradford.

Do I need a personal summary on my CV?

Traditionally, almost all CV types include a personal statement but there is some debate about whether you actually need to include one.

Some recruiters and careers advisers believe that personal profiles are one of the most important parts of a CV, as they provide an easily accessible overview of a candidate's ability, while others feel that personal statements are a waste of valuable space and time.

The latter belief is often the case with graduate CVs, as some employers feel that those just stepping onto the career ladder don't necessarily have enough knowledge or experience to warrant a personal statement. Because of this, a graduate's personal profile runs the risk of being bland and generic and stating things that should be a given, such as, 'I'm hardworking and organised,' which is why some recruiters believe that they are best suited to more senior CVs.

So while your CV doesn't need a personal statement, employers spend only seconds looking at application documents. With this in mind, a CV personal statement gives you an invaluable opportunity to make your application stand out as quickly as possible.

Alex believes 'that a CV personal statement is a good idea, because employers often have so many CVs to read through and the personal statement, if clear and concise, can elevate your chances of getting through to the next stage of the recruitment process.'

If you'd like to include a personal statement on your CV it might be best, as a graduate, to focus on your educational background and the career path you'd like to embrace. If you have relevant experiences use these to make your personal statement unique. 'If you haven’t got much work experience, focus on what experience you can extract from your degree,' advises Alex. 'If you have taken part in various projects demonstrate what your role was. Alternatively, if you have written a dissertation, showcase your topic and what skills you have developed from this experience. Employers will value your individuality even if you haven't had masses of practical work experience.'

If you're struggling to give it context and get it right, make an appointment with your university's careers or employability service and ask an adviser to help you hone your writing. 

What should I include in my CV personal profile?

In terms of length, a CV personal profile should be no longer than 150 words. 'It should be short, impactful and aligned effectively with the CV content,' explains David Ainscough, careers consultant team lead and deputy director at the University of Cambridge.

'A personal CV profile should include details of your educational background, evidence of work experience, as well as your career aspirations. You ideally need to ensure you are telling the reader what you can offer skill-wise and don't be afraid to also share any accomplishments,' adds Alex.  

If you're struggling with what to write, break your personal statement down into three parts. Focus on:

  • who you are
  • what you can offer
  • your career aims.

Start by introducing yourself. For example, 'A recent graduate with a 2:1 in English literature from the Hillview University' or a 'Highly-skilled physiotherapist with five years’ experience…'

Next, detail what you can offer the company. Ask yourself why you're suited to the role and cover any relevant skills or experience. If you lack practical work experience instead draw attention to your academic achievements, such as contributing to university publications, which developed written communication, attention to detail and teamworking skills. Or how you applied skills learned on your physical therapy degree during your time as a physio assistant for university sport teams.

Conclude your personal statement by highlighting your career goals. For example, 'I am looking to start my career in the exciting world of publishing and to develop the skills learned through my university studies and internships.'

It's up to you how you present this information; there is no hard and fast rule. However, personal statements are generally displayed as a single paragraph, without a title or subheading. You'll need to keep it consistent with the rest of your CV formatting, meaning that the font size and type will need to be the same throughout your document.

Also, consider the voice and tense you'd like to use. Personal statements can be written in either the first or third person, but you'll need to maintain this voice throughout - don't switch between the two.

Take a look at  how to write a CV .

How can I make it stand out to employers?

  • 'Remember that first impressions count so make sure you're giving the recruiter a comfortable reading experience. Layout and clarity are crucial,' says David.
  • Tailor your CV personal statement (and CV in general) to each application.
  • Be honest. Untruths are easy to uncover and lying on your CV is a criminal offence.
  • Provide evidence of skills and experience but remember to keep it brief. For example, 'experienced event manager, who led a team to organise a charity ball for 150 people, raising £5,000 - a 20% increase on previous years.'
  • Use the job description to help form your CV personal profile.
  • Stick to the word limit.
  • Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. The personal summary sits at the top of your CV so any errors will be immediately apparent.
  • 'Keep it fresh. It needs to be reviewed in each application you make so consider something new to say each time,' adds David.
  • Read it aloud once you've finished writing to make sure it flows.
  • Copy and paste from your  cover letter or from online CV personal statement examples. Your personal summary needs to be unique and personal to you.
  • Include unnecessary personal information such as your age, marital status etc.
  • Use clichés, slang or jargon.
  • Use bland, empty statements like 'I work well independently and as part of a team'. This tells employers absolutely nothing about what you’re capable of.
  • Overuse buzzwords.
  • Include quotes from previous employers.
  • Ramble. Recruiters don't have time to read through waffle, so get to the point.

Think about the connotations of the words you use - 'currently studying' implies things might change, 'trying' implies failure, 'might' or 'maybe' sounds like you're not sure. The words you use have power so choose them carefully. You want to sound confident, positive and enthusiastic.

Find out more about the  top 7 CV mistakes .

CV personal statement examples

To help you get started take a look at the following CV personal profile examples.

As a recent graduate from the University of Townville, with a 2:1 honours degree in marketing, I have undertaken internships at industry-leading agencies such as Beyond Imagination and Noah Freemans. These placements have allowed me to develop sector knowledge and gain hands on experience, as well as expand transferable skills such as commercial awareness, communication and negotiation and analytical skills. My career aim is to gain a role which allows me to further my expertise and take on increased responsibility at a market-leading digital marketing agency.

I am a highly motivated 2:1 forensic science graduate from Groveshire University, looking to secure a graduate position that enables me to use and develop my analytical, attention to detail and communication skills. I have gained relevant experience in both scientific and hospital laboratories, which allowed me to build on my problem solving, concentration and team working skills. My career goal is to assume a role that enables me to analyse and interpret forensic data and to eventually move into crime scene investigation.

Remember; avoid copying and pasting ready-made examples. Instead use them as a guide to craft your own, tailored CV personal statement. Take a look at our  example CVs .

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How to write a personal statement

01 Dec 2022

personal statement

On Timewise Jobs , once you have uploaded your CV, you also enter your personal statement as part of your profile form. It's what we look at first, when we are searching our database for interesting CVs on behalf of employers.

Our 10-step guide to writing your personal statement:

1.  Keep it short and to the point. Your personal statement should just be a few lines or bullets, and range from 50 to 100 words. There's no room for waffling.

2.  The first sentence is the most important part of all. Some employers won’t even go beyond this, if it doesn't show what they’re looking for. So use the first few words to state your credentials in a positive way, such as ‘Experienced web designer with...’ or ‘CIPD qualified HR Manager, experienced in...’

3.  Next, describe your key skills and experience. Wherever you can, use skills keywords that are mentioned in the job ad you're applying for. It’s also good to use figures to add credibility, such as ‘Successfully managed budgets of over £1million’ or ‘…with over 12 years’ experience at blue chip PR agencies’.

4.  When describing your key skills, use one or two adjectives to convey who you are as a person, so employers can get a sense of your personality and your strengths. Use words such as ‘creative’, ‘motivated’, ‘energetic’ or ‘rigorous’. Make sure the adjectives are relevant to the job - and are true, of course.

5.  Give employers an idea of your ideal next step, if it's relevant to the vacancy. For example, 'Now looking to develop my career in accountancy as an internal auditor'.

6. Read it and re-read it, editing ruthlessly. It's fine to clip out words rather than write in complete sentences. For example 'I have experience of editing content for a website that won several awards' can be shortened to: 'Website content editor for an award-winning site.'

7. Avoid cliches, and the overuse of 'I'. And avoid vague descriptions of your strengths; always tie them in to a specific achievement or area of expertise.

8.  Read your statement out loud to check it flows naturally.

9. Get a second opinion from a few trusted friends or colleagues.

10.  Finally, remember to check it over every time you submit your CV for a new vacancy. You should always tailor your personal statement to highlight the areas of your skillset that most closely match the job advert.


A highly driven merchandiser with over 8 years’ experience at leading fashion chain retailers. Helped deliver increased team sales in excess of 10% per year over the last 3 years, despite challenging market. Particular expertise in new product development, contributing to packaging design of 3 new lines in current role. Valuable experience in developing e-commerce business alongside high street retail.


A professional charity fundraiser with senior level experience spanning direct marketing and capital fundraising campaigns. Have spent two years initiating and launching a campaign for a top 50 charity that raised £6 million within 9 months. Adept at using social media, TV,  telemarketing  and face to face fundraising methods. Now seeking to use my skills in a part-time role at a smaller charity, to have more hands-on input.


I am hard working, a good communicator and well-organised. I am a Project Manager, able to work well in a team and individually. My experience working under pressure means I can meet deadlines every time. Also, I am a good problem-solver, have a creative mind and think laterally.    

Click here for  more advice on CV, cover letter and interview techniques.

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how to start a personal statement for a job

Your personal statement

The purpose of a personal statement is to showcase your relevant skills and experience against the job requirements.  The statement is your opportunity to give examples of how you fit the requirements of the job.  When writing a personal statement it is important that you:

how to start a personal statement for a job

  • Read the job specification so you are clear about the job requirements.
  • Outline the skills and experience that you have that are relevant to the job and use examples to help demonstrate this.   Wherever possible include specific facts and figures that demonstrate the tangible results of your work.
  • Keep to the word limit. If your statement is too brief it will not provide the required depth of detail and evidence to be assessed fully. 
  • Proofread your statement before submitting it to make sure it is clear, easy to read and relevant.

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  • Last updated October 4, 2022

How to Write a Personal Statement for a Job (with Examples)

Take this one personally

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If you need to write a personal statement, here's your guide. We'll cover: 

  • What a personal statement is

The 3 essential parts of a personal statement

  • Tips for writing a personal statement
  • Examples of a personal statement

What is a personal statement? 

A personal statement is a brief description of why you’re qualified for and interested in the job you’re applying for. Your personal statement should tell employers why your training, education, experience, and career goals make you the best fit for the job.

You may include a personal statement at the top of your resume (similar to an objective statement or resume summary ) or the employer may request that you attach a personal statement to your application (though this is not the same thing as a cover letter , which is longer and more detailed).

When writing your personal statement, start by telling the employer who you are as a professional. Maybe you’re a marketing consultant with five years of paid media experience, or maybe you’re a teacher with in-depth knowledge of diverse learning styles and the Montessori method.

2. The what

What skills, abilities, or qualities do you have that would be useful in the position? 

Do you have a relevant degree or hold an industry certification ? Do you have soft skills —like public speaking, mentorship, or adaptability —that are particularly relevant to the role?

Use this section to share why you want the job you’re applying for or why you’re passionate about the industry or the population you will serve in the role. For example, if you’re applying for a social media manager job, you could mention that you enjoy running a platform that helps people stay connected and that you like coming up with new ways to engage online followers.

The why is particularly important for those pursuing a career change or career shift. 

Read ore: How to List Work History on Your Resume

Tips for writing your personal statement

Do use a professional tone. 

Don’t include personal information, like your marital status, ethnicity, or age.  

Do include relevant skills, such as project management or data analysis, or qualities, like collaborative or flexible. 

Don’t use the personal pronoun I if the personal statement appears on your resume. If it is a separate part of your application, you can use the first person I.

Do adhere to word count requirements if the employer stipulates them. Otherwise, keep it brief—roughly three to five sentences (or fifty to sixty words).

Example #1 - Personal statement that does not appear on resume

I’m an experienced copywriter with 10+ years of experience writing quality digital content and adept at conveying the unique tone of a brand across channels. In my previous role, I increased clients’ social media followers from 15K to 30K in less than three months. I’m excited about using my writing, editing, and content management skills to fulfill the senior marketing copywriter position with XYZ Marketing. 

Example #2 - Personal statement that appears on resume

Web developer with wide-ranging knowledge of programming languages, including Java, HTML, Python, and SQL. Proficient in creating, maintaining, and improving user-friendly websites for B2B companies. Able to translate technical language and concepts to non-technical user groups. Eager to bring experience in UX/UI design, testing, and search engine optimization to a forward-thinking startup. 

Example #3 - Personal statement for a career change, does not appear on resume

I’m a tenacious customer service professional who can balance competing tasks while maintaining service quality. I’m empathetic, focused, and detail-oriented, and I’m skilled at training customers on products and services and increasing client adoption. I am seeking a role in product management where I can use my experience in customer service, product use cases, training, and client retention to build tools that drive business. 

Example #4 - Personal statement for a career change, appears on resume

Certified electrician with more than seven years in the field and five years as a manager seeking a role in maintenance project management. Experienced in contract work as well as staff positions with private companies and government agencies. Strong attention to detail that is useful when completing wiring installations, reviewing contracts, and performing quality checks. Prepared to bring a team-oriented approach to your organization.

Read more:  How to Ace a Panel Interview

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