Your CV is the first representation of you to a hiring manager/recruiter. Even as technology has advanced and platforms like LinkedIn have boomed in popularity, your CV is still incredibly important. A good CV will clearly show your skills and put your best foot forward.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement, also called a CV bio, sits at the beginning of your CV. It is a short 4-5 line paragraph about you, your expertise/strengths and skill set.
It can be a crucial statement and deciding factor whether a hiring manager/recruiter is engaged and interested to continue reading through your CV.
Your personal statement is like a cover letter only shorter. It is an engagement piece. Think of it like the beginning of a novel. Have you ever started reading a novel and after the first few pages or chapters you put the book down and never read it again? You want your CV bio to have the opposite effect.
Pitfalls to avoid
The purpose of a personal statement is to engage the reader and draw them into your CV. When applying for positions, it is important to consider each job you’re applying for and what the job requirements are.
You should constantly be adapting your CV and personal statement to match the job you are applying for. You need to highlight your experience and skills that are relevant to the position.
Applicants can fall into the trap of sending one CV to all employers and not adapting their CV to the specific positions they are applying to. This is even more important now than ever.
You need to ensure you are distinguishing what sets you apart from the competition. Remember, hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with applications on a daily basis, so consider your application carefully and ensure you have a solid and distinguished opening statement.
Having spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in your personal statement and CV does not make a good first impression. Ensure you spell check, use short paragraphs and get someone to read over your CV prior to submitting.
Just like you would if you were submitting an assignment for correction. Always be doubly sure.
Professional bio structure
A personal statement should be short and concise. You may find it difficult to write a short personal statement without regurgitating everything about yourself and your professional experience.
Write a draft beforehand and this will help you pick out the important points for the position you are applying for. Always remember, it is a distinct snapshot of who you are, what you offer and why your expertise is relevant to the job.
What to include for a good personal statement
A good personal statement is clear and captures the reader. This piece is about selling you as a professional and your suitability for the role and company culture.
Personal statements can often be generic, so really think about what can set you apart from other applicants.
You want to engage the reader, illustrate your suitability, and be specific. Use keywords that will attract the readers’ attention.
CV Bio Example
"Highly organised and adaptable Executive Assistant with 5 years’ experience supporting C-level executives in the IT sector. Experience with complex travel arrangements, calendar management, processing expenses using Concur, preparing reports and presentations for board meetings, arranging meetings and events, and supporting senior management with ad hoc projects. Experience with Microsoft Outlook, Word, advanced Excel, SharePoint and Concur."
If you are submitting your CV to a recruitment agency to be considered for various roles, I would still have a personal statement highlighting your skills and experience.
This can always be adapted as you explore specific roles, but it is important to highlight your background i.e. education, experience, projects you’ve been involved with, systems and applications you are proficient with.
A personal statement can be difficult to write, but once you have a bio template to work from and adapt, it will make things a lot easier and could make all the difference when submitting job applications.