You have a limited amount of time to make an impact on the reader (no more that 30 seconds to be precise) therefore the effect has to be immediate. A personal statement is usually situated at the top of a cv under your personal information and is one of the first sections of a cv that the reader will come across. There are various formats and types of cv that are useful dependant on the job role or your skill set, however almost all include a personal profile. In addition generally most application forms will also include a personal statement section.
“This is your banner heading summarising your main selling points"
So what should this heading or opening paragraph include?
- A brief overview of who you are and what personal qualities you have to offer.
- Reference to your skills ensuring they are specifically tailored to that of the position
- Outline your areas of expertise and experience
In addition it should entice the reader to want to know more and go on to read the rest of your cv or application form.
How long should a personal statement be?
There is no definitive answer providing the information is relevant and interesting, however generally a profile will consist of between 30 – 60 words. No more than a few short sentences around 5 lines long.
How do we go about writing a personal profile?
- Firstly you should think about compiling a list of descriptive words or phrases that you may wish to use when explaining the above mentioned bullet points.
Some sample words; Approachable, Analysed, Caring, Challenging, Creative, Diplomatic, Experienced, Flexible, Helpful, Influential, Inspiring, Motivated, Organised, Professional.
Some sample skills; Effective listener, Good at motivating others, Training, Writing, Public Speaking, Completing Forms, Cooking, Innovative thinker.
- Your personal profile should be written in third person narrative, as written in first person will appear as only your opinion of yourself.
- Compile a few short sentences combining your pre - selected words and key skills. It is recommend you have two versions of your profile, one which targets a specific job or industry sector and a general multi - purpose version which you can adapt dependant on your requirements. This will also help if you are applying for a range of different jobs.
- You must feel comfortable in explaining and justifying the points included and be mindful of not sounding “too good to be true”.
It is not uncommon to be asked questions in relation to points included within your profile for example;
Q: You state that you are a good problem solver can you provide an example of a problem you have solved and how?
Q: You mention you are an innovative thinker, can you explain an idea that you have suggested that was successful?
- Where possible have someone proof read or help suggest points for you to include as it can sometimes be difficult to write in a positive and descriptive manner about yourself.
To conclude here are some example profiles and important Do’s and Don’ts:
- Set the tone appropriately and word in a positive manner that will help precondition the reader.
- Contain only appropriate and relevant information.
- Keep it within the recommended length or you run the risk of waffling.
- Pigeon hole yourself to one type of person or profession (unless your intention is to achieve one very specific objective).
- Include and information in relation to your life eg, married, single, age, how long you have been unemployed.
- Go over the top, try where possible to keep it simple and do not include anything negative in this opening paragraph.
A responsible, intelligent and experienced retail professional with an extensive background in fashion and children’s wear both in large departments and small boutiques. Highly creative, adaptable and bright individual with an excellent eye for visual detail and design.
A skilled and adaptable Project Manager, with experience in implementing and overseeing change. Has a proven track record of exceeding performance expectations, remaining customer focused and adhering to budgets and timescales. Ability to bring about the fundamental changes needed in response to changing commercial, legislative and financial factors. Strong strategic vision; along with the ability to successfully deliver complex multi-track projects.
An energetic, ambitious individual who has developed a mature and responsible approach to any tasks undertaken. As a Finance graduate who also possesses three years’ managerial experience, now seeks a senior financial management role. Has the ability to organise people and systems in order to achieve objectives and is used to working under pressure and meet strict deadlines.
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How to Write a Personal Statement for a Job Application Form
This article will quickly explain how to complete the Personal Statement section in a job application form, for more tips on completing job application forms click the link.
Many companies now use their own PDF down-loadable job application form on their website; this gives you the choice between printing off the job application form, completing the form by hand or saving the PDF to your desk top and typing up the application form and most employers prefer typed job application forms.
What to add to the personal statement?
Throughout the job application form, you will be able to add your contact details, past employment history and your qualifications, so they do not need to be added (and repeated) on the personal statement.
Most job specifications that accompany the job application form tell you in detail, what requirements the employer is looking to be evidanced on the job application form and the importance the employer places on each criteria.
Example Job Specification:
As you can see some job requirements are essential and MUST BE EVIIDENCED in your personal statement while other job requirements are desirable, if you possess them add them to the application form.
With most job specifications the employer will tell you when they will assess each criteria; Interview/Application Form
The whole of the application should be easy to read, if you need to add additional pages to the application form, add them and make a note (and give a reference number to each individual page) in the application form so an employer does not miss this vital information.
Always complete a spell and grammar check, if possible ask someone else to check your application form for you.
You can use headings to split up your text; the essential criteria requirements make the best headings. If you do not like to use headings follow a format so information is not missed or duplicated throughout the job application form.
How to Sell Yourself
Start with an opening paragraph; a mini summary that can highlight your best strengths and skills in 4-5 lines. For ideas ask yourself these 3 questions:
- What is your key message you want to convey to the employer?
- What are your 3 main strengths relevant to the job role?
- How would the company benefit from hiring you?
The opening paragraph must intrigue the employer, encouraging them to read your statement in more detail.
Avoid writing general information such as “I’m a good team player” write how your experience has made you a good team player, stories work well in personal statements.
Ensure every paragraph you write is relevant to at least one of the essential criteria from the job specification.
Remember you have to prove to the employer that you understand the job role, duties and industry. The best way to prove you possess this knowledge is to record that you have completed the essential criteria in a past role.
Feeling tired, take a break and grab a bite to eat, don’t make mistakes due to tiredness; in most cases you will have several weeks to complete the application form.
Make your statement interesting; if you were reading the statement would you want to carry on?
- Keep the statement positive – use stories
- Use enthusiastic language
- Highlight your strengths and key skills
At the end of the personal statement, write a brief summary why you have applied for this role, what has made you pick this particular role and/or organisation?
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Once you have completed your application form.
Re-write your application 2 more times, each time edit your statement, deleting negative language and adding more positive stories; you want this statement to be the best it can be, ensuring you get a guaranteed interview.
Imagine you’re the interviewer, really visualise yourself as the person who is going to read your job application form, get into their mind and even sit how you think the interviewer would sit. Read the application form, from the interviewer’s eyes, remember the interviewer has never met you and only knows what you have recorded about yourself.
- Prepare for your next job interview – Tricky Interview Questions, this e-book has the answers to over 60 Tricky Interview Questions and explains how to turn your experiences into stories to create intrigue .
As the interviewer, did the “you” on the application form come across well? Do you feel the application form has mentioned all your strengths’? Will the interviewer want to interview you, now they have read the application form?
- What have you missed from the application form, which needs to be added?
- Double check the job specification, have you highlighted all the essential criteria in your personal statement?
- Is there anything else you can do to improve the application form?
Now you have a completed application form, an application form that really highlights your strengths and skills, you are probably really proud of this application form, especially after all the hard work you have put into it.
Keep a copy of this completed application form as you can use this draft copy as a basis for all your future job application forms.
When writing a new application form, copy and paste the statement from your original application into your new one, edit each new application/profile to make it relevant to this new position and company, this will save you a large amount of time.
The job application form will secure you job interviews, which means next you need to plan your interview – did you know that you can use psychology, nlp and hypnotic persuasion in the job interview to get more job offers?