As most of you know, our sample CV template includes a personal statement paragraph on top of the CV – when used correctly, it can be a real asset to stand out from your competition. Given we have seen many in the last months, just a few tips on what to actually say in it – and what NOT to say.. The main reason for this statement is to summarize your skills and experience in order for a prospective employer to quickly get a sense of the value you could offer.
If you do decide to include a personal (summary) statement, be ready to do some introspection. Here’s a three-step plan to help:
Step 1: Where You’re Going?
Since you need to be concise, it’s important to figure out what you want in your position, so you know exactly what skills and experiences to highlight. If you are not absolutely clear about what you want, envision an ideal position that will value you for the main characteristics and experiences you want to be hired for.
- What skills do you most enjoy using?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of and can best illustrate your abilities?
- What issues, topics, or areas are you most passionate about?
Step 2: Analyze Your Target Industry
Once you know what you want to do, your next step is identifying where you want to be – think industry, city, and companies. Then, research your industry and key trends affecting it now: read relevant industry news articles, research companies (see our blog article #5), and analyse job descriptions you’re interested in.
- What is most valued in your target industry?
- What experiences, skills, and characteristics matter in your target jobs?
- What would you look for if you were the hiring manager
Step 3: Find your fit and summarise
With your knowledge of your target industry, it’s time to figure out how you fit in (or want to). Identify, describe, and refine your key selling points with your end goal in mind. Then, craft them into 4-6 bullets, shooting for statements that are vivid and that clearly illustrate what you bring to the table over anyone else.
- What are your most impactful selling points?
- What critical problems are you well positioned to solve?
- What is the intersection of what you want and what your target industry needs
A summary statement can be a powerful branding tool that helps send the message that you’re the right one for the job. The best thing about taking the time to put one together (whether you decide to actually use it or not) is that it not only helps hiring managers get a clear sense of what you have to offer, but also helps you better understand what you bring to the table. So, you get the added benefit of knowing exactly how to sell your skills the next time you’re networking, interviewing or presenting yourself online.