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What should be included in my personal statement?

What should be included in my personal statement?

CV Advice

Your CV is designed to do one thing and one thing only: to get you an interview. Yet the average recruiter will only spend between 20 to 30 seconds glancing at your CV, which means that you need to make an impression quickly and sell yourself.

Your personal statement is your first opportunity to do just that. It is perhaps the single most important part of your CV. Get it wrong and your chances of being invited to interview are drastically reduced.

Its aim is to highlight your professional attributes and goals, emphasising why they should continue reading the rest of your CV. Aim to use no more than 50 words, making each sentence a key selling point.

Unfortunately, too many people follow the tradition of using stock phrases and 'key' words that they think will help them stand out from the crowd. Many phrases are tired and clichéd and don't have the impact employers need.

Phrases such as, "Looking for a challenging opportunity…" should be avoided because they're only focused on 'me, me, me'. Employers want to know what you will do for them. How will you help their business? It should be clear from the job description what they need you to do, so tell them straight that you can help them do it.

It is important that your statement doesn't simply tell a potential new employer what you have done or what you would like to do and why you are applying for the advertised position. That's what your education and work history sections are for.

Advertising agencies are paid large sums of money by brands to create headlines that grab their audience's attention. They use language that explains the benefits that you, as consumer, will have if you purchase their product.

Similarly, a list of unquantifiable skills such as 'team player' or 'good communicator' don't actually tell the reader anything about why you're the right person for the job. Link these to a tangible skill wherever possible, such as "Use my excellent communication skills to attract and retain high profile clients."

Here are some examples of evocative personal statements that will grab the employer's attention:

"As an experienced Senior Advertising Sales Executive, my networking abilities could help your company achieve its goals. Active and potential clients will be impressed with innovative product presentations and the meticulous management of their million-pound accounts, allowing long-lasting relationships to be formed."

"If you're seeking a Network Technician to improve the reliability and development of your company's server, my experience in design, implementation and maintenance will prove invaluable. Troubleshooting and support come as second nature, meaning fewer and less frequent connectivity issues for your large-scale network."

Take a look at your personal statement and read it out loud you yourself. Imagine it was a television advert - would you buy the product?