The dos and don’ts of writing a personal statement

Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2022 by Helen TNo comments

As a London recruitment agency, we are very familiar with the process hiring managers take when looking at CVs and deciding who to invite for interview. Under time pressure, those reviewing CVs rarely spend more than a few seconds deciding whether to take an application further. During these first few seconds, their attention is always drawn to the personal statement which offers a snapshot and allows them to make a quick decision about whether to look at the CV in more depth.

Here our leading London recruitment agency takes you through the dos and don’ts of a winning personal statement so that you have more success getting invited for interview.

1.    Do state the basics

Don’t assume but do be explicit. Succinctly say who you are (for example “I am a proficient and highly-regarded HR officer”), and state your intention for your next role. Pick out the core things about you that make you a good fit and which make you unique in suitability.

2.    Do be straightforward

Don’t try to jazz up job titles or use quirky phrases, instead keep things very clear and simple. Chances are that software might be used to scan the CV first and so common keywords are needed. For example, you’re not an “office ninja”; you’re an “admin assistant”.

3.    Do personalise the statement each time

It’s always better to apply for fewer roles and tailor your application for each rather than multiple roles where you won’t have time to personalise your CV. A personalised personal statement is important and gives you a chance to use language that’s relevant to this employer. If you really want to apply for many different positions, have a few different versions of your CV so that you can pick the most relevant to upload each time.

4.    Don’t be vague

It’s no good to throw in statements such as “excellent with social media”. It means nothing. Be specific and make an impact. For example, you could say “Proven ability to increase social media engagement by 40% over 3 months.” Give specific data and facts.

5.    Don’t be self-obsessed

A CV is, of course, all about you. But the trick in the personal statement is to make it all about what you can do for the employer. Try to focus your personal statement around the future employer and the value that you can add, addressing their pain points where you can.

6.    Don’t use clichés

Being a team player, having good communication skills etc. are all very good but they can be somewhat meaningless on a CV. Instead, you need to demonstrate the skills in a way that avoid clichés. So, pick out what is personal about your skillset and experience and make your personal statement unique. Back up any potential cliché with evidence as to how this added value in a previous role.

Writing an enticing CV takes a lot of time and dedicated effort. Writing your personal statement should be a central focus of the time you give it.

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