How to Write a Personal Statement
A strong personal statement is an opportunity to make a big impact to a recruiter with just a few sentences.
Writing a personal statement allows you to provide a brief overview of who you are and the skills and qualities you possess before a recruiter can review your CV in fuller detail.
How long should a personal statement be?
Although it can vary, the standard practice is a short paragraph of about 50-100 words.
A personal statement is like a blurb on a book; it should attract the interest of the reader and make them want to find out more about you. Therefore, it can’t be too long but it needs to be effective. An average recruiter will look through up to 50 CV’s a day and they cannot take the time to review each CV thoroughly unless their attention is caught within the first 20 seconds of reading.
Writing your Personal Statement
A good way to get started with your personal statement is look at samples online to get an idea of how others have done it. Though this should be for research purposes only and not as a template to write on. The idea is to see what the best words to use are and also an opportunity to see how personal statements shouldn’t be written.
- It is considered common practice to write your personal statement in a third-person as first person can often be seen as more of an opinion than fact.
- Pick 6-7 words to describe yourself and start writing your opening sentence. The first sentence is the most important as you want to capture the attention of the recruiter almost immediately.
- Try to avoid cliché openings like ‘A hard-working individual who is well motivated and a team player.” This is very vague and an employer expects you to be all these things anyway, this is not a unique trait of yours.
- Find a way to launch into your statement that provides the recruiter an idea of how your qualities, skills and personal experience will benefit the job role.
For example, if you’re looking for an IT manager job then your opening sentence should reflect on your skills and experience in that role.
“As a highly motivated and results orientated IT manager with over 5 years of experience in the leisure & tourism industry, I have a proven track record of maintaining an effective network infrastructure...”
This provides the opening the recruiter with a strong opening sentence that gives them everything they need to know in just a few words. The remaining sentences should focus on:
- Outlining your skills relating to your job role
- Personal achievements at the company
- Unique selling points or what you can offer
- Reason you’re applying for the job i.e. furthering career, redundancy
Your statement should have a professional and positive tone and should only focus on your skills and qualities. Your hobbies, personal life and family aren’t as relevant so should be avoided. The idea of a personal statement is to get them to want to know more about you and personal details like that may come up in a job interview if the subject comes up.
Personal Statement Example
“As a highly motivated and results orientated IT manager with over 5 years of experience in the leisure & tourism industry, I have a proven track record of providing exemplary levels of service and have developed and maintained good working relationships with both internal and external staff. Looking to secure a position where I can bring immediate and strategic value to develop my current skillset further.”
The purpose of the personal statement is to get to the point and make your sentences punchy and informative. Read it out aloud and ask yourself if it makes sense and reads naturally.