A candidate recently asked whether she should write an introductory paragraph or personal profile at the beginning of her CV. Great question we thought, so here’s our view.
Whilst a cover letter tailored to the specific job you are applying for will do a lot of the talking for you, a short well written personal profile really helps your chances of standing out. A personal profile is a short paragraph that sits at the top of your CV. Its aim is to effectively and concisely sum up who you are and your skills and strengths relevant to the job role and career aims. It is similar to a cover letter; the main difference is you will be selling yourself (the main purpose of your CV) in four or five sentences rather than a full page. A good personal profile added to your CV will grab the recruiter’s attention.
And grabbing the recruiter’s attention is vital. Many roles are in competitive fields and can attract dozens if not hundreds of CV’s – and that means you need to provide a short sharp reason for them to read on beyond the first few lines. You risk a recruiter flicking past your CV unless they spot reasons to put you forward pretty quickly. Help your recruiter to help you!
Your profile provides an ideal way to grab the recruiter’s attention and continue reading your CV because you are telling them in the first few sentences why they should consider hiring you. A personal profile can be useful if you are uploading your CV to a job board such as CV-Library. It provides you with an opportunity to outline your career objectives and can help put your CV into context. It also helps recruiters to match you with the right job for you and gives them some direction as to what sort of working culture would be the right fit for you.
A profile is best included when you are fairly sure what type of job you want or where your skills suit specific sectors. If you aren’t sure then consider leaving it out. A profile that is too broad risks giving the impression you haven’t done your research or that any type of employment will do. Not the best impression to give
Structuring a personal profile
The most important thing to remember is that your statements should around four or five sentences – between 50 and 200 words. Some people like to write in the first person (I am, my skills include…) or the third person (Sales professional seeking, skills include…). It really doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent with your grammatical style.
We suggest dividing your personal profile paragraph into three sections.
- Who you are
- What you can offer the potential employer
- Your career goals
If you’re writing a more general personal profile, be sure you include key achievements that make you stand out. For example, if you’re looking for a position within graphic design and you’ve got extensive Photoshop experience working on a major campaign, not only can you claim you have these skills in your personal statement, but you can back them up as well.
Leave out the buzz words
You may well be a highly motivated team player with excellent communications skills and extensive administration experience but these buzz words don’t really provide any evidence (and a recruiters will have read the same words a thousand times).
Try to highlight real, relevant skills and back them up with evidence to make your personal profile strong.
- Get straight to the point – recruiters don’t like to read waffle!
- Provide evidence of your skills and experience, but be brief! Offer just enough to hook the recruiter
- Remember that you’re marketing yourself
- Reflect the job specification in your statement
- Be authentic. Recruiters want to know you as a person and what you can bring to the table
- Proofread for spelling and grammar
- Read it aloud to make sure it flows properly. It can be useful to get someone else to run an eye over it too
- Overuse buzz words or jargon
- Be boring – you want to sound unique with noteworthy qualities
- Copy from your cover letter or copy your cover letter from your statement
Employers and candidates tell us that First Base is their first choice for help with their recruitment requirements and their personal career progression. If you would like to know more about how the First Base team could help you, contact us on 01453 755330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org