This year two in five of the nation’s workers confirmed that they are unhappy with their current jobs.
If this is you, it’s time to spruce up your CV ready for your job search.
Putting together the core information of your CV, such as education and employment history, is a fairly easy task.
While you may think these components are all you need to market yourself effectively, you should probably add a personal profiletoo, to give your CV the extra oomph it needs to secure that job in 2018.
What is a personal profile?
A personal profile, otherwise known as a personal statement, CV profile or perhaps even a career aim, is essentially the blurb of your career portfolio.
This small paragraph sits at the top of your CV, concisely and effectively displaying who you are, your skills and strengths relevant to the sector or job role and your career goals.
Sounds like quite a mouthful, but personal statements are no problem to write, we promise. They’re actually really similar to cover letters, except you’ll be selling your best points to a potential employer in about four sentences, rather than an A4 page.
So, if you’ve spent all this time jazzing up your CV to hook, line and sinker that recruiter in your New Year job search, adding a personal profile ensures they grab the bait.
Not sure what a personal profile looks like? Check out these five winning examples.
Is a personal profile necessary in 2018?
Personal profiles are widely debated across the industry, with some experts claiming you need one to sell your skills, and others suggesting they’re a waste of valuable space.
The short answer is you don’t need to have a personal statement. However, a study revealed that on average recruiters spend 8.8 seconds looking at your CV, so rather than letting your CV get lost in this ‘Tinderised’ process, you should give them a reason to read on.
There are some genuine reasons why you might not choose to have a personal statement, but it shouldn’t be that you can’t be bothered to write one! It actually depends on your job search status – if you’re applying for a specific job role and attaching a cover letter to your CV, then you may actively choose not to have a personal statement.
As we’ve already mentioned, your cover letter is going to do a lot of the talking for you, so you may feel it’s best not to have another summary. Saying that, the whole point of a CV is to market yourself, so if you can include another piece of advertising, then why not?
If you’re a graduate, then it might be best to leave the professional side of the personal statement at bay until you’ve gained some more work experience – simply highlight the fact you’ve got a degree, and outline the career path you’d like to follow.
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While it’s not a bad thing to share your ambitions with recruiters, you’ll probably find the word count could be better spent discussing your final year project in more depth (just when you thought you’d never have to talk about your final year dissertation again!)
If, however, you’ve chalked up strengths and experiences during your time at university that anchor you to the job you’re applying for, you should highlight these in your personal statement, and make it clear to the recruiter that you will excel in this job role.
Personal profiles are also particularly handy if you’re trying to enter a competitive sector such as PR, advertising, film, music and publishing. As you can imagine, recruiters from these fields deal with hundreds of CVs on a regular basis and will simply flick past your CV unless they spot that competitive edge.
Personal profiles are the perfect way for you to grab their attention and persuade recruiters to continue reading your CV because you’re telling them from the off exactly why they should hire you. Of course, you’ll need to know how to write an effective statement first, but we’ll get on to that in a bit.
You should also consider writing a personal statement if you’re uploading your CV to a job board like CV-Library, as this gives you the chance to highlight your career goals and give your CV more context.
While this is valuable information for recruiters, it’s just as important for you to get it right, as your personal statement will enable recruiters to match you with the right job and ensure that the role is fulfilling.
If you’re not entirely sure what job you want, or if there are a few sectors you reckon you could enter with your particular skill set, then it’s probably best not to include a personal statement.
If your opening statement is too broad, you risk giving the impression that you haven’t done your research properly, or that you’re looking for any old job – not the best impression to make on a potential employer!
Check out CV templates
How to structure a personal profile
We know writing a personal statement can seem quite daunting but honestly, once you’ve started writing it, the rest will come naturally. Here’s a breakdown of the basics of creating your statement.
The most important thing to remember is that statements are usually around four sentences in length, and no more than six. Aim for anywhere between 50 and 200 words, and you’re golden.
Like the length, the grammatical person you’re writing in also has some flexibility. You could choose to write in the third person which can appear more objective, for example, ‘Project manager seeking… skills include…’ Or you could write in the first person which tends to be more personal: ‘I am a project manager seeking… My skills are…’
It honestly doesn’t matter which person you choose, just pick the one you’re comfortable writing in. As long as you keep it consistent, you can’t go wrong.
Does my personal profile need a title?
The simpler your CV layout, the better. The last thing recruiters want is to trawl through a bundle of words trying to pick out your good bits like they’re the orange ones in a packet of revels.
You don’t really need a title for your personal statement. It sits under your name and contact info, and before the first chunk of your job or education history, so it’s pretty obvious it’s an introduction to you.
Secondly, make the spacing a little bigger and try increasing it to 1.5. As it’s the first thing a recruiter will read, you want this to be as clear as possible – it’s often a real decision maker.
What to include in your personal profile
When drafting your personal statement for your dream job in 2018, split it into three sections: who you are, what you can offer the company, and your career goals.
TIP: Bullet point things you might mention under each of these sections, then list the qualities that position you as the ideal person for the job.
In the ‘who you are’ section you might state that you’re:
- A recent graduate with a 2:1 degree in Creative Writing from the University of Surrey seeking an entry-level position in…
- A highly-skilled mechanical engineer looking to resume a position in…
- An ambitious purchasing manager looking to progress into…
In the ‘what you can offer the company’ part, you’re selling your absolute top skills and strengths and backing them up with evidence. If you’re tweaking your CV because you’re applying for a particular job, use the job spec to create your statement. For example, if the employer is looking for someone with attention to detail and you’ve got experience meticulously proofing essays or presentations etc., then say so.
If you’re crafting a more general personal statement with a job title in mind, be sure you include achievements that are noteworthy and will make you stand out in that field. 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 too – perfect!
The important thing to remember here is not to litter your personal statement with a trail of buzzwords. You might well be an ‘extremely driven strategic thinker with excellent communication skills and extensive experience in marketing’, but all you’ve really done here is told the recruiter that you’ve worked in marketing with no proof of your other claims.
To top it off, you’ve also revealed this information in an extremely boring way that recruiters have heard a million times before; when it comes to selling yourself, you don’t want to write something as bland and soggy as overcooked rice; you want to lovingly craft a seafood paella.
Try to highlight real, relevant skills and back them up with evidence to make the statement strong. Try something like this for the middle section:
- During my degree, I have developed an excellent eye for detail due to the heavy demands of assignments and research. As a result, I am also able to work under pressure, especially when balancing my educational workload with my volunteering placement at local nursing homes.
- Knowledgeable engineer with a wide skill-set, including condition-based maintenance, through working on automated systems such as…
- Through utilising my communications skills when working in managerial positions at large corporations, I have developed successful working relationships and resultantly, an advantageous professional network.
The final section of the personal statement is to highlight your career goals. More than anything this shows the recruiter that you’re a professional worth investing time and money in. Take a look at these examples:
- I am looking for a challenging, fast-paced environment within media to utilise my written knowledge and develop my creative skill set further.
- Looking to re-establish a career in a progressive organisation which requires engineering expertise, after taking maternity leave to care for a new-born.
- I am looking to secure a challenging role in a market-leading automotive company where I can bring fresh strategic vision and value to the business.
Dos and don’ts
Here’s a quick breakdown of the key points to remember when crafting that all-important statement.
- 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.
- Make the statement look purposeful – you need show you know what you’re talking about, without sounding too arrogant.
- Reflect the job specification in your statement.
- Be real! Recruiters ultimately 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. Probably best to get someone else to run an eye over it too.
- Overuse buzz words – You might want to chuck a few in there, but a hyperbolic stream of empty qualities and meaningless words is just off-putting.
- Mix the grammatical person – remember either first person or third, not both.
- Be boring – you want to sound unique with noteworthy qualities.
- Copy from your cover letter or copy your cover letter from your statement – that’s just lazy.
Complete personal profile examples for 2018
Here are a few final examples of personal statements for you to gloss over. Hopefully, it’ll spark some inspiration for your own.
‘I am a recent graduate with a 2:1 degree in Creative Writing from the University of Surrey seeking an entry-level position in copywriting. During my degree, I have developed an excellent eye for detail due to the heavy demands of assignments and research. Over the last year, I have also balanced an editing position at Surrey’s media society, where I have devised content ideas and managed a small team of writers, proving that I have potential to excel within a professional writing field. I am looking for a challenging, fast-paced environment within media to utilise my creative knowledge and develop my writing skill-set further.’
‘A highly-skilled mechanical engineer looking to resume a position in industrial construction. Extremely knowledgeable with seven years industry experience. Possesses a wide skill set, including condition-based maintenance, through working on automated systems on large-scale building projects. Looking to re-establish a career in a progressive organisation which requires engineering expertise after a short career break to take care of a new-born.’
‘I am an ambitious purchasing manager looking to progress into a senior purchasing position within the automotive sector. I have developed communication skills when working in managerial positions at large automotive corporations, nurtured successful working relationships and, resultantly, possess an advantageous professional network. Due to over 12 years of experience within this industry, I am fully equipped with commercial awareness and product knowledge. I am looking to secure a challenging role in a market-leading automotive company where I can bring fresh strategic vision and value to the business.’
Related Career Advice articles
By Mike Simpson
What is the best way to start my resume?
How do I get the attention of the hiring manager?
These are questions we have all asked ourselves at one point or another.
And to muddy the waters a little bit, we have the ongoing “battle” between “Team Resume Objective” and and “Team Resume Summary Statement”.
What, you’ve never heard of this age-old war over the real estate at the very beginning of your resume?
Don’t worry, it’s a relatively new struggle brought about by our constant desire for finding an advantage over the other candidates vying for the same jobs we are. And we’ve made all of this much easier by giving you our free Resume Summary Cheat Sheet.
“But what’s the difference, and which one is right for me?”
In a previous article we tackled Resume Objectives and what they are and who should use them (head over to take a look and see if this is the best choice for you).
Generally speaking, people who were just entering the work force, perhaps lacked experience in their fields, or were in the middle of a massive career change benefited most by using an objective statement.
But what about someone with experience or someone who isn’t changing their field?
Well, that’s where the summary statement comes into play!
If you just want to jump straight to the resume summary statement examples further along in this article then CLICK HERE
Understanding the Resume Summary Statement
So what exactly is a resume summary statement?
A resume summary statement is similar to an objective statement in that it is a quick way for a job seeker to catch a hiring manager’s attention by summarizing critical information at the top of your resume in an easy to read format.
Before we go any further, I want to stop you right now. A “Resume Objective” and “Resume Summary Statement” are NOT interchangeable. They are, in fact, two very different things and should not be confused.
Resume statements essentially are just a few short, well worded, well targeted sentences that summarize your skills and experiences.
Sometimes called “Qualification Summaries” or even just “Competencies,” these two or three sentences can, when done right, give you a real advantage in the hiring game.
I don’t get it. I’m already qualified to do the job. What’s the point? Can’t they just read my resume and get that information themselves?
Absolutely.But remember, hiring managers are often going through dozens, if not hundreds of resumes per available job, so anything that can make their job easier is a good thing.
Imagine this…you’re the perfect candidate and you just know you’re the one the company should hire but the manager has been going through mountains of resumes. By the time they get to yours, they’re just skimming…trying to make it through.
They glance at your resume but, in their tired overwhelmed rush to get done, miss a few key sentences. Your resume, and your prospects at the company, are accidentally ignored.
Cue long drawn out overly dramatic cry of despair:
Now imagine if that SAME resume had had a summary statement at the top clearly outlining why you’re the perfect candidate.
Instead of skimming, the hiring manager read that, nodded in satisfaction, and dropped your resume on the top of the “To Interview” pile.
Cue victory dance!
Think of a resume summary statement as a good friend at a party. They want to introduce you to the hiring manager in such a way that the manager wants to talk to you!
A great resume statement is your job seeking wingman!
Okay, let’s go to our make believe place and pretend we’re outside the gates to a huge party. There are hundreds of guests (job seekers) waiting along with us but only one bouncer (hiring manager). Everyone wants to get into the party (job) and meet the host (your new boss).
Problem is, this bouncer is VERY picky and is only letting in a very small group of people.
Everyone lines up and gets just ONE SHOT to impress the bouncer. You can see people in line ahead of you eagerly walking up to the bouncer and having varying degrees of luck. Most get pointed towards the exit before they even open their mouths.
A few manage to get in a word or two before they too are pointed towards the door. You watch in slack jawed amazement as just three people out of the hundred ahead of you actually make it past the velvet ropes.
Then suddenly it’s your turn. You stand in front of the bouncer, your heart in your throat, your mouth dry. You start to extend your hand for a hearty handshake but before you can get it up, you catch a blur out of the corner of your eye.
A man swoops in, standing next to you with a huge grin on his face. He reaches out, grabs the bouncer’s hand and shakes it for you.
“Hey! I have got to introduce you to this guy!” the stranger tells the bouncer, looking over his shoulder at you with a smile. “Seriously, this guy worked miracles at his last job.
Not only is he an expert communicator with over 10 years of experience but he has the proven ability to manage multiple projects while meeting challenging deadlines…and didn’t our host specifically state those were the kinds of people he was looking to meet tonight?”
The bouncer looks at you. Gone is the squinty eyed glare replaced with a look of contemplation and…dare we say…interest?
He grunts and nods, reaches for the ropes…and you’re in!
But just who was that mysterious man?
That, my friend, was your resume statement…summing up your qualifications into a neat and tidy power packed punch of awesome directly targeting what the hiring managers are looking for.
Okay, so you’ve hooked me. Now, how do I write a good summary statement?
Well, read on to the next section to find out! But first, take the time to download our free Resume Summary Cheat Sheet, which hands you word-for-word-resume summaries you can use on your resume right now. Click here to get the Resume Summary Cheat Sheet.
How To Write A Great Resume Summary Statement
First off you need to do you research. Just like everything else you’ve done up to this point in your job search quest, you need to make sure that you’re maximizing your potential.
You have a very limited space to use on your resume and the last thing you want to do is waste any of it.
The goal is to get your statement down to four to six bullets (give or take a couple) distilled down into two or three laser focused sentences.
The first thing you want to do is go back and look at the job you’re applying for and determine your target audience. Re-read the job posting, keeping your eyes open for key phrases and words.
- Who are they looking for?
- What do they want that person to bring to the table? What value can they provide?
- What would l look for in a hire if I were the one posting this job?
Once you identify those things, it’s time to figure out how you fit into them.
- What are your top selling points? Find three or four things that define you as a professional and are unique to you. Are you a God among men when it comes to sales or customer service? Are you a DaVinci of schematics and CAD drawings? Make sure these are things you ENJOY doing…don’t list things you’re good at but that you hate doing…or you’ll get stuck doing them again.
- What critical problems did you identify in the job posting and how are you positioned to solve them? How does your summary align with the company job requirements?
- What are your career highlights and key strengths? How much experience do you have in doing what you’re doing? Do you have additional certifications or achievements that set you apart?
- Where does what you want and bring intersect with what the company wants and needs?
Now, keep in mind that the above things are things you WANT to put in your statement…and also remember there are things NOT to put in your statement. Things like:
- Microsoft Office. We get it. Everyone should be proficient with this suite of programs and if you’re not, then hurry up and get proficient. Even if you’re a technological wizard your hardware and software skills should go in their own separate section…not your summary statement.
- Things you’re good at but that you hate doing. We touched on this briefly above but it’s something that bears repeating. If you don’t like doing it in your job now, don’t list it in your summary statement or you’ll have to keep doing it.
- Tired, old adjectives. These are words like ‘results-oriented,’ and ‘hardworking,’ ‘innovative’ and ‘motivated.’ Use action verbs instead (we’ve written another blog post about action verbs that you need to read.. click here to read now).
If you know anything about the Interview Guys, you know that we value "tailoring" over almost anything else when it comes to virtually anything job interview-related. Hence our creation of the Tailoring Method (head over to the article to learn the basics of tailoring). Your resume summary statement is no different. During your research, you need to identify the Qualities (knowledge, skills and abilities) that your company values for your position and infuse them into your summary. See examples below for how to do this.
Now that we’ve looked at what to include and what NOT to include, it’s time to start writing your own resume statements.
Start out your statement by being specific! Make sure it’s tailored to not only the position, but the company as well. Are you applying to five jobs? You should have five objective statements. Ten jobs? Ten statements. Two hundred jobs? Two hundred statements. Get the idea?
Focus on how you’re a benefit to the company…not how the company can benefit you.
Keep it valuable…that is…make sure you point out what you bring to the table.
Keep it short and sweet.
Always open your statement with your title. Why? Because you want to communicate your professional identity immediately! You want whoever is reading the resume to know AT A GLANCE exactly who they’re dealing with.
Remember, there are lots of people applying for these jobs and the last thing you want to do is get lost in the shuffle.
Plus, if the job is specifically looking for someone to fill a role and you’re already doing that role at another job, you’ve just ensured that the hiring mangers take a second look at your resume!
Next, take all the things we discussed above and pull it all together into your summary statement.
Resume Summary Statement Examples
Here are a few resume summary statement examples for professionals who would be considered experts in their fields.
As mentioned above, you want to tailor these statements to the needs of the company you are interviewing with. For example, let’s say in this first example that the applicant researched the company and discovered that nearly all of their employees shared a common Quality… “management experience”. So this needs to be highlighted in the summary statement. The Quality is highlighted in orange (Be sure to support the fact that you have that quality with supporting statements:
Architectural Project Coordinator with over fifteen years of experience. Versatile, bilingual professional with management experience ranging in size from small private projects to full scale multi-million dollar high profile corporate construction projects. Ability to oversee and manage hundreds of individuals while ensuring timely completion of project deadlines all while remaining on or under budget.
This resume summary example is well done for a number of reasons.
First off, it’s short and sweet. Secondly, whoever is reading it knows exactly who they’re dealing with. It opens with the job seeker’s title, Architectural Project Coordinator.
You also know they’re a professional with 15 years of experience and then it quickly and cleanly goes into details about what they’ve accomplished in those 15 years.
Most importantly though is the fact that they have identified the Quality (or qualities) the company values and infused it into the statement along with some proof. Be sure to include a supporting line that proves you have the quality!
Let’s look at another. We assume that the applicant has done his/her research and is now tailoring the summary:
Current Administrative Office Manager. Versatile, reliable and efficient with 8+ years experience supporting managers and executives in high paced environments. Diversified skills include client relations, human resources, recruiting, project management, and administrative support. Excellent phone and digital communication skills.
Another solid summary!
Project Manager with 10+ years experience specializing in web production, education publications, public outreach and consumer packaging. Professional, creative, flexible with proven analytical skills. Adept at researching and crafting award winning marketing campaigns for a wide variety of clients and products.
Are you getting the hang of these?
Okay, here’s another one:
Experienced sales manager in retail industry with strengths in customer service, sales and negotiations. Proven skills in marketing, advertising, product integration, and promotions. Successful in developing strategies that have resulted in an over 20% increase in new customers. Instrumental in developing an incentives rewards program with a repeat customer success rate of over 45%.
Now, if I were a hiring manager, I’d want to know more about each of the individuals with the summaries we’ve looked at above.
But what if you don’t have any experience? Or if your experiences aren’t directly related to what you’re applying for?
Again, think long and hard before putting a summary statement on your resume if this is you. You might want to consider a qualifications summary which we outlined in last week’s post…but if you just have to have a summary…here are a few examples to help you get started.
For someone with no experience or a recent graduate:
Engineering Graduate with leadership training and experience with academic training at the University of Montana. Proven skills in project management, organization and research with a background in office administration and organization. Able to provide employers with administrative support and professional communication skills.
Okay, not bad. Certainly better than nothing…but again, make sure to seriously consider the objective statement first.
For someone who is changing careers:
Proven IT Specialist with experience in start-ups as well as established operations leveraging expertise in organization, computer networking, and problem solving to provide exceptional user support and assistance in resolving conflict. Experience includes managing sensitive materials and providing after-hours support for clients.
This one is good. It lets the person know that is reading the resume that the applicant is coming from a different field but that the skills they bring can translate to the job they’re applying for.
So there you have it. Resume Summary Statements. Your perfect resume wingman!
Remember that the most important thing for you to do is spend the time researching the company you are interviewing with and tailor your summary to the company you are interviewing with.
Thanks for reading!
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FREE: Resume Summary PDF Cheat Sheet
Get our handy Resume Summary Cheat SheetPDF.
In it you'll get word-for-word sample resume summariescovering a variety of positions you can use right away.