Resume Writing: How To Write a Perfect Personal Statement?

March 9, 2020

In resumes, every word counts. Everything you include in this one- or two-page document makes an impact on the decision employers are going to make while assessing your suitability for the job.

 

Considering that many employers spend only 6 to 10 seconds reviewing each resume, it’s needless to say that you need to make a great impression right from the start.

 

In other words, the information you put in the upper half of the first page of your resume, weighs more than the rest of it. This is where the decision can already be made. Unfortunately, if you don’t use this space to convince them that the rest of your resume is worth reading, they might never even glance at the second page.

 

To earn a fair chance with readers, the best way to start a resume is writing a personal statement.

 

In the next 7 minutes, you’ll learn:

  • what is a personal statement

  • why is a personal statement important

  • what needs to be written in this section of your resume

  • how to write a perfect professional statement that converts into interview invites

 

What’s more, you’ll get:

  • a plug-and-play personal statement template

  • 5+ samples for different jobs and career paths

 

>> Start you resume in the most effective way with a professionally-made resume template! They all have a dedicated place for a personal statement to ensure that you can put your best foot forward. Download now! <<

 

 

What is a personal statement?

 

A personal statement, also known as a personal profile overview or career summary, is essentially – well – a summary of your career. This short intro paragraph at the top of your resume displays who you are and what you can bring to the table in a concise, engaging and effective way.

 

Considering that this section should be three to five rows long, it’s often the shortest part of a resume, and - at the same time – the hardest one to write.

 

 

Why is a personal statement so important?

 

If there is a job posted, it means that the company is understaffed and they are in need of a person who can step into the role. Recruiters and hiring managers do their best to make the whole decision-making process about hiring as quick and efficient as possible.

 

While doing so, they don’t actually read resumes word for word. They scan them, looking for keywords that can be a cue whether or not you’re a good fit for the position they’ve posted.

 

This means that if you don’t get them intrigued in the first few sentences in your resume, your resume will end up in the ‘no’ pile before they even get to the amazing achievements that you’ve saved for last.

 

We are not saying that this is the best way to do it (author’s note – it’s most certainly not), but this is how it works in reality.

 

Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes.

 

For each job posting, you get 100 – 150 applications. Typically, you manage 10-15 job vacancies at the same time. This means that 1000 – 1500 resume are in the queue waiting for your review.

 

And hiring managers are constantly at your back, asking you when they can see the first list of suitable candidates.

So, you’re in a position where you need to act quickly.

 

Unless you’re a speed-reading master, eight working hours per day won’t be enough to read every resume and cover letter from top to bottom.

 

So, you’re in a position where you need to act quickly.

 

You’ll go through resumes looking for the first sign that a candidate is or is not suitable for the job – in other words, whether or not they are good enough to be shared with hiring managers.

 

You’ll jump to their resume looking if they have the right qualification, the required years of experience and relevant knowledge, expertise or skills.

 

If in the first half of the page of their resume you don’t get any of this information, you’ll jump to the conclusion that the rest of the resume doesn’t bring anything valuable either.

 

This is how a resume earns a spot in the “reject” pile.

 

That’s why this part needs to be nothing less than perfect.

 

 

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>> To grab attention, the personal statement needs to be at the top of your resume, as in these examples. Download one of those resume templates for yourself and start your resume in the right way. <<

 

 

This leads us to the main question…

 

What needs to be written in a personal statement?

 

At the beginning of your resume, readers are looking for keywords that show them if you are qualified for the job.

 

To provide them with such information, in 30 to 75 words, you need to answer the following questions:

  • How many years of experience you have in the field?

  • What relevant industries have you worked in?

  • What are your areas of expertise?

  • What transferable skills can you offer?

  • What personal qualities do you possess that are applicable to the job ?

  • What have you achieved in your previous jobs?

In order to cover all of that in an informative and engaging way, the best recommendation is to apply past-present-future formula. It means your “personal profile” section should include:

 

  1. PAST: A sentence that summarizes your overall experience, it should include the information about years of experience, industries you worked in, and current/most recent/most relevant job title.
     

  2. PRESENT: Two to three sentences about what you currently have and can bring to the table. This is where you summarize your areas of expertise, skills and strengths. To take this to the next level, prove your abilities by providing an example of an achievement that’s relevant to the job.
     

  3. FUTURE: A brief sentence about your career aspirations or reasons for the application. This sentence is optional, as a majority of employers will assume that your career aspiration is to work at the position you applied for or that you applied for the job because, well, you need one. However, it’s good to keep this sentence in if you’re looking for a career change, relocation or an opportunity after a career break. Address it here, as they will be curious to find out the reasons and your motivation.

 

Important!

 

The key to writing a successful personal statement is in tailoring this short paragraph to each job application.

 

If you meet most of the requirements specified in the job description, and if you fill your personal profile with keywords you found there, you will grab your reader’s attention as they read the first few sentences of your resume.

 

They will be able to tick some boxes regarding requirements they are looking for, you will show them you are a great match for the role and consequently, it will increase your chances of getting shortlisted for the next step in the recruitment process.

 

 

 

 

How to write the perfect personal statement? [THE TEMPLATE IS HERE!]

 

With the help of the template below, the answer is - easy!

 

Just plug in the appropriate keywords and let the magic happen!

 

<adjective 1> and <adjective 2> <current job title> with more than <number> years of experience in <industry 1> and <industry 2>. Extensive experience of <area of expertise 1>, <area of expertise 2> and <area of expertise 3>. A strong <key strength 1> combined with the ability to <skill 1> and <skill 2>. <action> resulting in <outcome>. Currently looking to broaden experience/use existing skill-set in <specific industry/company/role>.

 

 

Based on the template above, your personal profile section could sound like this:

 

Personal statement for accountants

 

ACCA-certified and analytical accountant with more than 10 years of experience in FMCG and banking industry. Experienced in developing cost saving practices, budget management and forecasting. Strong commercial awareness combined with the ability to analyse and produce high quality management reports within tight deadlines. Identified payment oversight which resulted in $400K+ saved. Looking for an opportunity to use my skill-set in regulatory environment.

 

 

Personal statement for recruiters

 

Customer-focused recruitment consultant with more than 5 years of experience in IT industry. Extensive experience of leading end-to-end recruitment processes, managing HR projects and consulting internal stakeholders. Strong communication skills combined with the ability to adapt to changing requirements and to re-prioritise with ease. Recruited 200+ candidates with 75%+ six-month retention rate. Looking to broaden experience as a Recruitment Manager at XYZ.

 

 

Personal statement for internal auditors

 

CIA-certified Internal Auditor with 8+ years of experience gained in the retail and banking industry. Experienced in performing risk audits, optimising existing business processes and reporting to C-level executives. Strong analytical skills applied to detect deficiencies resulted in $1.2M and 400+ working hours saved per year. Currently seeking to apply my skills in the Process Optimisation Manager position at XYZ.

 

 

>> Find professional resume templates on Etsy. Download, edit, and apply! <<

 

 

How to write a personal statement if you don't have any experience?

 

If you are just about to hit the job market after high school or college, writing an effective personal statement may be a challenge, but it’s not mission-impossible. 

 

The key to writing an effective personal statement in this case is to focus on your personal traits, natural abilities and skills acquired through your education.

 

Additionally, think about some academic achievements that might be evidence of skills required in the work environment, such as work ethic, organisation skills, communication skills, or the ability to be a great team player.

 

In this case, a personal statement could sound like this:

 

Business administration graduate at London Business School, with strong organisation and time-management skills gained through multiple extracurricular activities while maintaining high GPA (3.78). Seeking to apply strong theoretical knowledge about business organisation and management in a work environment as a Management Assistant at XYZ.

 

 

 

How to write the personal statement If you're looking for a career change?

 

If you are looking for an opportunity in another field or industry, unrelated to your current one, focusing on your previous experience won’t do much.

 

Instead, you need to focus on transferable skills to show your understanding of the skills needed to succeed on this new career path and to explain your motivation for applying.

 

To identify transferable skills, focus on commonalities between the two career paths. Think about the following:

  • What kind of tasks, activities and responsibilities do they both entail?

  • What kind of skills do candidates in both fields need to perform successfully?

The answers to the questions above will tell you what needs to be highlighted in your personal statement.

 

Here is an example of an experienced branch manager applying for a role in the digital department to work on creating the bank’s new digital products or services.

 

Customer-focused and digitally savvy branch manager with 12+ years of experience in leadership roles at XYZ bank. Experienced in managing teams, coaching direct reports and providing bespoke service to customers. Through staff training, increased adoption of digital products by 47% in 3 months. Seeking for an opportunity to use understanding of customer needs to create new digital solutions as a Digital Product Manager at XYZ.

 

 

How to write a personal statement after a career break?

 

If you are looking to pick up your work where you’ve left it and continue on the same path, you can put the general template into use. The only difference is that you’ll need to address the career break.

 

There are many reasons for taking a break - from travelling, parental leave and raising a family, to taking care of a family member or a long-term illness. Whatever the reason was, don’t forget that you don’t ever need to justify or explain this to potential employers in detail. It’s personal and private.

 

Just provide a brief explanation in one sentence, in a way you’re comfortable with it, to avoid any unnecessary questions or concerns about the gap coming from employers.

 

An experienced HR Administrator with 7+ years of experience, currently looking to resume professional career after dedicating the last three years to caring for a family member. Extensive experience liaising with clients and managing multiple stakeholders. Excellent organisation skills and advanced knowledge of all Microsoft Office programs. After part-time volunteering at a local charity to refresh my skills, now seeking to continue my career on a full-time basis as the Office Administrator at XYZ.

 

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>> Download your new resume template that will get you hired! <<

 

 

How to pick the best adjectives for this section and avoid clichés?

 

If you go through a hundred resumes, 75-85% resumes (based on our completely unscientific approximation) will start with 'self-' or 'highly-motivated individual.' Instead of using the same resume buzzwords as everyone else and following the same path everyone follows (eventually leading to the same hole as most fall into), use those Initial keywords to position yourself as a skilled expert in the field.

 

You'll get bonus points if you describe your traits in the same terms used in the job description.

 

For example, if a company is looking for a certified project manager with strong analytical skills instead of this:

 

Self-motivated individual with 7+ years of experience in project management

 

Write this:

 

PMP-certified and analytical Project Manager with 7+ years of experience in managing business change and transformation within the banking industry.

 

Can you feel the difference?

 

If so, then you know what we mean when we say that every word in a resume counts.

 

Here is a list of additional, not-over-used adjectives you can include if appropriate:

  • customer-focused

  • learning-driven

  • methodical

  • strategic

  • creative

  • versatile

  • proactive

  • independent

  • people-oriented

  • committed

 

Some buzzwords and phrases to avoid:

  • go-getter

  • goal-oriented

  • seasoned

  • self- or highly-motivated

  • multi-tasker

  • thinking outside of the box

  • proven track record

 

>> Download a professional resume template and jump-start your job search! <<

 

 

LET’S RECAP:

 

A personal profile overview, also known as a personal statement, is a summary of your career. This short intro paragraph at the top of your resume displays who you are and what you can bring to the table in a concise, engaging and effective way.

 

To start a resume on the right foot, this short section should provide readers with answers to the following questions:

  • How many years of experience do you have in the field?

  • What relevant industries have you worked in?

  • What are your areas of expertise?

  • What relevant/transferable skills can you offer?

  • What personal qualities do you have that are relevant to the job?

  • What have you achieved in your previous jobs?

It also needs to be tailored to the job and filled with keywords that speak to your skills and position you as an expert in the field.

 

When done correctly, this part of a resume skyrockets the effectiveness of a resume and success in a job search.

 

Do you need any help with your personal statement? Interested in having someone review it and suggest potential improvements? Send us a message. Or book a FREE coaching call with our job search experts and have all your resume questions answered in 30 minutes.

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