How to Write an Effective Personal Statement

Your Curriculum Vitae is your employer’s window into your world, it is your opportunity to sell yourself to the best of your ability and ensure that your potential employer wants to read on. The opening paragraph of your CV is your personal statement and needs to consist of approximately fifty words that sell you and your skills set to the highest possible degree. It must make an employer want to pick up the phone and meet you.

You need to individualize your skills set and do not use standard statements that the employer has seen a million times before e.g. I have good computer skills. What specific skills do you have? What qualifications do you have to back them up? How have you used them effectively in an office environment? You want the employer to visualize how these skills will fit in to his company and how he can see them being utilized most effectively.

To elaborate more on this topic please read the following example:

‘I have a vast amount of experience of working with other people and I am very experienced at working as part of a team. I work well under pressure and I am highly ambitious and driven.’

This is a very generic statement that any employer will have read a thousand times before. What the employer wants to really know is. Where did you gain your experience of working with other people? Have you led a team? How many people have you typically worked with? What sort of projects were you involved in? What kind of results did you achieve? How does your CV prove that you are ambitious and driven?

A more specific personal statement would read as follows:

‘My experience to date has included heading a team of 15 and through my encouragement and use of effective people skills combined with my management capabilities Celltop IT Products doubled the sale of laptops last year.  Subsequently I was even more privileged when I won Sales Manager of the year 2008.’

This shows that the candidate is used to Managing staff and that his Management skills were successful enough to double sales and that his company was sufficiently impressed to award him for his hard work.

There are a few more points to always consider such as never start every sentence with ‘I’ as this doesn’t read well. Always acknowledge your audience i.e., mention the company’s name this will resonate with them on a more personal level. Always be specific about why you are the right candidate by giving examples of your past experience rather than making generic statements. Edit consistently and always be ruthless about what to include and omit.