Should a Personal Statement/Profile be included on a CV?

By Chris Cutting – CV Adviser

Should a personal statement/ profile be included on a CV and what should it comprise of? As a recruiter and CV Adviser I get asked this frequently. The short answer is that omitting it is alright, other than when specifically requested. If you include a statement/ profile, then it merits careful consideration. The principle for all aspects of a CV apply, there must be a clear rationale for its presence. As outlined in the last blog, Do Hobbies Have a Place on My CV, your personal statement can be used similarly to underline your achievements, skills and personal/ professional qualities. It should be an attention grabber and exciting preview of what’s to come in the CV. 

Attention Grabber

As the first section of the CV to be read, the statement must be an effective attention grabber and a brief four to five line summary. It needs to achieve two things; whet the desire of a recruiter to read more, and help set up a predisposition in the recruiter’s mind to include your CV on the “Yes” pile. Recruiters can be a cynical lot, especially about claims made in personal statements. So you need to convey that these claims can be substantiated, making the CV and statement integral. How is this done?

Substantiating the Personal Statement

The personal statement focuses on positive aspects of your qualities, achievements and experience. However it is just your personal opinion and for this reason the cynic in the recruiter is likely to respond with “Yeah right!”. Without going into detail for all aspects of the personal statement, a brief example and analysis may be useful to show how a personal statement can be made more effective in conveying more than just personal opinion, but something concrete and verifiable.

“A high achiever who is results oriented, ambitious and a team player……” It sounds impressive but is likely to be glossed over unless you indicate substantiation is to follow. Everyone uses the same clichés and not illustrating your claims with examples creates a dissonance and therefore doubt over the statement. It can be strengthened by qualifying the descriptors to indicate verification will follow as in this reworking.

 “A high achiever who completes objectives successfully” supported by examples of measurable objectives completed “and is results oriented with focus on Key Performance Indicators” achievements listed in the CV should be accompanied by key metrics illustrating the level of improvement made and expressed in terms of actual values or percentages.

An ambitious individual who constantly strives to develop” show examples of promotion and new skills learned “and a team player that is highly regarded as expressed by peers, managers and workers” – examples of compliments/ rewards from managers, peers and subordinates illustrating jobs well done, staff developed and staff loyalty. This reaffirms your statement in the CV and will cause a recruiter to want to read more.

As outlined, your claims need to be verifiable by relating to specific examples of achievements and responsibilities. When reading your personal statement together with the CV a recruiter will see that your statement is backed up by actual behaviour and therefore the claims are concrete. The opening statement now reads “A high achiever who completes objectives successfully and is results oriented with focus on Key Performance Indicators. An ambitious individual who constantly strives to develop and a team player that is highly regarded as expressed by peers, managers and workers……”

If you need advice on how to make the best out of your CV, check out the CV Advisor website here.