Opinion

5 top tips to making your personal statement stand out

Are you applying for jobs in the East of England at the moment? Don’t forget to give your CV a good polish first. In fact, one of your priorities could be adding a personal statement to the top of the document – it could give you that all-important edge over other candidates.

Your personal statement, is your opportunity to grab an employer’s attention with a round-up of your relevant key skills and experience, and your professional aims.

A personal statement is a very effective method in making your CV stand apart from the others. That’s not a bad thing when you consider that recruiters can receive hundreds of applications for each vacancy. Fitting in all of the relevant information while sticking to one paragraph (between 50 and 150 words) isn’t easy! 

Here are some tried and tested tips would help you tackle this challenge.

Be relevant

To be really effective, your statement must be tailored to the job description. Before you start, identify the attributes that the employer is looking for. Go through your career history and pick out moments where you have demonstrated the required skills and qualities. Let’s say, for instance, the job requires excellent organisational and communication skills. As luck would have it, you have already managed a project and co-ordinated multiple tasks between colleagues. Include experience like this in your statement. If there’s not enough space to include all of the key skills, narrow your focus to your strengths or the essential requirements for the new job.

Your future aims

You need to sew together your past achievements with what you would like to achieve in your next role, mentioning the challenges you are hoping to experience in the new job. Envisioning the personal statement as two parts will help you structure the paragraph.

Make each word count

Ironically, writing a short, punchy summary can often be harder than writing longer text. The personal statement is no exception. To make it easy-to-read, while also making it informative and persuasive, you need to make every word count. This is where planning comes in. If you find yourself rambling, ask yourself “does the employer absolutely need to know this?”. If the answer is no, then perhaps do not include it.. Don’t be too wordy or too clichéd, and keep sentences short so busy recruiters can scan-read your statement to get an initial impression of your suitability.

Let it flow

Writing a snappy personal statement isn’t just about the structure – your use of language has an impact too. Always written in the first person (“I”, not “he” or “she”), the text needs to flow. You can achieve this by avoiding repetition, by beginning sentences differently, and by using punctuation to break up sentences. Search on Google for examples of personal statements – a good one flows effortlessly yet the writer probably put a lot of work into it. Try to analyse what the writer has done and copy their methods (but not their words!).

Proofreading is a must

Perhaps this goes without saying, but proofreading is so important. When you’ve completed the statement, read it through a few times, making tweaks as you go. Another trick is asking someone else to read it - a fresh pair of eyes can pick up errors that you, the writer, may miss.

Whether you’re new to the job market or a more experienced professional, a well thought-through and clearly written personal statement can help swing the recruitment process in your favour. A little extra work can go a long way, but if you’d like more advice, call 01223 209888 for a chat with one of Pure's consultants.