Punchy Personal Profiles

Whether you are seeking a new job or hoping to get a place in further education, there is one requisite for all applications: a personal profile. It’s sometimes called a Personal Statement or a Career Profile or Personal Profile, but it’s all the same thing: a short synopsis highlighting your unique abilities and integral to CV writing.

A personal profile is normally formatted as a paragraph or bullet points that sits at the top of your CV. In the case of an application form, there will be a box assigned just for your personal profile. A personal profile always needs to be short and to the point. Most applications will limit your personal profile – sometimes to 100 or 200 words, but in a CV it should never be longer than 5 or 6 lines or maximum 5 bullet points.

A personal profile can make or break your CV. It’s the first thing a recruiter will read before deciding to read on or chuck your CV onto the reject pile. So it’s essential that it grabs the recruiter’s attention immediately.

Some people say personal profiles can come across as pompous and that they really aren’t necessary because the same information is included in your covering letter. My advice is that personal profiles should be included in CVs because covering letters can get lost or separated from your CV, or in the case of organisations using scanning software, often CVs are scanned in but covering letters are not.

So how do you go about composing your personal profile? Ideally a personal profile should be job led. In other words it might be phrased differently for each position you apply for. In practice, most people don’t have time to adjust their personal profiles. A profile is a selling tool and used to sell your unique qualities and skills. Begin by thinking through the following:

  • What are the key messages you want to convey to the employer?
  • Who are you?
  • What are the three main strengths relevant to the job you are applying for?
  • What will you bring to the table or how will the company benefit from employing you?
  • What is your career aim?

Avoid buzzwords. Or if you must use them, link them to specific experience. For instance do not say, ‘A results-oriented, dynamic team player with a proven track record in sales.’ That sentence could describe everyone and anyone. It’s so generic, it’s meaningless, and believe me – every recruiter will have seen those words a thousand times over! If you want to use these words, make them specific to you, use facts and figures to make the statements more tangible. Make sure you stand out from the competition.

Miranda is an expert in CV Writing and interview training. She has a degree in Law, a Masters in Writing and years of experience in recruitment, human resources and general management.

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