Personal Statement: Dos And Don’ts

Not sure why your Resume’s letting you down? It could be as simple as changing the first few sentences…

Writing a personal statement for your Resume can be tough, especially if you haven’t written one before. Even if you do have experience of creating a Resume, never underestimate the importance of your statement. It is often the first thing a hiring manager sees on your Resume, and a bad one can, quite simply, be the difference between a recruiter reading your Resume or rejecting it.

We’ve covered the basics of how to write a personal statement. But to make sure you’re suitably practiced and prepared, here’s our list of dos and don’ts:

 

Do

1. Get straight to the point – A good personal statement is not just informative, it’s also succinct and concise. So try keeping it between 100 and 200 words for maximum impact.

2. Make sure you answer the key questions – Who are you? What can you bring to the role? And what is your career goal? Structure your statement using these as a guideline and that way you’ll ensure you maintain your focus throughout.

3. Add value –When answering the above questions, always attempt to be specific. Quantifying achievements such as ‘Increased revenue’ by adding, for example, ‘by x amount’, is much more impactful than merely hinting at your success, adding value to your statement and helping to enhance your credibility.

4. Avoid clichés – Just as with the rest of your Resume, the more personal you can make it, the better. It’s difficult to stand out from the crowd when you fall back on the overused attributes that hiring managers will probably see scores of times a day (we’re looking at you, ‘A great team player’).

5. Use the job description – A key part of writing your personal statement is being able to put across to employers what skills you currently possess that would make you perfect for the role. Struggling to think of the right ones? Surprisingly, most of them have already been given to you in the job description. Utilise it properly and you instantly become a more appealing candidate.

 

Other things to do: Use some of the following words or phrases – successfully, developed, proven, track-record, experienced, delivering results.

Don’t

1. Be too generic – It might take a little more time to tailor your statement to each position, but your Resume will be much more effective as a result, making it time well spent in the long-run.

2. Focus on yourself – It can be tempting to focus on the attributes you have, and where you want to go in your career. However, the best personal statements also explain to the hiring manager what skills you would bring to the company and what you can offer them that no other candidate can.

3. Confuse it with your cover letter – Your personal statement is meant as a brief introduction, so keep it that way. Small representations of your success (e.g. a Financial Analyst with eight years’ experience) are necessary, but keep examples brief. Use your cover letter and employment history to elaborate on your achievements and your personal statement to grab their attention. Don’t get confused between the two.

4. Think of it as a list – ‘I am experienced. I am qualified. I am a good communicator. I just choose to write every sentence like this…’ Don’t feel confined to list everything you have ever done or every attribute you have and, similarly, don’t feel restricted to start every sentence with ‘I’. The recruiter knows who the Resume is about.

5. Forget to read it out loud  – Read it. Read it again. Get your friends and family to read it. And, most importantly, read it out loud and make sure it flows. Not only do you want it to impress the employer in terms of your achievements, you also want it to be well-written. Making sure it flows is a vital part of the process.

 

Other things not to do: Confuse tenses, forget to spellcheck, make it too personal, speak in colloquialisms, use the phrase YOLO.

 Courtesy of Michael Cheary

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