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Written by Rolf BaxRolf Bax

How to write a CV personal statement

15 min read
How to write a CV personal statement
Build a powerful personal statement and leave a positive first impression with our actionable advice and professional personal statement examples. Seal the deal to success and start your journey towards a job-winning CV today!

Think of your personal statement as your professional introduction – brief yet striking, the personal statement offers a snapshot into who you are as a professional and your career aspirations. A great CV personal statement sets the stage for your CV, and allows employers to understand what makes you unique and why your job application matters. Aim to engage employers with your personal statement, piquing their interest to explore your application further. But what’s the key to crafting a personal statement that’s genuine and stands out to an employer? 

How to format a personal statement 

The personal statement is a short paragraph that sits right underneath your CV header. It gives insight into your work experience, your career goals, skills and accomplishments. Think of it as a catchy tagline that summarises your work life. Your personal statement on a CV should typically includes:

Example

“Analytical, innovative and experienced civil engineer with over eight years working in the engineering sector. Committed to designing and constructing safe and stunning structures to improve the lives of clients and communities. Highly-skilled in a range of important civil engineering skills, including project management skills, engineering software skills and an understanding of hydraulic systems. Passionate about building a better Ireland and a better world.”

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The above example has a hook that distinctly and succinctly illustrates why the candidate is a great fit for the civil engineering role. In this personal statement example, the candidate avoids using "I” to help foster a sense of collaboration. It's important to remember that your personal statement should be no more than 200 words, or 3-5 sentences. While this may seem challenging, being able to condense your professional prowess proves you know what makes you suited for the role. 

Tailoring your personal statement to match the job description

Employers usually craft job descriptions with precision, selecting requirements with both purpose and intention. For this reason, be sure to examine the language used in the job description, any emphasised skills, and any subtext describing their ideal candidate. A top tip from our career professionals is to weave in relevant keywords from the job description, ensuring that you mention any specific terms used and the job title itself. 

Ultimately, your CV's personal statement should mirror the job description while staying true to your professional background. By reflecting the job's requirements and language in the opening sentences of your CV, aim to resonate with recruiters as if you've stepped right out of their ideal candidate profile. 

How to position the personal statement

Recruiters like to see your contact information at the top, or on the side, of your CV. It helps them quickly spot you in the pile of successful CVs sorted by their computer programs. Position your personal statement right after your contact details but before your employment history section. Keep an eye on the length of your CV, too! You want to stick to the rule of keeping your CV to 1-2 pages.

Expert tip

Stick to a max of 200 words, but remember: a single, impactful sentence can make a lasting impression on employers throughout the interview journey. Less can be more.

Write your CV personal statement last

If you're stuck on how to start, don't sweat it. Jump ahead to your employment history section first. Once that's down, you can borrow the skills and key terms you’ve used when describing your previous job roles. Think of your work history and the job you're applying for as the building blocks for your personal statement. What responsibilities did you have in your previous job roles, and what skills did you learn that may be relevant to include in your personal statement? Tackle this section last, and you'll often find the words come easier with everything else in place. 

Expert tip

Think about mixing together what you're great at, what gets you excited about working, and how all that fits into where you want to go in your career. Always be honest about your professional background, but remember to add a sprinkle of creativity so your past experiences shine a light on your future. It's like telling the story of your career with a twist that points straight to your dreams. 

Check out these effective personal statement examples

Each of us is wonderfully different, with a mix of talents and stories that no one else has – and your personal statement should be a high-five to that originality. It's a good idea to avoid the temptation to recycle someone else's words. Try to think of your personal statement as your opportunity to let your unique flair come to life. Imagine creating something so authentically "you" that your pals would nod and say, “Yep, that has you written all over it!” 

Before you begin writing your personal CV statement, check out our collection of personal statement examples to get a sense of different styles and formats: 

Example

“Proactive Administrative Assistant with over 12 years of hands-on experience supporting executives at a leading Dublin-based financial institution. Skillfully managed complex itineraries, extensive expense reports, and synchronised communications and schedules across multiple business units. Eager to bring my refined office management expertise and sharp problem-solving abilities to an Executive Assistant position at CVapp.ie, where resourcefulness and dedication to efficiency are highly valued, especially in fast-paced, deadline-driven settings."

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The above example achieves the following:

  • States their title in the first sentence, e.g. Administrative Assistant
  • Includes specific details, e.g. the name of the company they’re applying to, the position they’re applying for, and years spent in the industry
  • Succinctly sums up major responsibilities and skills
  • Highlights hard skills—experience arranging travel and expense reports—as well as soft skills such as resourcefulness and efficiency
  • Personalised to resonate with the goals and job description of the company

Here are some more great CV personal statement examples: 

Example

”Experienced Digital Marketing Manager with five years experience spearheading innovative marketing strategies that boosted inbound leads by an astounding 250%. Propelled online sales from €100,000 to more than €2 million within just three years. Keen to leverage my skills and propel my career forward as part of CVapp.ie marketing team and contribute to company success.” 

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Copyable

Savvy Social Media Manager with a decade of experience in B2C and B2B marketing. Proven success in expanding social reach, increasing client base by 35, and growing followers by 120%. Seeking a Marketing Manager role to leverage robust social media expertise in a broader marketing strategy and leadership capacity.

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These examples are effective, direct, and centred on achievements while avoiding the use of "I". Again, the applicant has included important details such as their title and years spent in the industry, as well as key accomplishments substantiated with numbers to help demonstrate their impact.

Now, let's examine an example that's not so effective:

Copyable

“I’ve worked as a Digital Marketing Manager for five years. During this time I have been an important and hard-working member of the team and a self-starter. I have shown that I work well under pressure and I’d like to use my skills for a new role in digital marketing at your company.”

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The example above lacks specific details and fails to showcase any notable accomplishments. Additionally, the frequent use of "I" can come across as overly self-focused, rather than demonstrating an understanding of how your contributions benefit the team or company. It's important to strike a balance by actively describing your achievements and the potential value you can bring to the table. 

The next personal statement focuses on career goals, which is helpful if you're just starting out or a recent graduate without much professional experience. Remember to highlight your skills to show you're a good fit for the job. 

Copyable

”Copywriter with six years experience in a large e-commerce company. Produced content that grew brand social presence to over 700,000 followers across three channels and improved email open rates by 48%. Looking to further career by joining CVapp.ie as an SEO Assistant.”

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Notice how this personal statement example highlights transferable skills? By combining these skills with specific figures, the statement becomes much more compelling and interesting to read.

Now, let’s take a look at one more less-effective personal statement example:

Copyable

“I’m a copywriter looking to secure work as an SEO Executive. I don’t have much experience in the industry but I am a quick learner and a self-starter. I’m great at using Google and can help CVapp.ie with their goals.”

Copied!

This example is vague and fails to effectively market your adaptable skills. Regardless of the type of introductory statement you choose, remember to include numerical data to help leave a great first impression.

Expert tip

Here are three essential guidelines for crafting an effective personal statement:

  • Infuse your personal statement with a sense of your unique character. Let your individuality shine through your words
  • Provide measurable evidence of your achievements, incorporating facts and figures where relevant
  • In times of professional transition, try to articulate your objectives and aspirations for the future

What makes a weak personal statement?

There are some mistakes applicants can make that can put their job application at risk. Steer clear of overused expressions or buzzwords that have lost their impact through repetition. Such clichés only prompt recruiters to skip ahead to the next applicant. When it comes to your personal statement, it’s important to strive for authenticity in your language. Feedback can also be a valuable resource, so feel free to enlist the help of a friend or relative to proofread your personal statement.

Expert tip

You might see the personal statement labeled as a 'professional summary' in some CV formats, while other templates might skip the title altogether. Don't sweat it—employers typically anticipate that the first few lines of a CV will act as your professional headline.  

What do employers want to see in your CV personal statement?

Switch perspectives and view your CV through the lens of recruiters who are inundated with CVs, and want to be engaged with your first opening sentences. Ensure your CV's introduction is specifically tailored to resonate with them, and try to demonstrate your impact with clear metrics—abstract claims won't suffice! Remember, a lacklustre first impression suggests the role might not be your perfect match; it’s better to focus where your skills and experiences shine. Try your best to achieve the following:

  • Tailor your CV's personal statement to engage the hiring manager, aiming for an immediate, personal connection
  • Make a memorable impression: your opening should compel the employer to see you as a standout candidate for the role
  • Include measurable outcomes in your personal statement—quantify achievements to give substance to your skills and impact

Key takeaways

Your personal statement is a powerful tool that can leave a good impression on employers right from the start. Think of your personal statement as your professional introduction, a way to tell employers who you are and what you stand for in a simple, clear manner. When written well, your personal statement captures your professional essence and strengths, making people remember you for all the right reasons. 

Remember, your CV personal statement should ideally include:

  • A genuine and professional tone that accurately mirrors who you are
  • Key reasons why your professional background is a perfect match for the job role
  • How the role and job description are in sync with your long-term career objectives
  • Concrete evidence and statistics that substantiate and support your claims

To create a truly powerful CV that both impresses and engages employers, be sure to check out more professional personal statement examples on the cvapp.ie website! With an expert-approved online CV builder and expert-approved career advice, your job-winning CV is just a few clicks away!

Craft a compelling CV in minutes
Craft a compelling CV in minutes
Use expert-approved, professional CV templates built to engage your prospective employers
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Craft a compelling CV in minutes
Craft a compelling CV in minutes
Use expert-approved, professional CV templates built to engage your prospective employers
Create My CV
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