CV Personal Statement
Made to be Remembered
The success of any application rests on how your CV personal statement comes across to the admissions team. The best marks and results known to man presented poorly will mean you lose your advantage. Remember, you will need to impress with your CV Personal Statement essay before progressing to the interview stage.
This essay is of course formed of two parts, your Curriculum Vitae (C.V. or work life) and your personal statement. You can think of your CV as the factual side of your written application. It contains all the dates and locations of your work experience and work life. Your personal statement on the other hand, is an essay of your personal experiences, achievements and goals. Both are important to get right in your application. This guide will help you present yourself in the best way possible.
Please note that the CV section is aimed at those who need to write a CV Personal Statement combined! If you are applying to university through the UCAS system take a look at our blog here or scroll on down to the section regarding your personal statement. If you want a jump start the EU provides a great interactive online template for those who have never written a basic CV before. Take a look here before coming back to this page for fine tuning and improvements.
Writing your CV personal statement for 2018
In 2018 many other guides will miss out the fact that applications are often read by bots, not humans. This is an effort by big companies and job search websites to cut down on resource usage and save money. Submitting a CV which is confused and of poor quality means the bot may not pick up on your core message. Failing at this first hurdle could mean no one will ever read the rest of your application.
Your list of jobs will be scanned quickly by both human and computer to see the best you have on offer. Any gaps will be noticed and queried, any great claims will be expected to be verified. This curriculum vitae presents to the reader the complete summary of your life’s work in the order that they are interested in it.
Organising Your CV Personal Statement
If you were asked to talk about your job history at interview you would automatically start with your most recent job. If you weren’t overly excited about your current position you might mention your favourite job instead. This is how you will naturally want to lay out a CV personal statement for any type of position. What is recent and relevant to you and your interests is exactly what your future employer wants to hear.
To start off writing your CV go in reverse chronological order. This is the standard you want to follow when forming the base of your CV so the reader can quickly see the details that matter most. If they are still interested they can read further into your background. Bring any standout employment or significant volunteering experience to the top of the page.
Don’t Forget Design
Designing and relaying your CV in a clear fashion will make it easier for humans to understand. This will automatically make it easier for machines to understand too. This is great because it means you don’t have to double your efforts when applying through different platforms. Don’t forget that includes using a standard letter format showing your contact details, email address and a job title! Some advisers might suggest changing around your CV and grouping the jobs into themes or specific jobs roles. This is best to avoid however as it can confuse anyone speed reading your submission.
Newer formats like to showcase a rating or star system for skills but these are completely unconvincing for employers. Not only have you literally made up the scale and the score you’ve recorded, you also should be able to demonstrate this information via your career and responsibilities you have already listed. Feel the need to use one of these scores? Your time would be better spent reviewing your written content and add in missing information.
- Contact details – List these as you would in a standard letter head. Your name, date of birth and any contact details you want to include. Email and telephone are a must and most would expect your home address as well.
- Introduction – Do not overstate this section, try to stay under 150 words. Concisely state who you are and your aspirations for this application and the future.
- Education – Any grades and qualifications you have attained, most recent first.
- Work experience – As described, this should be in reverse chronological order unless you have a stand out work history that you want to highlight. Some description of your role and responsibilities will help the reader rather than just listing job titles with a location.
- Skills / Achievements – This section should definitely be application specific. List your most relevant qualities first before going on to describe more generic roles.
- Interests – If you have specifically been told not to include any cover letter or personal statement it is a good idea to list any strong or unique interests and hobbies here. Think playing an instrument rather than cinema and shopping.
- References – Typing ‘references upon request’ is today’s standard. Don’t chase your referees for references they might not need to provide.
Aside from content, if you are submitting a file yourself rather than just inputting details into an online form you will definitely want to think carefully about style. This is a whole article in itself which we will cover at a later date but for now just know that just like your language you want to stand out. Make sure to do this without exaggerating or coming across as immature.
Never type your CV personal statement directly into an online application form, even if you are applying to university for example and use the UCAS system which doesn’t allow for file uploads. Typing directly into a form robs you of all the security of your usual document editors, including autosave and spelling and grammar checks. Worst of all, accidentally submitting a semi-completed form is the last thing you want to do. There are several online templates you can use like Google Docs, Office and Open Office.
Your Personal Statement Guide
If you are applying to university or are lucky enough to be applying to a course or job which allows a CV personal statement you will want to make sure you leave plenty of time for this section. Your personal statement can raise you above your peers who have a more impressive CV on paper. Below we outline the beginnings of your personal statement to prompt you to start collating all the information required to write the best version of you.
Lots of applicants skimp on this step, either because they think it will be easier than it is or they misunderstand the importance of writing a strong statement. The majority of applicants, whether applying to university or for a job, will find themselves up against stiff competition. Once you have gone to the trouble of gaining the experience or skills required, often the trouble is standing out from the sea of candidates who all seem to be similarly qualified.
Writing a personal statement is more than just listing your best grades from school or describing what you think is your most impressive experience. It is your chance to show the admissions or hiring team why you are the ideal candidate for the role. Despite restraints you need to create a strong and compelling essay. The UCAS university system in the UK expects you to stay within the 4000 character limit. When applying for a job without a word limit they still usually expect one side of A4.
How Can We Help?
Acrosophy has created a free Quick Start PDF guide to help gather your thoughts and plan your personal statement. We provide a clear, easy to follow framework that is easy to build upon, making your essay one that stands out and is unique to you. If you subscribe to our newsletter or become a free member you can download this now. Our weekly updates cover everything from writing your personal statement to interview training and more. Acrosophy members gain access to various specialist eLearning modules, like tailored advice for those writing their medicine personal statement and discounts on our seminars and one to one teaching.