Personal profiles: DOs and DON’Ts

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A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, is a short introductory paragraph that sits at the top of your CV, describing who you are, what you have to offer and what you are looking for.

It’s a way of grabbing the attention of time-squeezed hiring managers, encouraging them to read the rest of your CV. As such, your personal profile has the potential to make or break your application; any uninspired, non-descript waffling will ensure you end up in the ‘no’ pile, so it’s important that you get it right.

Here are our top DOs and DON’Ts for writing a successful personal profile.

DO

Keep it short
With only a few seconds to impress it’s important that you keep things brief and to the point. Aim for no more than 5-6 lines in which you:

1. Introduce yourself and discuss your relevant experience.
2. Set out what you can offer the employer, describing your strengths and skills.
3. Discuss what you’re looking for and what you’d like to achieve.

Provide evidence of your skills and experience
Simply rehashing the different entries from your CV’s work experience section is not going to impress a hiring manager or provide them with anything of added value. Be specific and add examples of when you demonstrated certain skills or how you benefited from a certain experience. So instead of simply saying that you have ‘excellent communication skills’, say something like ‘excellent communication skills gained in charity fundraising.’

Tailor it to the role
Hiring managers will be on the lookout for certain keywords indicating your suitability for the job, so make sure you adapt your personal profile to be specific to the role you’re applying to. Highlight those skills that are relevant to the role, using the job description as your point of reference. Also, consider the tone of the job ad and try to stay close to this in your statement.

DON’T

Copy/paste
Your personal profile is all about your experience and skills, so simply copying and pasting someone else’s will never do you justice. While looking at examples of profiles online might be helpful, it’s important that you stay authentic. Don’t copy elements of your cover letter either as this will only make you appear lazy and unprofessional.

Be afraid to make it personal
That little bit of personality that you let shine through in your personal statement might be exactly what a hiring manager is looking for. Just remember they are hiring the whole of you, not just your key achievements, skills and experience. So don’t hesitate to mention personal attributes and strengths – as long as they’re relevant! – it could set you apart from others.

Be generic
‘Self-motivated team player with a hands-on attitude’ and other variants of this generic, non-descript phrase are still widely used, despite most hiring managers being immune to them. These buzzword-heavy phrases say almost nothing about a candidate, except perhaps that they lack imagination. Choose your words wisely so that they effectively yet concisely capture the essence of who you are and what you can do.

The important thing to remember when you are crafting your personal profile is to be authentic, meaningful, and brief. Just like your elevator pitch, it presents an opportunity to quickly grab the hiring managers attention; ultimately, it could be your ticket to an interview.

Source: HN Global.