Personal profiles: What NOT to do


A personal profile or personal statement is a short introductory paragraph to your CV in which you describe who you are, what your strengths and skills are and what you are looking for. As straightforward as this might seem, the personal profile can still be quite tricky to get right and, since it sits at the top of your CV, there is a lot at stake.

Here’s what you should avoid at all costs if you want the person reading your CV to carry on doing so:

1. Too short
‘Recent Social Studies graduate looking for a new challenge.’

Your personal statement should ideally be around 4-6 lines long. Not only is the above example too short, it also hardly tells the reader anything at all. You want to relate the most pertinent information about yourself, emphasising skills, experience and ambitions that are relevant to the role you’re applying to.

2. Too generic
‘Self-motivated and dedicated HR manager. Born leader with a commercial focus who’s passionate about finding solutions and has a proven track record of performance management.’

The use of buzzwords like ‘self-motivated’ isn’t just cringe-worthy – would you talk about yourself like that in real life? – it also doesn’t prove anything to a hiring manager. Provide them with more tangible evidence of your skills and achievements by giving examples of when you excelled in the past; when and how did you make a positive impact or inspire positive change?

3. Flawed formatting
‘Ambitious junior developer with a strong academic background and experience in:

Mobile applications
Areas of expertise

The purpose of your personal profile is to give the reader a quick glance into what you’re all about. See it as your written elevator pitch; you only have a few seconds to impress. Clear formatting is therefore key. Avoid creating one lengthy block of text or situations like the one above: use bullet points and bolding to organise the information.

4. Messy
‘Recent Creative Writing graduate with excellent research and comunication skills and a keen eye for detail. My love for reading and experience working for the Student Paper have helped me to develop my communication skills and good at working in a team environment.’

Typos, grammatical mistakes and repetition are all a big no-no, and the above example has all of them. Always check your CV before you send it or ask a friend to look it over – chances are they spot something you haven’t.

5. Exaggerated
‘My friends call me the Count of Content: I am a born writer whose eloquence of speech is only trumped by the power of my pen. I’ve won multiple prizes for my poetry and have an impressive Twitter following.’

Bragging is unlikely to make you a high-scorer when it comes to the likability factor. Moreover, it will probably make recruiters question your ability to work effectively in a team. If you achieved something noteworthy, mention it, but stay modest; your triumphs will speak for themselves.

A personal profile is not a core CV requirement – certainly if you don’t have that much experience to mention, leaving it out might be the most logical option, but many recruiters expect one and the more personal you can make it, the better. If you feel strongly about the importance of certain skills or achievements, for example, mention them – a little passion can go a long way.

The key to a powerful statement is authenticity with a heavy dose of relevance to the role you’re applying for. Let them know who you are and why they should hire you…without saying ‘you should hire me because…’. A strong statement can be the key to application success, but make sure you do it right because a weak profile will have the opposite effect.

Source: HN Global