A personal statement is a brief, eye catching statement that explains your reasons for applying while highlighting your key skills.
It should be the very first item at the top of your CV and should show that you know about the job you are applying for and why you would be good at it.
You might find this approach useful in other situations too. For example, on an application form there might be a section called ‘Reasons for Applying’.
Always think about how you might tweak your statement when applying for new jobs.
It might seem a little daunting at first but with the help of some examples (see below) you will soon get the hang of it.
It will help to begin by asking yourself these questions:
- what triggered your interest in the job?
- what does the advert or job specification ask for?
- why do you think you would be good at this?
- what do you hope to do in the future?
- what training are you keen to do?
You might want to include information about:
- what you are doing now – for example ‘experienced sales assistant’ or ‘school/college leaver’
- your key skills and strengths
- your background or experience
- what you are aiming for
This bit is important!
When giving your key skills, use one or two words that describe who you are as a person, so employers can get a sense of your personality and your strengths. Use words such as ‘reliable’, ‘friendly’, ‘motivated’, ‘energetic’. Make sure the adjectives are relevant to the job – and always truthful, of course.
It’s also good to use skills keywords that are mentioned in the job ad you’re applying for provided again that it is true!
I am a college leaver who is looking for an apprenticeship in business administration. I have good
IT skills including word processing, email and working with spreadsheets. I am willing to work hard, gain qualifications and build on the general office skills developed through my work experience.
With good basic skills, I am looking for practical work in a wholesale or warehouse situation.
I am a motivated person who is willing to work hard and flexibly and can work alone or in a team. I am keen to learn and succeed.
A hardworking and reliable sixth former with good GCSEs, I am expected to gain C or D grades in my A levels this year and am seeking the opportunity to develop a career in accountancy. Keen to learn and gain qualifications, I always strive to achieve success.
A friendly and energetic person with good people skills looking for an opportunity to work in retail
sales. I am a quick learner, willing to work hard and complete training.
I am a highly motivated school leaver with good basic skills. I am a hard worker and am reliable, punctual and willing to learn. I enjoyed my work experience in a local garden centre and am looking for an apprenticeship in landscape gardening.
by Michael Cheary
OK, so putting a personal statement together is never easy…
But even if you’ve written one before, how you write a personal statement will always depend on your current situation. In other words, what you write as a school leaver will look a lot different to someone who has many years of previous work experience.
To help you find the right one for you, here are some real personal statement examples – and how you can use them to make your CV stand out:
Free CV Template
Download Free CV Template
University personal statement
First things first: personal statements aren’t just for your CV.
They’re also a key part of the UCAS application process, and a way to sell yourself to prospective universities. However, they will be much more detailed – and longer – than the one you write for a job application.
We’ve covered everything you need to know about personal statements for university here.
School leaver personal statement example
All personal statements should be tailored to the role in question. No exceptions.
Start by answering the following three questions: Why do you want to work in this industry? What skills make you right for the role (hint: use the job description)? And where do you want to go in your career?
However, school leavers should always focus on the latter – and what you can bring to the business, as well as focusing on the knowledge and skills gained through education, rather than employment history. Soft skills are also a great place to start.
A highly motivated and hardworking individual, who has recently completed their A-Levels, achieving excellent grades in both Maths and Science. Seeking an apprenticeship in the engineering industry to build upon a keen scientific interest and start a career as a maintenance engineer. Eventual career goal is to become a fully-qualified and experienced maintenance or electrical engineer, with the longer-term aspiration of moving into project management.
School leaver CV template
Graduate personal statement example
Similar to a school leaver personal statement, but with extra attention paid to specific things you’ve studied during higher education.
Once again, try and explain why you’re applying and where you’d like to go in your career, as well as the specific skills or knowledge you can offer. But try and drop in a few more details on your degree (projected grades are fine), as well as particular modules that have inspired you to work in this profession – if possible.
And remember: a personal statement written for a CV differs greatly from one written for a university application. If you haven’t written one before, you should start by reading our tips on how to write a personal statement.
A recent business economics graduate with a 2:1 honours degree from the University of X, looking to secure a Graduate Commercial Analyst position to use and further develop my analytical skills and knowledge in a practical and fast-paced environment. My career goal is to assume a role which allows me to take responsibility for the analysis and interpretation of commercial data for a well-respected and market-leading leading company.
Graduate CV template
Unemployed/redundancy personal statement example
Dealing with redundancy is never easy. But when dealt with in the right way, it needn’t be a hindrance when making applications.
Put the main focus on your employment history, and provide further information for your break in your cover letter. You don’t even necessarily need to mention it again, if you’ve already explained it elsewhere.
Remember, your personal statement is intended to sell yourself. So emphasise your positives rather than apologising for a negative.
Driven Retail Manager with over ten years’ experience in the fashion industry. Proven track record of success, including managing the top performing store in the region, and having the lowest staff turnover rate of all UK outlets. Currently out of work due to company closure, looking for the right opportunity to bring my expertise to a well-established fashion brand in an upper management position.
How to: Deal with redundancy
Redundancy CV template
Career break personal statement example
There are many good reasons someone may need to take a career break.
Some possible examples could include parental leave, caring for a family member, plans to travel or long-term illness. However, whatever the reason for your own break, it’s never something you should feel the need to justify to a prospective employer.
In fact, knowing how to explain a gap in your CV is mostly about confidence. So leave any extra explanation for your cover letter and focus your personal statement on your career before the break – and any skills learned during your time off which may be applicable to the role.
A highly motivated and experienced PA, currently looking to resume my professional career after dedicating the last five years to raising a family. Excellent admin skills, thorough knowledge of all Microsoft Office programs, as well as proficiency in minute-taking and extensive experience liaising with clients. After volunteering for one day a week with a local charity to refresh my skills, now fully committed to continuing my career on a full-time basis.
Career break CV template
Career change personal statement example
If you’re changing industry completely, think about any transferable skills and applicable to the sector you’re moving into.
Any numbers you can give to demonstrate your success could be crucial – even if you’re moving into an area where your expertise may seem slightly different. So always aim to back up your claims with real examples.
Focus on one or two achievements, demonstrate the impact they had, and you’ll instantly start adding value to your application.
As an experienced sales manager, my tenacious and proactive approach resulted in numerous important contract wins. My excellent networking skills have provided my team with vital client leads, and my ability to develop client relationships has resulted in an 18% increase in business renewals for my current organisation. After eight years in sales, currently seeking a new challenge which will utilise my meticulous attention to detail, and friendly, professional manner.
Changing careers: What you need to know
Career change CV template
If you’re still not sure of what to write, don’t panic.
Crafting a winning personal statement will take time, especially if you haven’t written one before. Use these examples as a loose structure to follow, and you’ll be able to add to them as your experience grows.
And remember: you should always aim to edit your personal statement for each role you apply for. That way, you can ensure you’re really selling yourself to their role, rather than simply sending the same generic statement for each application.
It should only take a few more minutes to complete. But if it’s enough to attract an employers interest, it will be time well spent in the long run.
How to write a personal statement
Personal statement dos and don’ts
Read more CV help & tips
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