Personal Statements

Unique Selling Proposition / Unique Selling Point / USP

Image Details: Unique Selling Point by photosteve101, via Flickr

A personal statement is a paragraph at the top of your CV that summarises where you are at the moment, what you want to do and when.  It also highlights your skills, successes and achievements so a potential employer can see why you are the person for the job.  It is sometimes known as a profile or career summary.  A personal statement is a marketing tool and can help to make you stand out from the crowd to a potential employer.  It’s all about self-marketing!

The trouble is, writing about yourself in this way is really tricky.  Most of us will not naturally know why we are employable and what’s great about us.  So here are a few tips to help you write a job-winning personal statement…

  • Get a friend to help identify your strengths.
  • Write down some key words and build sentences around them.
  • Don’t start every sentence with ‘I’.
  • Identify your transferable skills, for example if you play sport, you are used to working in a team, and this also applies to an office job.
  • Don’t waffle – edit ruthlessly.
  • Try not to use too many standard phrases such as ‘I am a good team player’; you want to stand out.
  • Remember you may need to adapt your personal statement to each job that you apply for.
  • Write your CV then your personal statement afterwards, reviewing your CV may help you pick out key points for your statement.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread … and then get someone else to proofread!  If there are errors in your personal statement the reader may not bother looking at the rest of your CV.

Useful links….

How to write a personal statement (Guardian Careers)

Make a personal statement (CV Inside)

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