Should you include a personal statement on your CV?

Short answer: only if it is doing something useful.

Space on your CV is at a premium so goes without saying that you should only include words that are doing something, right? Too many job applicants still include a personal profile or statement that does nothing for the strength of their application. As an applications adviser I often advise those students to delete the section altogether. Or, re-write it so that it is adding something useful.

The problem is not the existence of the section itself, it is to do with the way the section has been written. There is something cringe worthy about a statement that talks in the third person, for instance. Do you write the rest of your CV in the third person?*

Another common mistake is to use the section very generally. If you are demanding the reader’s attention at the very top of your CV, it had better be good! General claims such as “a committed and passionate law graduate with excellent attention detail” add no value to your CV as they offer no evidence. If it is important to show these attributes, be specific about it and include the evidence for your claims e.g.: “a committed and passionate law graduate, with six years legal work experience and first class results in X and Y [relevant] modules. Excellent attention to detail developed/proven/evidenced/shown through…”.  You get the idea.

If you can’t think of anything specific to write and feel that your statement is liable to repeat claims that are better made further down your CV, leave it out altogether. If you are struggling to know how to structure your CV, book an appointment to see me or one of my colleagues at the Careers & Enterprise Centre.

Helene Tyrrell

Application Adviser

QMUL Careers & Enterprise Centre

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