4 steps to writing punchy personal statements

coverletterDo you use a personal statement in your CV? Is your personal statement punchy enough to entice the reader to learn more about what you have done in your career?

If the answer is “yes” you can skip reading and share your personal tips with us on our blog, if not you could probably find some good advice in the next few lines.

By the way, how could a personal statement make a difference in a CV?

Well, did you know that in most cases a recruiter will not spend more than 30 to 60 seconds reading your CV? Your personal statement should usually be placed in the upper part of your CV and is mostlikel y to be the first bit of information a recruiter will read.

A punchy personal statement is a great opportunity to stand out and to draw attention to the rest of your CV. If you miss this one, there’s a good chance your CV will fall into the “delete” folder.

Writing a punchy personal statement is easy, all you need to do is write a few lines answering four essential questions you will find here below.

Be specific, use clear words and short sentences; all in all don’t write more than 4 to 6 lines.

Keep in mind that being ready to write a personal statement implies that you have already gone through your self-assessment and you are fully aware of your values, interests, strengths and where you want to be in your next career step.

So what are these famous four questions to guide you when writing your personal statement?

  1. Who am I? Without getting into too many details, try to summarize, in a few words, what your unique attributes are and those that differentiate you from other candidates. For example: “I am an enthusiastic young graduate with a passion for excellence in customer service….”
  2. What do I want to do? This relates to the type of role that you are looking for and how you could contribute to it. For example: “I am looking for en entry level position where I could use my knowledge in (a particular field)….. to (contribute in a certain way)….”
  3. Where do I want to do it? Say a few words that describe the type of environment you would like to be in. For example: non-for profit organisation, large multinational companies in the private sector, start-up, market leaders, international or local environment. You could even define the type of environment by setting some values, for example: working for a well-established organisation that values people as their key success factor.
  4. Why do I want to do it? This is about what you are trying to achieve as a personal objective and why you have an interest in it. For example: grow experience in a certain field, learn about a specific product, service or industry, build a specific set of competencies, etc.

This is an example of how you could answer the above questions and define your personal statement:

I am a graduate in International Relations with a passion to deal with people and solve conflicts. Thanks to my family background, I have experience living in a number of different African countries and a good understanding of local cultures. My aim is to integrate within a large non-for profit organisation, in a field-based role, using my cultural background and conflict management training to support local teams.

OR

I am a Marketing Product Manager with experience in the fashion industry and have worked for numerous well-known luxury brands across Europe. I am looking to grow my career into a new marketing role, working for an affirmed market leader in the luxury goods industry where I can contribute to the promotion of new initiatives and markets.

I hope that you found our article useful and that you will share it with many of your friends who may be interested. Please leave a comment on our blog or feel free to suggest any other topics that you would be interested to hear about in the future.

Are you struggling to get your CV noticed? Are you receiving rejections instead of interview invitations? iwantmycareer.com’s co-founders, Natalie and Enrica, are hosting a FREE Recruitment Insider webinar on “How to get your CV shortlisted for interview” on Monday 24 February 2014 at

1pm CET (UTC+1). Click here to register.