What's a personal statement, and why do you need one when you're job searching? A job search personal statement is a place to share why you're interested in a position and why you're a good match. In your statement, you can get a bit personal — use the space to share details and insights about yourself, and forge a connection with potential employers. Here are some tips on how to write a successful personal statement that will further your job search.
Different Types of Personal Statements
A personal statement may be included in your curriculum vitae or CV. Much like an in-person elevator speech or the summary section within a resume, a CV personal statement highlights your objectives and abilities. Since a CV may stretch over several pages, this allows you to showcase must-see details from within the document. You'll want to write just a few sentences for a personal statement in a CV.
Or, you may need to write a personal statement as part of a job application. This helps hiring managers to separate out candidates applying for every job in a category (e.g., putting in applications for any "production manager" position) from more engaged candidates, who are interested in the company.
Write something that matches the application's requested word count; if one isn't provided, aim for 250 to 500 words. Regardless of where it appears, your goal in a personal statement is the same: try to connect your background and goals with the job at hand.
What You Should Include
In your personal statement, you want to make a connection between yourself and the position. Think of this as a three-part process:
- Share Some Details About Yourself: Who are you? You may say things like "Highly seasoned production manager" or "Recent graduate with honors."
- Highlight Your Most Relevant Experience and Talents and Share What You'd Bring to the Company: Think: "Strong, speedy writer capable of crafting ad copy that engages and enchants." or "In my years as a project manager, I've never let a detail slip; I've won internal awards for the best team player. My projects release on time and match requested specifications."
- Provide a Bit of Information About Your Career Goals: For instance, "Looking for a staff writer position" or "Eager for placement in a mid-sized firm as an audit supervisor" or "Seeking a position as a production assistant to further develop my skills in television and put my time management abilities to the test."
While it's called a personal statement, avoid over-sharing. Only include information that's relevant to the job at hand. That is if you're applying for a position as an accountant, no need to mention your goal of becoming a staff writer at a magazine.
Remember, the main goal of your personal statement is for it to further your job search.
Tips for Writing a Job Search Personal Statement
Your personal statement should always be personalized — it's a mistake to reuse the same personal statement for every job you apply for. You don't need to write the personal statement from scratch each time — just make tweaks so it reflects the needs of the company and the qualities requested in the job description.
Here are more tips for writing a successful job search personal statement:
- Know Your Audience: Target your personal statement to a specific job position and company. Spend a bit of time researching the company to get a sense of what they're looking for in a candidate. Decode the job description so you understand the company's needs in a candidate. Take notes on where your qualifications are a good match for the position.
- Make Some Lists: What have you done that employers should know about? Make a list of your accomplishments (and keep in mind that while splashy awards are important, so too is reorganizing a chaotic system that gives everyone hives to make it user-friendly). Brainstorm a list of your talents as well as your soft, communication, and general skills.
- Go Long on Your First Draft—Then Cut It Down: Hopefully, your time spent thinking about the company's needs and what you have to offer has given you plenty of fodder to get started writing your personal statement. At this point, don't worry about length; write as much you want. Then, go back and edit—aim for a few sentences for a CV and around 250 to 500 words in an application. Cut unnecessary words and clichés that don't add meaning. Instead, use action verbs. While it's fine to write in the first person, avoid overusing the word "I." Try to vary the composition of sentences.
- Make It Targeted: You have lots of skills and interests and work experience. What you want to emphasize in one position is not necessarily what you want to highlight in another. If you are qualified as both a writer and an editor, choose which talent to call out in your personal statement—and make it the one that's most relevant to the job you want.
Examples of Personal Statements
Here are some examples of personal statements to use as inspiration:
- I'm a seasoned accountant with CPA and CMA certification and more than 10 years of experience working in large firms. Oversaw audits and a department of ten. My positive attitude and detail-oriented spirit help ensure that month-end financial wrap-ups go smoothly and without any inaccuracies or fire drills. Looking for a leadership role in my next position.
- Recent college graduate with freelance writing experience at major print magazines as well as online outlets and the college newspaper. A strong writer who always meets deadlines, and matches the company tone and voice. In search of a staff writer position and eager to learn the magazine trade from the ground up.
- I'm an award-winning designer in children's clothes looking to make the transition to adult athletic year. At Company X, I developed a new line for toddlers and traveled to Asia to oversee production. I'm a fast learner and am eager for a new challenge in the growing field of athleisure.