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How to add the perfect personal statement to your CV

Everyone knows that first impressions matter. So consider what the first impression of your CV is for the recruitment person in your favourite ethical organisation when they open your job application.

One way to make a great first impression is to open your CV with a ‘personal statement’ (also called a ‘summary statement’) – a short summary of who you are that shows your potential employer why you’re a great match for the job.

It’s a little like the ‘trailer’ of your career before the reader watches the full feature film.

And like a lot of things in your CV, it should be updated for each new job you’re applying for so that it matches that role’s specific selection criteria and the organisation’s needs.

So how do you condense a lifetime of experience and a pitch for how perfect you are for a role into just 50-200 words? The trick is to break the statement down into three sections:

Who you are?

When explaining who you are to a potential employer it’s important to highlight your relevant experience so that they can see exactly how your core skills will fit with the role they’re recruiting for.

For example if you’re applying for a disability job you might say:

“As a recent graduate of an Advanced Diploma of Disability, I’m a passionate disability worker with experience as an intern at disability service organisations including Independence Australia and Centacare.”

This statement clearly shows that not only are you qualified for the role but that you also have some industry experience.

What you can bring to that organisation/role?

This is where you should mention any unique or specific skills you have or provide details of experience you’ve gained through past roles, for example:

“I have a number of years experience as a carer for a young person with autism. As an intern at Independence Australia I gained additional experience working with young adults with an intellectual disability, as well as developing successful working relationships with other staff and parents.”

What is your career goal?

Make it clear exactly why you want this role by showing that your career goals match what the organisation is looking for:

“I am passionate about disability service, and I’m excited to begin a career in a not-for-profit disability organisation that will allow me to grow personally and professionally.”

A few more tips

As well as following the above format here are some other quick tips to help write a winning personal statement:

  • Stick to first-person perspective using words like ‘I’ instead of referring to yourself in the third person – this makes it more personal and direct. But also think about ways to begin the statement that aren’t ‘I . . .’ as this can make your statement read like a list.
  • Keep it short and to the point – between about 50 and 200 words.
  • Keep it punchy and informative – if you think there are more detailed or interesting things to say about your career that don’t quite fit in the personal statement, save them for your cover letter.
  • Read your profile out loud to make sure that it makes sense and flows well.

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