Your personal statement (often called a CV Profile or Personal Profile) is THE most important thing on your CV.

Why? Because it provides your first impression.

It’s your opportunity to GRAB HOLD of the reader’s attention and not let go!

The average recruiter or manager only spends seven to eight seconds reading a CV. 

However, the eyes will linger a little longer on a personal statement as it is right at the top of the page.

This is a PREMIUM space for you to use. So USE IT!

A fantastic personal statement can mean the difference between being accepted or rejected.

In the UK there were 2.8 vacancies per 100 employees.

That means for every three jobs you go for you’re competing against 99 other people.

That small paragraph is vital to securing that interview, by capturing the recruiter’s attention and convincing them to interview you.

Not a University Statement

This article talks about personal statements for CVs only. But I don’t want it to be confused with those used for university applications. 

These are longer, more detailed, and have a different purpose. 

If you’re after great advice on this click here for advice on university personal statements.

What is a personal statement?

It’s the first four or five lines of your CV.

That is all you have to grab the attention of the recruiter and get them to read your CV.

Those lines have to provide a snapshot of who you are, what you have achieved, and most importantly what you can bring to the table.

This is your best opportunity to secure that job interview.

How To Structure It

Around four lines is the perfect amount. You definitely don’t want to exceed that. 

Space in your CV is incredibly important, so you don’t want to waste anything.

Four lines equals about 75 words.

When using size 10-11 font in Aptos (the Microsoft Word default font) it comes out at about four lines.

Now you might have to adjust the margins to fit in more, but it’s more about the line count than the word count.

It’s like Goldilocks. Not too long, not too short. Easy to skim read, but long enough to have detail.

With a small space, you need to be specific and carefully choose what to include.

Don’t worry, we will break everything down and help you write an amazing personal statement.

How to Write it

There’s only one person who truly knows you, YOU.

So don’t rely on a templated answer generated by AI.

By all means use AI to improve what you have already written, but don’t let it write for you.

Writing a personal statement is something you should do at the end.

You should update and write the rest of your CV first.

The reason is your personal statement should answer three questions clearly – Who are you? What skills do you have? How can you help our business?

This becomes easier if you have already written the rest of those points in your CV.

Start small. Write a short bullet point list of what you want to include. It should just cover the most impressive essentials.

Stuck? Look at your CV – What points would really stand out? What skills are they looking for?

You are a what? A marketer? A business consultant? Health and safety advisor? Carpenter? Etc.

Then what skills or achievements do you really want to highlight? Is it your communication or project management? Is it the fact you increased sales by 12% or made a saving of 35%? Whatever it is you are doing to highlight your best skills against what the recruiter is truly looking for.

Finally, it’s matching what you can do against what they need. Do they need a great communicator? Or a great leader? Do they need someone who can think outside of the box? Or do they need someone logical and methodical?

Whatever the need, make sure to make it clear that you fit that role perfectly.

The list could be like this;

  • Marketer – Experienced, methodical, strategic
  • Skills – Communication, strategy, management
  • Achievements – Secured 207 leads in a single week long campaign, achieved a 30% increase in sales
  • How it fits – They need a leader who can create a strategy and then deliver it.

By writing it out like this you have created an outline for your statement.

Having an outline makes it a lot easier to answer the questions.

The Writing Lesson

Starting with a blank page is scary. The lack of words can easily mean your mind feels empty of thoughts.

Even if you’re not the most creative of writers I will help guide you through how to word, phrase, write, and put together your statement.

The first thing to keep in mind is you should use the first person (i.e. I, Me, Myself etc) sparingly.

If you’re constantly saying “I did this” and “I achieved that” it sounds self-absorbed. Try and vary it up.

Obviously you are going to need to introduce yourself. A classic opening would be “I am a methodical strategist and marketer” or something along those lines.

After that intro use the third person WITHOUT PRONOUNS. Referring to yourself in the third person is weird anyway, so instead of, ‘She is a retail professional seeking a management role…’ would become ‘A retail professional seeking a management role…’

Now a lot of CV writers would shout at me for it, but using the first person to introduce and then third person provides a great balance between the personal and not sounding too pompous.

This is a balance. You want it to highlight what you as a person can provide the company whilst not sounding self absorbed. A good example is as follows.

    • I am recent graduate in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. My studies have given me a comprehensive knowledge of economic theory and its practical application through data analysis. Accomplished user of Stata, Matlab, and SAS. Looking to use and improve existing skills and gain knowledge and experience in a fast-paced business environment in the role of Graduate Data Analyst with Equinox.
    • I’m a BSc Economics graduate looking to make use of my educational attainment in a professional environment. I’m a team player with excellent communication skills and a confident user of data analysis software. Looking to gain experience as a data analyst.

Use The Active Tense

What do I mean by the active tense?

Look at the two examples below.

  • I wrote a CV.
  • The CV was written by me.

Or how about

  • I achieved a 30% increase in sales.
  • Sales were increased by 30% because of me.

Which ones sound better?

If you said the first one for each example then you’re correct. These are in the active tense. 

It’s all about where you put the verb (the action/doing word).

The sentence should be Pronoun, Verb, Rest of the Sentence. 

Pronoun = I, Me, He, She, You, They, Them

Verb = Any Action e.g. achieve, increase, do, write etc.

Rest of the sentence = Does what it says.

Going back to our examples:

  • I (Pronoun) wrote (Verb) a CV. (Rest of the sentence)
  • I (Pronoun) achieved (Verb) a 30% increase in sales. (Rest of the sentence)

If you’re still unsure you can always run your personal statement through the Hemingway App

Hemingway will highlight different issues with a colour code so that you can rewrite and fix them to be punchy and clear. Doing this alongside double checking spelling and grammar with Grammarly will really double down the efforts and sharpen up your profile quickly and easily.

Don’t be boring! 

Boring will put off a hiring manager.

The easiest way to be boring is to use boring verbs or putting “very” in the sentence.

Choose the right words that will make your skills, experience, and accomplishments sound better.

This is all about grabbing the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager, so excitement beats boring every time.

Use strong, powerful verbs

In the words of Massive Attack “Love is a verb, love is a doing word”. Verbs are your new best friend when it comes to your CV.

Using a thesaurus and careful choice, you can make your achievements and skills sing.

Here’s a quick list of strong verbs for you to use in your personal statement.

  • Achieved
  • Created
  • Developed
  • Established
  • Improved
  • Increased/decreased
  • Influenced
  • Launched
  • Managed
  • Negotiated
  • Resolved
  • Trained/mentored
  • Volunteered

For a full list of verbs that you could use in your CV and personal statement check out Indeed’s list of 139 action verbs.

At the end of the day, the stronger and more assertive and action based you can make your personal statement sound, the better.

Us Brits tend to have a habit of trying to downplay our achievements and skills, but your CV profile is not the time to do that.

Use Facts & Figures

Using numbers is amazing. By highlighting significant achievements and including exact figures in your profile you can capture the readers attention. 

It could be something as simple as “Increased sales by 30% in 6 months” but the use of numbers helps interrupt the flow of the profile in a good way.

It draws the eye of the reader and they are likely to re read the sentence to make sure they understand what you achieved.

Be very selective though and only highlight those pieces that would make you stand out to the company.

What Not To Write

We’ve shown you how to write your statement and what to include. 

We haven’t shown you what not to write.

Buzzwords / Overused Terms

A quick Google search will show you there are lots of lists of buzzwords to either include or exclude.

A lot of the time you will find the same words on both lists.

So which list do you trust?

Pick the ones that are most accurate and truthful.

Only put “high achiever” if you are a high achiever. 

Don’t lie or stretch the truth.

Be honest and use the most accurate, honest words or phrases. 

There are always ways of making you sound good without stretching the truth or lying.

You might find it more effective to communicate your qualities by detailing beneficial actions that relate to real-world scenarios instead of listing buzzwords like “ambitious,” “motivated,” and “driven.”


Try your best to avoid all cliches. There are lots of CV cliches but the most common one is “Works well on my own as well as part of a team”. This sounds like a good option to include, but it is so overused that it is now off putting to people.

Also if you think about it, it becomes a completely irrelevant sentence as being part of a company means you will either work on your own or as part of a team, you need to be able to do that as standard.

In fact some other common ones are “Hard working team player”, “results driven thought leader”, and “strong communicator”.

When you use cliches you sound unimaginative, unoriginal, and bland. As I have already said, boring or bland will instantly put off the recruiter or hiring manager.

I could write an entire blog on phrases to not include on a CV or in a personal statement.

But, the main ones to avoid are:

  • Flexible
  • Motivated
  • Strong work ethic
  • Multi-tasker
  • Independent
  • Detail-oriented
  • Self-motivated
  • Go-getter
  • Go-to-person
  • Strategic thinker
  • I can work on my own or as part of a team
  • Think outside the box
  • Results-driven
  • I have good communication skill
  • Hard worker
  • People-person
  • Team player


Avoid technical jargon as much as you can.

Unless the job description asks for specific skills or qualifications that you can prove using jargon, avoid using it.

If you cram your personal statement with technical terms it looks obvious and also disrupts the flow.

The most common form of jargon is putting a load of abbreviations into your statement. Only use these if they are specific titles or qualifications. Otherwise spell it out.


Do not put slang in your statement.

You’re talking to a hiring manager, not to your friend.

Even if the hiring manager is your friend, don’t use slang.

Keep it professional, clean, and clear.

Remember to tailor!

There is no on size fits all job. So don’t use a one size fits all profile (or CV for that matter)!

Quality will always beat out quantity. Take the time to tailor each application to suit the needs and wants of the business.

Although you will end up applying to fewer roles, you will have a much better chance of getting an interview doing it this way.

Keywords are your friends

Use keywords. The majority of CVs now run through a piece of software called an ATS long before they ever reach the eyes of a recruiter.

ATS will be looking for keywords or phrases that match the job description to narrow down search results for recruiters.

Make sure that when you are tailoring your CV and your profile to a job, that you include the keywords that would make you stand out.

Quick Checklist!


  • Get to the point – Remember short and sharp
  • Make sure you answer the key questions: 
    • Who are you? 
    • What skills and experiences do you offer? 
  • Add your value to it – This is personal. Only you can add value
  • Tailor it to the job description
  • Highlight skills that you need
  • Use the active voice, in the first person
  • Use facts and figures – “Achieved a 30% increase in sales year on year”


  • Be generic or just copy and paste something from ChatGPT
  • Focus on yourself – Put the focus on them and yourself by answering “What skills and experience can you offer?”
  • Ramble – A cover letter is the time to elaborate
  • Only list achievements – Answer the questions in full sentences
  • Forget to proofread
  • We can never say it enough. Proofread every detail. Read it out loud. Send it to a friend or send it to a recruiter. Run it through Grammarly or the Hemingway App
  • Use jargon, slang or clichés

What now?

Ta-Da! You have a personal statement.

This should perfectly complement your amazing CV!

Remember this is to make sure you get the interview. The interview will get you the job.

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