Many people who have a great curriculum vitae in other respects let themselves down when it comes to their personal profile. Of course, without the right experience and qualifications for the job you are going for, your CV profile will make little difference. However, if you are going after your first job or similarly qualified to other candidates, then your personal profile can make your application stand out and help you to land that all important interview. Read on to find out how to put together a professional profile that says what you need to get over in a compelling way.
What is a Personal Profile?
Essentially, a CV profile is a personal statement that you make which gives the reader an idea of your personality and what makes you an individual. Emphatically, a profile is a summary of things about you which relate to your life but which don't constitute a mini-biography. No potential employer wants an in-depth analysis of your psychological make up. Rather, a successful profile gives the reader a few insights into your identity. As such, it will mention potential talking points that might come up at an interview when you arrive at the 'getting to know you' stage.
Some people equate profiles of this type to the sort of information you might include on a covering letter, but it really is a little more than that. Think of a successful personal profile as your chance to get across some supporting statements about yourself that will help you to look good in the eyes of the reader. However, you should not be too sales-like in your approach or make exaggerated claims because these either make you look arrogant or soon get discovered as falsehoods at any interview that might ensue.
What should you write in your Personal Profile?
There are three main elements to put into a profile about yourself. Firstly, you will want to include some information about your personal attributes which don't necessarily come across in the rest of the CV. A good example would be saying that you are self-motivated or that you have an eye for detail. Of course, anyone can say such things about themselves so make sure you give at least one example of where you have shown such an attribute, whether it is from your personal or professional life. For instance, you might say that you are a team player because you have worked successfully in teams with other professionals in the past or because you are a valued member of your local sports club, whichever creates the best impression in your case.
Secondly, you should mention some of your skills. Some of these will be established from the qualifications they have so you don't need to mention you are skilled driver, for instance, if you hold an HGV license. Use the profile to mention other skills you have outside of your main professional ones, such as your ability to communicate well. Remember to add an example, just as you would for your personal attributes. Finally, your profile should mention any relevant experience you have in related work. Even if you are seeking a wide range of work, mentioning experience in areas of work with transferable skills is ideal. Talk about your background, track record or previous awards or commendations to make a great first impression!
Tips for writing a cv profile
- If you don't know how to best go about writing about yourself from scratch, then find our examples of personal statements below and use the most relevant as a template.
- Read your personal statement out loud. How would it sound as elevator pitch? You are selling yourself to an employer in this very first paragraph of your CV.Be as specific as possible. You can simply state that you have excellent writing skills, but an employer will be more impressed if you can state that you write for a school paper or blog with thousands of dedicated readers, for instance.
- Make a checklist. In your personal profile you should answer at least the following questions;
- Who am I and what am I looking for?
- What qualities and skills do I possess that will make successful in this role?
- What are my ambitions and what's my view on personal development in this role?
Mistakes to avoid when writing a personal profile
- Writing a too generic profile with characteristics that could fit any other candidate. The word 'personal' is being used for a reason; the statement should only apply to you as a person and should be specific as possible and not interchangeable.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes. Of course, you don't want any spelling- or grammar errors in your CV, but especially not in the opening alinea! Make sure to thoroughly check it. If this is not easy for you, then ask a friend to proofread your text for you.
- Using bullet points or keywords. Instead, write in complete sentences. Notes or bullet points will work in other parts of your CV but not for a personal statement.
- Using too many words that say little. Flowery language comes across as rambling.
- Solely focusing on the requirements in the job description. In the end, this piece can make you stand out! Yes, recruiters will look whether you possess required hard skills, but also give them a little extra. Make sure to write at least one unique element that another candidates don't have.
- Mixing first and third person. Either is good, just make sure not to use them simultaneously.
- Don't make things up about yourself or say something which contradicts the other information you have supplied about yourself in your CV.
What should you not put in a CV Profile?
You don't need to include any of the information that appears elsewhere on your CV in the profile section. If you do, then you are merely repeating what comes later and this makes your profile look weak - as if you had little to put in there. Stick to your soft skills rather than those which are obvious or implied from other sections of your CV. It is okay to mention experiences which have some bearing on your work life from personal circumstances - like your family situation, for example - but keep these to a minimum. No one wants to read about the minutiae of your personal life. As such, the aim is to just get across a hint of what you are like.
Avoid jokes and opinions. Although these have their place in interviews and can help you to beat other candidates in the right situation, they are not for professional profiles. Another important thing to avoid is negativity. Your profile should be upbeat and generate a favourable first impression just as you might want on a first date, for instance. Don't include your contact details and other personal information, either. These would normally go at the very top of a CV.
How long should a Personal Statement be?
Once you know what to put in a profile and what to leave out, you should then think about how long your profile should be. There is no exact science to this because everyone is an individual and will, consequently, want to include differing amounts of information. As a rule of thumb, you should be looking for a block of text that is about six to eight lines long. With a typical font size, this means trying to limit your word count to no more than 120, ideally a little lower.
Of course, the more experiences and skills you have built up during your career, the more you will want to include. If so, pick out the highlights only and avoid cramming in too much information that overloads the reader with facts about you. Conversely, if you are at the start of your career, you may have little to say about yourself yet. If that applies to you, then focus on your personal attributes more than your experiences, such as mentioning your ability to get on with people, citing an example or two.
Where should a Personal Profile go on a CV?
There is a convention that is now well-established that your profile should go on the first page of your CV, close to the top. In most cases, CVs start with your name, address and contact information, such as your telephone number and email address. Your profile statement will come after this, followed by a summary of your key achievements, educational details, professional qualifications and work history. Therefore, your personal statement takes a prime position on your CV which is why it is so crucial to get right.
Despite the importance of situating your profile in the expected place, bear in mind that many readers will skip over this section and only come back to it once they've read the other sections. However, don't be tempted to place your personal statement at the end of the CV. This will only mean readers find it hard to locate and your CV will come across as confusing or poorly organised. Often, potential employers have literally hundreds of CVs to get through so stick with the conventions.
CV profile examples for inspiration
We understand that writing a personal statement for your CV can be difficult. Especially when it's you first time, or when it's a long time ago since you've written one. Therefore, we have gathered some examples to help you. Do remember; these are just examples for inspirational purposes. A cv profile should never be interchangeable anyway. If you want to see the context of these personal profiles, also check out our complete cv examples including the profile texts.
CV profile example 1 - Fashion designer
"I'm a fashion designer accomplished at pattern cutting and sewing, with a specific interest in knitwear and tailored clothing. My work reflects an appreciation of intricate patterns, attention to surface embellishment, colour and texture, inspired by an enthusiasm for vintage clothing. I'm currently looking for an inspiring work environment that enables me to develop myself with good training, while respecting my creative freedom as an artist."
Why is this a good example?
The writer is very specific about the job specific skills. The statement is very personal and could not be just anyone else's personal statement. She chooses to write first person consistently.
CV profile example 2 - Business undergraduate
“Flexible Business Undergraduate with excellent analytical, project management and team working skills gained through university studies, one year industrial placement in the logistics industry and a variety of part time work in retail and hospitality. As a captain of the school soccer team, always proved to have strong leadership skills. Looking for a challenging, internship within an e-commerce company to expand my current knowledge in online marketing."
Why is this a good example?
In this CV profile, the writer explains clearly what skills he has and how he gained them. He's also clear on the job and kind of company he's looking for and how he sees his personal development.
CV profile example 3 - Next step in hospitality career
“I eat, sleep, and breathe hospitality. Ever since I remember, I have wanted to work in hospitality. My passion started growing up working in my parent's restaurant. I have strong social skills and a colloquial attitude towards my guests. However, I can be authoritative as well, when the situation asks for it.
After working many years in a management role in the vibrant nightlife of Utrecht, I'm now looking forward to taking the next step in my career. My ambition is to work in a similar management role in the high-end hospitality industry."
Why is this a good example?
This profile opens with a very strong statement. It explains well what the applicant's relevant qualities and strengths are. After reading the personal statement, it will be clear to a recruiter what type of job the applicant is looking for.
CV profile example 4 - Graduate HR assistant
“Conscientious and ambitious Psychology and Business Graduate with experience in Human Resources. Highly skilled at giving presentations in a professional setting, gained in my role as board member of the University Business Club. Looking for HR Assistant role that utilises strong interpersonal skills and opportunity to take on high levels of responsibility. Preferably looking for a role at an NGO or company with high ethical values."
Why is this a good example?
This personal statement is unique and very specific. The applicant not only claims to be skilled at giving presentations, but also explains where he gained this skill. On top of that, the applicant is also specific in the type of role and kind of company he is looking for.
Other useful resources
Still looking for some more information on personal profiles? You might also want to check out the following resources: