We can all agree that your CV, is very important, whether it is digital or paper-based, as it can be the most important piece of information that can instantly create an impression to a potential employer. Your personal statement on a CV is also very important. These tend to be situated at the top of the CV and are the first thing that is read. They are normally 3-4 sentences that can instantly create a positive or negative impression to the employer. You have a minimal amount of time to make an impact; you have to grab that person’s attention.
You cannot deliver any kind of message to anybody effectively unless you know you have got their attention. If people see things over and over again, the same words and phrases frequently, then they lose impact and your CV fails to stand out. The danger is if you don’t grab their attention, you could bore the reader, if you have no impact, within those first ten seconds, they could dismiss your CV. They will simply move onto another applicant. Most CV’s are very similar using words such as;
‘team player, adaptable, extensive, accurate, creative, flexible, competent, achieve, dependable, hard-working, motivated, problem solver, helpful, organised, determined, proactive, excellent, committed, efficient, innovative, reliable, logical, confident, desire, keen, trustworthy, interest, thorough” these are useless if they cannot be backed up by evidence.
Most of us have CVs with a personal statement that contains words such as these. You could take your CV to the next level by making it industry specific. So, if you want to gain experience within a particular sector. You have to tailor this, every time, to suit that particular job, because, it’s not about how you can add value to your future employer and their business. Try not to write, “Looking to further my skills in…,” or “Looking to gain experience in….” It is never about you. Remember you need to ask yourself; how can you add value?
An employers main purpose is not to help you further your career, it is to grow their business and look after the team they have already got in place. So it is just a case of re-wording things. Rather than saying “further my career within…,” “develop my skills within…,” just reword it and say, “to add real value within….” Because then you are changing the refocus from yourself to them and showing how your contribution will add value and contribute to the overall profit of the business. You make it about them, not you.
Your CV is Your Brand
Remember your CV is your brand, and what you want people to remember you as, It’s what you are telling people about yourself. You need a clearly define your brand statement. A brand statement is. You need to look at your CV and ask yourself what kind of message is this sending out?
Your statement is 1-2 sentences, answering what you are best at (what is your value), who do you serve (who is your audience, who do you serve this value you to, who does it affect?), and how do you do it uniquely (what is your unique selling point – USP). What is it about you that sums up your unique offering?
No more than 150 words, 4–5 lines. The most important thing is that it is short, sharp, but full of impact, it is concise and authentic. If you are having trouble doing this, because I know that when we talk about ourselves, and we have to start thinking about our best bits and our value, sometimes that is really difficult to do.
Top Tips to Creating Your Brand
To help create your brand start by asking yourself these questions. The answers will help you in adding value to your personal statement.
- What is the one thing that everyone says you are good at?
- What gets you enthusiastic and excited?
- What have you accomplished?
- What are you most proud of?
- What makes you stand out?
- What do you enjoy the most?
- What do you love the most about your current, or your past job?
- What gives you a sense of satisfaction?
It is important that you undertake some market research on your product which effectively is yourself. This will involve asking others that you know – colleagues, managers, teachers, and academics, friends, to describe you in a few words and ask them what they think your value is. It is important that you take all of that information, collect it all, put it together and then sit down and work on it. Look at the information and see what would make you commercially successful. That is essentially your value statement and can be used as a theme that runs seamlessly through your CV. You can also discuss this further when you go for an interview and expand on how you can add value to their business.
You can reword your personal statement to truly reflect the person you are and it is here that it can make a massive impact in a short time within this initial part of your CV. When you have finished your personal statement (4–5 lines of who you are, what your value is and who you serve). This could make the difference from your CV being selected to not. You have done this by successfully adding value to this. If you get time to revisit your personal statement whether you have it on a typed up CV or through a digital format like LinkedIn or Not a CV.
More information on putting together a CV, download The Student Guide to CV from the college website or Moodle. The guide is also available from Student Services. You can also contact the careers team for more advice and guidance.