Sunday, 17 October 2010

Personal Profiles

Many, many CVs that you see now have personal profiles or 'personal statements' at the top.  There are a number of different approaches to writing these - some people write a summary of their career to date, some write about their aspirations for the future and some choose to call out their transferable skills in particular.  It can serve as any of these. 

However, personally, I don't recommend them for graduate or near-graduate level CVs. For someone with 5yrs+ experience, they are fine, because you have plenty of 'real meaty experience' that you can talk about. The problem with trying to write them on a graduate or near-graduate CV is that there isn't a huge amount to talk about and so you have to make rather vague / grand statements about your abilities that can sound a bit much without evidence to back them up. When I get a CV, I only ever read the personal profile at the end if I liked everything else on the CV. That's just my 2cents, please feel free to disregard as I guarantee the next person you talk to will have a different opinion again.  Interestingly though, in doing some research into this it seems like consultants at Harvey Nash - one of the top recruitment agencies in the UK - may be of a similiar opinion: "In a straw poll...not a scientific poll admittedly, but illustrative - not one consultant said they influenced their opinion on the candidate's skills and experience."  They write an interesting full article on profiles:

If you do decide to go for one, then the Kent university website does offer some good guidelines for putting one together:

If you include a personal profile, make sure that you have strong evidence to back up everything you say in the statement as you should expect to be challenged on it in any interview you do. Be very wary of using words like 'outstanding', 'superb'. Those are strong words.... better than 'good', 'very good' or even 'excellent'. So make sure you have the necessary evidence to demonstrate the level of expertise that you state you have.

1 comment:

  1. A very thorough look at telephone interviews, very interesting. Thought you might be interested to know that we produced a short podcast on this topic: