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Resume Writing: How To Write a Perfect Personal Statement?

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In resumes, every word counts. Everything you include in this one- or two-page document makes an impact on the decision employers are going to make while assessing your suitability for the job.

Considering that recruiters spend only 6 to 10 seconds reviewing each resume, it’s needless to say that you need to make a great impression right from the start.

In other words, the information you put in the upper half of the first page of your resume, weighs more than the rest of it. This is where the decision can already be made.

Unfortunately, if you don’t use this space to convince them that the rest of your resume is worth reading, they might never even glance at the second page.

To earn a fair chance with readers, the best way to start a resume is writing a personal statement.

In the next few minutes, you’ll learn:

What’s more, you’ll get a plug-and-play personal statement template and a few examples for:

Accelerate your job search with a professionally-made resume template! They all have a dedicated place for a personal statement to ensure that you can put your best foot forward.


What is a personal statement?

A personal statement, also known as a personal profile overview or career summary, is essentially – well – a summary of your career.

There are many names for the resume section, including resume summary or resume summary statement, career summary, professional profile or career overview.

Yet, all of them stand for the opening paragraph at the top of your resume that serves as an elevator pitch, outlining the most relevant experience, skills and achievements to grab the reader's attention.

This short intro paragraph at the top of your resume displays who you are and what you can bring to the table in a concise, engaging and effective way.

Considering that this section should be three to five rows long, it’s often the shortest part of a resume, and - at the same time – the hardest one to write.


Why is a personal statement important?

If there is a job posted, it means that the company is understaffed and they are in need of a person who can step into the role. Recruiters and hiring managers do their best to make the whole decision-making process about hiring as quick and efficient as possible.

While doing so, they don’t actually read resumes word for word.

Instead, they scan them, looking for keywords that can be a cue whether or not you’re a good fit for the position they’ve posted.

This means that if you don’t get them intrigued in the first few sentences in your resume, your resume will end up in the ‘no’ pile before they even get to your employment history and the amazing achievements that you’ve saved for last.

We are not saying that this is the best way to do it (author’s note – it’s most certainly not), but this is how it works in reality.

Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes.

For each job posting, you get 100 – 150 applications. Typically, you manage 10-15 job vacancies at the same time. This means that 1000 – 1500 resumes are in the queue waiting for your review.

And hiring managers are constantly at your back, asking you when they can see the first list of suitable candidates.

Unless you’re a speed-reading master, eight working hours per day won’t be enough to read every resume and cover letter from top to bottom.

So, you’re in a position where you need to act quickly.

You’ll go through resumes looking for the first sign that a candidate is or is not suitable for the job – in other words, whether or not they are good enough to be shared further.

You’ll jump to their resume looking if they have relevant qualifications, the required years of experience and relevant knowledge, expertise or proven skills to perform the job.

If a resume starts with a generic personal statement, a dated objective statement (i.e. resume objective), irrelevant career objective or general career goals without any connection to the specific position you're hiring for, you’ll jump to the conclusion that the rest of the resume doesn’t bring anything valuable either.

This is how a resume earns a spot in the “reject” pile.

That’s why this part needs to be nothing less than perfect.

Match rate overview from Jobscan - the resume keyword optimising tool.


What needs to be written in a personal statement?

At the beginning of your resume, readers are looking for keywords that prove you are qualified for the job.

To provide them with such information, in 30 to 75 words, your resume summary needs to provide answers to the following questions:

  • How many years of experience you have in the field?

  • What relevant industries have you worked in?

  • What are your areas of expertise?

  • What transferable skills can you offer?

  • What personal qualities do you possess that are applicable to the job ?

  • What have you achieved in your previous jobs?

Before you start writing your resume summary, read the job description carefully. All the job requirements are specified there. This information will help you determine what to cover in your own resume to highlight skills requested by the employer.

After reviewing the job description, in order to cover all of that in an informative and engaging way, the best recommendation is to apply past-present-future formula. It means your “personal profile” section should include:

  1. PAST: Start with an opening line that summarizes your overall experience, it should include the information about years of experience, industries you worked in, and current position or most relevant job title.

  2. PRESENT: Two to three sentences about what you currently have and can bring to the table. This is where you summarize your areas of expertise, hard and soft skills, and strengths. To take this to the next level, showcase that you have a proven ability to succeed by providing an example of an achievement that’s relevant to the open vacancy.

  3. FUTURE: A brief sentence about your career aspirations or reasons for the application. This sentence is optional, as a majority of employers will assume that your career aspiration is to work at the position you applied for or that you applied for the job because, well, you need one. However, it’s good to keep this sentence in if you’re looking for a career change, relocation or an opportunity after a career break. Address it here, as they will be curious to find out the reasons and your motivation.


The key to writing a successful personal statement is in tailoring this short paragraph to each job application.

If you meet most of the requirements specified in the job description, and if you fill your personal profile with keywords you found there, you will grab your reader’s attention as they read the very first sentences of your resume.

They will be able to tick some boxes regarding requirements they are looking for, you will show them you are a great match for the role and consequently, it will increase your chances of getting shortlisted for the next step in the recruitment process.

Job seekers that fail to tailor their resume's personal statement to the open positions minimize their chances of being invited to job interviews and hinder their job search.


How to write the perfect personal statement?

If you're wondering how to write the perfect personal statement, with the help of the template below, the answer is - easy!

Just plug in the appropriate keywords and let the magic happen!

[TEMPLATE] Resume Personal Statement

<adjective 1> and <adjective 2> <current job title> with more than <number> years of experience in <industry 1> and <industry 2>. Experienced in <area of expertise 1>, <area of expertise 2> and <area of expertise 3>. A strong <key strength 1> combined with the ability to <skill 1> and <skill 2>. <action> resulting in <outcome>. Currently looking to broaden experience/use existing skill-set in <specific industry/company/role>.

Based on the template above, here are a few resume personal statement examples.

Personal statement for accountants

ACCA-certified and analytical accountant with more than 10 years of experience in FMCG and banking industry. Experienced in developing cost saving practices, budget management and forecasting. Strong commercial awareness combined with the ability to analyse and produce high quality management reports within tight deadlines. Identified payment oversight which resulted in $400K+ saved. Looking for an opportunity to use my skill-set in regulatory environment.

Personal statement for recruiters

Customer-focused recruitment consultant with more than 5 years of experience in IT industry. Extensive experience of leading end-to-end recruitment processes, managing HR projects and consulting internal stakeholders. Strong communication skills combined with the ability to adapt to changing requirements and to re-prioritise with ease. Recruited 200+ candidates with 75%+ six-month retention rate. Looking to broaden experience as a Recruitment Manager at XYZ.