What is a personal statement?

Job interview

We get a lot of questions about personal statements as they cause quite a bit of confusion amongst job candidates. Firstly, it’s important to appreciate that there are two types of personal statements, used for different purposes:

  1. Personal statements used by job seekers at the top of their CV
  2. Personal statements used by students applying to college or university to study

So what’s the difference?

Personal statements for job seekers

These statements go at the top of your CV underneath your name and contact info. They are a concise statement to the employer which tells them a bit about yourself in the context of the job advert. They’re essentially the bottom line, explaining in a few short sentences why you’re suitable for the role.

These type of statements can be called different things – some other names given to them are:

  • Personal profile
  • Career objective
  • Candidate profile
  • Professional profile

But whatever you decide to call it, it’s the same thing: a quick, concise summary of why the employer should hire you.

In today’s competitive job world where there are so many applicants for each job role, it’s really important to include a personal statement on your CV – and to make sure it hits the spot.

Prospects.ac.uk offers some guidance on personal statements for job seekers.

Personal statement for college or university

This type of personal statement looks very different from the kind used by a job seeker. It’s typically requested on the application form for a college or degree course. You’ll be expected to write around 500 words (in fact, the UCAS limit is 5,000 characters but this equates to about 500 words).

In short, the personal statement for college or uni should convince the reader:

  • That you’re passionate about the subject
  • That you’ll be a great student that will work hard

Here’s a great guide to writing a personal statement for college or uni. UCAS has also produced a phenomenal guide with a lot of very helpful material, and Prospects’ guides are also comprehensive, split into undergraduate and postgraduate.

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