CV writing is a tedious business for most of us. It is not always easy to capture and articulate all of our achievements and attributes which promote us to would-be employers to best advantage. Even more difficult for many is writing the ‘Profile’ or ‘Personal Summary’ section. Many of the CVs I am asked to review have Profiles which are very weak, in that they give a very unclear or incomplete picture of the candidate, or worse, don’t include a Profile at all. So what’s the deal with Profile statements?
Your Profile statement is an important part of your CV and a key selling point. It is your opportunity to summarise your skills, attributes and experience in a way that clearly illustrates why you are ideally suited to the job and the organisation for which you are applying.
In earlier articles I have stressed two points:
1. That your CV is a marketing document and is written to show how you meet the employer’s needs not how the employer should meet yours; and
2. That the top third of the first page of your CV is a key position – i.e. if it is sufficiently interesting and relevant the reader will read on.
Typically, and ideally, your Profile should follow your contact information at the top of the first CV page. It should clearly describe:
- who you are: eg “As a highly motivated, energetic finance director, I have…”
- what you do and what value you can bring to the organisation, eg “a proven track record of analysing, evaluating and managing company acquisitions…”
- your career objective eg. “looking for a position within a professional services organisation in which I can add commercial and strategic value and further develop my professional skills”.
The Profile should provide the reader with an accurate, comprehensive and punchy ‘picture’ of you. The statement should be brief (between 50 and 150 words in length) and should read smoothly without excessive use of the personal pronoun (“I”). A concise, well written summary should leap out at the reader and motivate them to read on.
Think about what you can do for the employer. For example if you start by saying “I am looking for a position in which I can utilise my communication skills and progress my career” it says something about your needs but is not focused on what the employer wants or needs. Ensure that you focus on the job, its requirements and what you have to offer first. For this reason you will see that your summary should be updated (albeit slightly) for each job you apply for, along with the rest of your CV.
Finally I suggest you write your Profile statement last to ensure that it effectively summarises all the points you have included in your CV; this nicely signposts the reader to what will follow.
If you would benefit from help with your CV or career management, do give us a call.