How to write a personal profile for your CV
Just as every good book starts with an introduction, so too should your CV. The opening paragraph on your CV, or personal profile as it is commonly known, is the first introduction the hiring manager has to your skills and experience. It is the opening statement that leads them through the rest of your CV.
In this blog, we will look at the following key points of a personal profile:
- What a personal profile CV is and the benefits of including it on your CV
- How to write your CV personal profile including examples
- The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of writing a personal profile CV
What is a CV personal profile?
The personal profile is the first section of your CV that contains an introduction to who you are, what you can do and potentially what you are looking for. It is usually only about 3 to 4 sentences long and it should contain relevant keywords. For instance, “Human resources manager with 10 years of experience of working within the public sector.”
You may want to consider the personal profile as the “opening hook.” What can you say to reel the hiring manager in to the point where they are intrigued to learn more about you?
The profile is one of the key elements of any complete CV. Here is what the structure should contain:
- Personal Profile (or summary)
You may also add other sections, such as awards, internships etc., depending on what you deem appropriate for the role.
Does my personal profile need a title?
All CV sections need to be labeled in a way that makes it clear for the HR manager to find the information they are looking for. In the case of your personal profile, a simple title called “Summary,” “Profile” or “Personal Statement” can work.
The benefits of a CV personal profile
Hiring managers are busy. They don’t have time to pour over CVs so they will generally just scan them to find the key points that are relevant to the role. The personal profile can make or break your chances of being progressed to the next stage. If you can make a positive initial impression quickly in your personal profile the hiring manager will want to find out more about you. It gives you the opportunity to highlight the aspects of your skills and experience that are the most important, and therefore, likely to help you get an interview.
Do I need a CV personal profile if I have a cover letter?
The answer is yes! While there are similarities between them, a cover letter does not replace the need for a personal profile. There is no guarantee that the hiring manager will read both the cover letter and the CV.
A cover letter is a longer evaluation of your top skills and background. The personal profile is the best way to tell the hiring manager a bit about you and give them a glimpse into what value you could bring to their organisation. Without a personal profile, your CV will start immediately with your education or experience which can leave the hiring manager with questions.
How to write a personal profile for a CV in 2023
The profile is one of the only places you can make a personal connection on your CV which means it’s important to pay attention to the writing. Although it is only a small part of the CV, you should ensure you include all the important aspects that you want to cover. These are the main points to include on your personal profile:
The first sentence should be a brief introduction to who you are and your experience. Something simple like “HR Assistant with 10 years’ experience and CIPD accreditation.” You can keep it brief and to the point to simply let the hiring manager know who you are and your strengths.
If you are applying for a role you have no experience in, but you believe you have transferable skills or qualifications, you should not include your current job title in this section, as it may put the hiring manager off instantly.
For example, a candidate could be a part-time server who has recently completed an engineering degree and wants to apply for a role as an engineer. If they put “experienced server” instead of “recently qualified engineering graduate” the hiring manager may not read on to find out why they are applying to the role.
Relevant achievements and/or qualifications
The next sentence is where you may want to inform the hiring manager of your main achievements and/or qualifications. For example, if you’ve worked on a significant project, you may want to mention this here together with any significant qualifications you possess.
What interests you most about this sector/job? This is where you can show the hiring manager why you are applying for the role, in a succinct way.
Include any long-term career goals if they are relevant to the position. For example, a dentistry student may want to let the office where they plan to intern know that their goal is to one day become an orthodontist.
Writing a personal profile can be hard. Try to keep it as brief as possible. Ideally, somewhere between 50 and 200 words.
Sometimes examples are exactly what you need to get pointed in the right direction. Here are a few to draw from:
Sustainability Manager with 10 years’ experience working with businesses, helping them to transform their processes to achieve their sustainability goals. A lead speaker at the recent COP26 event, informing individuals and businesses of the steps they can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Passionate about climate change and helping to lead the way towards a healthier, brighter future.
Human Resource Manager with over 10 years’ experience working within public sector organisations. Qualified with an MSc in HR Management, including CIPD accreditation. Seeking a new, challenging role where I can make a key impact on improving business performance.
Recently qualified graduate in Electrical Engineering. Achieved 2:1 and received awards for 100% attendance and best project in final year. Interested in working with small companies that are looking to provide training to a committed, reliable graduate, with extensive experience in dealing with customers.
Customer Service Assistant with 2 years’ experience within the retail sector. BSc in Business Studies, with a merit in 5 subjects. Passionate about helping customers and upholding the brand of a business. Seeking a customer service role within a forward-thinking company.
Dos and Don’ts
You only have a short space to make an impact, so you need to get it right. Here are some of the dos and don’ts to follow when writing your personal profile.
- Keep it short and concise – the personal profile is a round-up of the key elements of your experience/education.
- Tailor the personal profile. Consider the key elements that will be of interest to the hiring manager.
- Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through on your personal profile, including your main passions.
- Exaggerate or tell downright lies. Stick to the truth and you can’t go far wrong.
- Forget to spell-check and proofread – read over your personal profile several times before you move onto the next section.
- Rush it – it might be a small section, but you could say it is the most important.
- Decide on the structure of your CV personal profile before you get started. What are the main areas of your experience that you want to highlight?
- Introduce yourself and what makes you appealing for the role. Keep it brief and to the point (3-4 sentences is sufficient.)
- Make sure you check it over before you submit it. Ask someone to have a look over it if you are unsure.
- Check out our CV personal profile examples for some inspiration and edit them for your needs.