Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina
In this article, you will learn what works and what does not work when writing a personal statement for a resume that will capture the attention of a recruiter and the hiring manager.
There is much debate on which parts of the resume are most important – work experience, hard and soft skills, or education. But what about the resume personal statement? Don’t overlook the importance of this section.
In fact, because a resume will only have seconds to grab the attention of the recruiter, a strong and well-written personal statement is often what gets the hiring person to read through the entire resume.
Knowing what works and what does not work when writing a resume personal statement will allow the job seeker the opportunity to successfully express why they are the perfect candidate for the open position.
In this article, you’ll discover:
What is a personal statement on a resume?
Is a personal statement needed on a resume?
How long should my resume personal statement be?
What to say and not say in a resume personal statement
How do I sell myself in a resume personal statement?
Copyable examples of personal statements
Your resume personal statement, also known as an executive summary or objective, introduces you to the reader (typically the recruiter or hiring manager). It is a brief paragraph made up of impactful words that tells who you are, what you do, and what value you will bring to the hiring organization.
When written correctly, the resume personal statement is a powerful tool that will entice the reader to continue reading and put you on the short list of candidates for an interview.
In short, your personal statement is an all-important sales pitch to promote the skills, experience, and education that position you as the answer to the hiring organizations problem as outlined in the job description.
While a personal statement is not required on a resume, it is highly suggested if you would like to stand out from the crowd. According to an article on CNBC.com, it is the one standout opportunity that you will have to demonstrate what makes you a strong candidate when applying to an open position.
You only have so much resume real estate, and you must make the most of it when promoting yourself as the best person for the job.
A resume personal statement is a succinct paragraph of three to four sentences to total 50-200 words. Your personal statement must be clear and direct, and use keywords from the job description to help optimize your resume for the applicant tracking system (ATS).
Because your resume personal statement is your introduction to the hiring organization, you want to identify who you are by stating your position title.
You will want to express how many years of work experience you have in your position title, field, or industry.
Address the job description’s duties, essential skills, and requirements by covering your qualifications using keywords from the job description.
Because the personal statement is a part of the resume, which is a formal document, you will follow the dos and don’ts of general resume writing.
Here’s a reminder of the don’ts.
Do not use pronouns.
Do not add personal information.
Do not write an individual objective.
Do not include content that may draw a red flag resulting in possible discrimination.
It is important to understand that while the resume is about you, it is not for you. The resume is written for the reader. When writing your resume personal statement, give the reader what they want and not what you think they want or should have.
Before you can sell yourself in the resume personal statement, you must first understand what the reader wants. This is done by reading and understanding the job description. The job description is the hiring organization's way of saying, I have a problem, this is my problem, and this is whom I am looking for to help me solve my problem. The resume and personal statement should showcase you as the answer to their problem.
Now that you know and understand what the reader wants from the job description, it is time to match your qualifications to their requirements. As you begin to write your resume personal statement, use the keywords in the job description to match the requirements with your qualifications.
Your resume personal statement should be tailored to the job description and present you as the best candidate for that particular job by listing your skills and experience along with your qualitative and quantitative accomplishments. A personal statement for one job may not be (and probably should not be) exactly the same for another job.
Here are a few examples of personal statements that you can copy and tweak to fit your particular situation.
Results-oriented Account Manager with over 10 years of experience and the ability to impact the business by effectively managing high-performing teams, minimizing risk, and increasing profitable opportunities. Professional with an aptitude for working collaboratively with cross-functional teams while exceeding client expectations and building a high-value client base focused on generating recurring annual revenue.
Accomplished and innovative Senior Director with over 15 years of proven expertise leading and driving progressive change to achieve the mission of the organization. Decisive with proven success in identifying and transforming lackluster operations into a more engaging, motivated, and collaborative culture. Excel in dynamic environments while remaining pragmatic, focused, and able to communicate and present high-level ideas to audiences of all levels.
Innovative certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 15 years of experience within large and diverse organizations. Highly skilled in project planning, scheduling, and delivery to provide creative solutions and large-scale logistics for project initiatives. Expert at leveraging technical ability with team leadership to produce project deliverables on time, within scope, and on budget. Effective communicator with demonstrated success in promoting strong team collaboration and leadership, consistently surpassing goals to generate revenue and increase workflow performance.
A resume personal statement is not required but is a great way to help you stand out from the competition.
Knowing what works and what does not work when writing a resume personal statement will entice the recruiter and hiring manager to continue to read your resume and put you on the short list of candidates to be contacted for an interview.
Also known as an executive summary or objective, it introduces you to the hiring organization through a brief paragraph of impactful words telling who you are, what you do, and what value you will bring to the company.
It should be a succinct paragraph of three to four sentences totalling 50-200 words.
When writing a resume personal statement, write for the reader, understand the job description, identify your qualifications, and tailor the personal statement to the job description.
Earnest is a Career Coach (CPCC) and Resume Writer with expertise in providing professionals with the tools to effectively navigate the job search and prepare for a successful career. He has extensive experience leading HR and recruiting efforts. Earnest specializes in training, coaching, and mentoring career seekers on how to gain and maintain a successful career filled with purpose and passion, and he believes true career success comes from being holistically balanced.