A Personal Summary (also known as a ‘personal profile’) should be a punchy, informative and concise introduction to you CV or Resume. It’s a critical part of your CV that sits at the top of the page, just below you contact details. In essence it’s a short introductory paragraph that is usually the first thing a hiring manager sees, scans and reads. Its aim is to help recruiters to quickly judge your value, so it should get straight to the point and convey who you are and why you are the best person for the job. Use it to show of your strongest points, highlight your strengths and shout about your achievements.
Writing a winning Personal Summary for your CV
It should be positive in tone and professional in outlook. Remember that you are marketing yourself so don’t waffle or write a boring long winded document. Instead concisely say who you are, reference your most relevant skills and outline your key areas of expertise and experience.
Why it’s important
If you get it right it can be a great way to grab the reader’s attention and show off your writing and communication skills. If you get it wrong it can end your chances there and then.
Main sections of a Personal Summary
There are three core sections that should be included. Here they are (in the order they should be listed);
- Who you are
- What you can bring to the company
- Your career objectives
What to include
In an engaging way explain why you are suitable for a specific job, what can you bring to the company and your career objectives. Remember to give evidence of your claims, just enough to entice people to want to know more about you. You could also include a brief outline of current or previous role, especially those bits that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
What to avoid
Avoid turning the reader off by giving vague, bland or general statements that they have heard many times before. You also do not want to sound arrogant, lie or exaggerate. Other unnecessary information NOT to include;
- Clichés, like ‘good team player’.
- Marital status
- Family details
- Contact details
- Content overlap - where you repeat what is already listed elsewhere in your CV.
Should you write it in the first person or third person?
Employers are used to seeing both formats, and as there are no definitive rules about this, either of these options is fine. They both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
How long should it be?
Short, sweet and to the point. Ideally no more than seven lines, meaning between 100 to 200 words.
After completing it put it away for a few hours. Then pick it up and read it a few times to make sure it sounds right. Also ask yourself if later on in an interview you can you justify all the nice things you’ve said about yourself.