Learn About Personal Statement Format (And How To Write One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A personal statement is a brief overview that explains why you're the best candidate for a potential employer. It's important to format your personal statement effectively so that your profile can stand out from other candidates when applying for a position. A personal statement with the right format can increase your chances of a hiring manager looking at your profile and invite you for an interview. In this article, we explain the importance of a personal statement, discuss the features of a personal statement format and how how to write one effectively with examples.

What is a personal statement format?

A personal statement format can vary depending on your objective. One common type of personal statement is a summary of your profile using the details from your CV. It highlights relevant experience, skills and accomplishments about the job application. It communicates your value to a potential employer, explaining why you're the best candidate for the position and the value you can add to the organisation.

Another personal statement format is a letter separate from your CV. While personal statement letters are more common in the academic setting, personal statements are usually at the top section of your CV, so that it has the most visibility.

Related: How To Write a CV (With Template and Example)

Why is a personal statement important?

A brief personal statement at the top of your CV can summarise your strengths as a professional, allowing the potential employer to quickly scan your profile. It helps show a hiring manager or recruiter who you are beyond the facts that you describe in your CV. A well written personal statement can get recruiters to quickly assess your qualifications and experience for the role when reviewing your CV. This is why choosing the right personal statement format can increase your chances of getting an invitation to an interview.

How to write a personal statement

Below are the steps to help you write and format an effective personal statement:

1. Do your research

Your personal statement summarises and reflects relevant details that pertain to your job application. Review the job description to get a better idea of how you'd want to frame your statement by noting important points such as the expectations, responsibilities, qualifications and experience that the potential employer is looking for in a candidate. When submitting your CV for a job application, customise your personal statement to better match your values, mission and goals with that of the organisation and the role itself to improve the chances of your CV catching a recruiter's attention.

Customising your personal statement for each job application, even if it's a similar position, may be necessary for several reasons. Observe the language and tone that a company uses, including how they've written the job description. This allows you to write a personal statement more in line with the company's culture. Make a note of keywords in the job description that the company uses to help shape your personal statement to ensure that it stands out to the hiring manager or recruiter when reviewing your CV.

Related: Why Creating Multiple Versions of Your CV Works

2. Plan and format your personal statement

Once you have all the information from the job description and company, plan how you would like to write your personal statement. Choosing an appropriate personal statement format depends on how you'd like your profile to come across to the potential employer. Follow the points below to guide you when formatting your personal statement:

Personal statement for academic applications:

Here are some guidelines for writing a personal statement for your academic application:

  • Use a simple font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri, keeping the font size between 10 and 12.

  • Use single-line spacing and no indents for any paragraphs while keeping the body of the statement between three to five paragraphs and adhering to a word limit between 200 to 500 words.

  • Write your personal statement in first-person to make it sound credible and enhance the content of your statement.

  • Use a header with the title Personal Statement and then write your name, including credentials, if applicable.

Personal statement for your CV:

Here are some guidelines for writing a personal statement for your CV:

  • Keep your personal statement brief with no more than 100 to 200 words or within three to five sentences.

  • Write your personal statement in first-person to effectively communicate your profile to the hiring manager or recruiter.

  • Keep the font, size, spacing and alignment consistent with the rest of your CV.

  • Use keywords from your research on the job description and to the company's tone and language.

3. Set the tone at the beginning

Your opening sentence briefly introduces yourself and provides an overview of where you are in your career with your current or previous job. Follow the points below to guide you on writing an effective opening sentence for your personal statement:

  • Talk about your current position and any relevant information that pertains to the position.

  • Use positive and confident language to communicate your experience and knowledge which may be of interest to the potential employer.

  • Show your passion and commitment to the position to convey your motivation to a recruiter or hiring manager.

  • Use the opportunity to explain what you've been doing. Make sure to highlight the number of years of experience that you have, your skills and qualities and any relevant specialisations.

4. Focus on relevant skills and accomplishments

Use the following sentences to focus on your skills, value and accomplishments, as a way to keep it relevant to the job application. Highlight important primary responsibilities and your years of experience to demonstrate how you qualify for the position. Select between one to three accomplishments in the form of awards, achievements or promotions to get the recruiter or hiring manager's attention. Include any special skills or certifications that may be relevant to the position. Use data where necessary to support your current experience.

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: Standing Out To Hiring Managers During COVID-19

5. End by mentioning your goals and aspirations

The last section of your personal statement focuses on your career goals and aspirations. Aligning them with the position showcases your interest in the hiring manager. As you might have already written about your skills, knowledge and experience in the preceding sentence, you can keep this last section brief. Express your enthusiasm for exploring opportunities to demonstrate your motivation to advance your career.

6. Proofread your personal statement

It's important to find and correct any errors in your personal statement. Begin by checking your spelling, punctuation and grammar. You may reread your statement to see if there are changes that you'd like to make. It helps to have a different opinion, so have someone you trust proofread your personal statement. Having someone else proofread your statement can help identify not only errors but other important features to consider for your personal statement.

Personal statement example

Below are some examples of personal statements that can guide you when writing your own:

CV example

Here's an example of a personal statement on a CV:

Sales manager with over 5 years of experience in B2B and B2C verticals. Identified and grew our client base by adding over 28 accounts within a year. I am adept at identifying client needs and tailoring my pitch to meet objectives. With a track record of identifying leads and increasing sales revenue with exemplary client-focused account management, I implemented a sales plan that achieved over $15 million in sales within two years. Currently exploring a senior sales position where I can take on new challenges and bring about changes in sales through technology and strategy.

University application example

Here's an example of a personal statement when applying to a university:

Personal Statement
Anthony Chan

I am a passionate entrepreneur and always looking to learn more about running a business while helping others too. I first became interested in running my own business as an enterprising 14-year-old, helping people in the neighbourhood overcome challenges with basic technology. I was inspired by this experience to get in touch with vendors and companies to provide products and parts which I would sell at a discount and provide installation services to clients, including complimentary support when they needed it.

After completing my bachelor's degree in business management, I started my first company at the age of 23, The Comp Shop, selling custom-built computers, peripherals and accessories and providing service solutions to customers at affordable prices. I capitalised on my experiences as a teenager and eventually grew my business to three stores in the city, before selling my venture to a company that was looking to expand operations and locations. More recently, I've been helping other entrepreneurs like myself convert ideas into marketable solutions and business at StartCubator.

With a unique perspective on startups and being an entrepreneur, I'm well-positioned to advance my knowledge, skills and qualities through the prestigious Master of Business Administration program at the University of Hong Kong. With the programme's leadership training, I look forward to kick-starting the next stage of my entrepreneurial growth and career and to meeting new people and creating wonderful memories.

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