in CV Writing

How to Write a Good Personal Profile Section on a CV

The first thing to say about a personal profile section is that if you have nothing to say, the best personal profile section for you would be an empty one and the space used more effectively for something else.

You only need a personal profile section to explain about six points. These are

1. Your job title

2. The number of years’ experience you have

3. Any particular tempting assets for a prospective employer

4. The location you seek work

5. How much you want

6. When you are available.

An example of this in a legal career context would be :

“A conveyancing solicitor with 5 years PQE and a personal following worth £120k, looking for a suitable post in North West London. Salary levels £40-£50k, notice period 2 months”.

By including this information it makes it possible for anyone looking at the CV to immediately see who the person is, and whether or not they wish to continue to read the CV or move onto the next one.

This section is one of the hardest to get right because if the personal profile is no good then it is highly likely that anyone looking at the CV will immediately form a negative perception of the writer.

The personal profile we have included above complies with the three second rule.

The three second rule is the theory that you have three seconds to impress the reader of your CV before they give up and move onto the next one or fail to take in exactly who you are and what you are looking for.

A personal profile that just contains a load of buzz words and subjective information is completely useless and a total waste of time and space.

An example of this would be

“A gregarious and outgoing law graduate with a can-do attitude to work. Possessing a sense of humour and an ability to achieve great things. Looking to progress career and demonstrate my great ability to any prospective employer”.

We see so many of these on CVs and it is sad to think that it is possible that someone somewhere is advising people to include this nonsense.  I would imagine that pretty much every employer would agree that this type of entry is a complete waste of time and effort and should be avoided like the plague.

If this is all you have to write on your CV leave the personal profile section off. Profiles are only really relevant if you have something specific to the post or type of firm you are applying to and if not then it is best to let the employer simply read what you have done to date in your work experience and your academic career.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment – visit our careers shop for CV advice, career coaching and many more products.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk