Top Quality Summary Sections/Personal Statements on CVs
The summary at the top of a CV is one of the key areas of a CV that so often gets ignored by candidates or filled with meaningless waffle. A good number of CVs we see every day actually miss them off completely, which is an opportunity missed if you are someone who fits a job description perfectly. We have recently had sight of possibly the best (and worst) personal statement ever seen on a CV. It read:
1. VERY HARD WORKING,DECENT LOOKING,ALWAYS WELL DRESSED BLOKE.
2. Honest, hard working and reliable person with a strong work ethic and commitment to exceed expectations.
3. I have an excellent communication and interpersonal ability, this enables me to be interactive when working as part of a team.
We think the first sentence was probably written by the candidate, with the remainder borrowed from some university careers service website somewhere in the UK. This candidate was applying for an immigration caseworker role.
I have to say that we took more notice of this candidate’s CV for the first sentence rather than the rest of it, which is standard place on so many CVs. I have just gone into the CVs we received yesterday from candidates and this is a selection of the statements we have to plough through every day.
1. Solicitor – Immigration. “To obtain a challenging position where I can build and apply my leadership abilities, interpersonal and analytical skills. I am a qualified Solicitor with strong international skill seeks a role where knowledge of law will be an advantage to perform day to day duty.”
2. Legal PA application: “I want to create a right type of fashion combination for clients with
my skills and knowledge of latest fashion trends. A creative, enterprising and versatile individual who combines imaginative and artistic abilities ,meticulous and conscientious to ensure that a high standard of my work.”
3. Solicitor application: “As an enthusiastic, motivated and approachable person, I am able to communicate effectively with members of the public and work colleagues alike. One of my key strengths is my ability to work effectively as part of a team, where my excellent inter-personal and communication skills are harnessed to best effect. Whilst completing any set task I am equally confident and effective working individually, my motivation levels are high and my attention to detail is second to none. My high level of devotion coupled with my desire to succeed always allows to me achieve high standards in any task I am entrusted with.”
Do any of these summaries give the reader any information they may require? Not really, other than the applicant is good at copying waffly stuff from other CVs on the internet and that in most cases they struggle with basic grammar.
So what should a personal statement have in it?
Our quick answer is to write 2-3 sentences selling yourself to the reader. A bit like the 30 second sales pitch to the question – “what do you do?”. So for a conveyancing solicitor with 3 years experience this would be a good example:
“A 3 year PQE Residential Conveyancing Solicitor with a range of experience including both freehold and leasehold properties, right to buy and development work, looking for a permanent full time role commutable from Croydon. Salary levels from £35k and notice period 3 months.”
I don’t need to read the rest of the CV to know exactly who this candidate is.
Here is an example of a good summary received this week from a practice manager:
“I have over 25+ years experience in Legal Practice Management with some of the largest and most successful law firms in [ ]. At [X Solicitors Firm] we gained Lexcel and IIP at first attempt with excellent results.I have dealt with an SRA investigation at one of the firms – again with a very positive outcome. I am confident dealing with all Practice Management issues and liasing with staff, partners, and external agencies at all levels in the organisation.”