How to write your personal profile

What is my personal profile?

Your personal profile is a chance to say a bit about yourself and to tell the employer why they should give you a job. It should go right at the start of your CV. It gives employers a summary of:

  • Who you are
  • What you are looking for
  • What you can offer

What goes in my personal profile?

The first sentence or two should say who you are and what you are looking for. For example, you might say:

I am currently doing A-levels in maths, French and history. I want a career in accountancy and am looking for a higher apprenticeship that will give me the opportunity to build on my existing skills and to gain qualifications.

Next, mention any qualities, experience and skills you have that make you suitable for the job. The employer needs to know that you can offer the things they are looking for. For example:

For the past year I have had a Saturday job in a local supermarket. This has given me experience of dealing with customers and recently I was given the award of Employee of the Month. I am hard-working and good at managing my time. Last summer I did a one-month work experience placement in the financial department of a large building company. I gained valuable skills such as using spreadsheets, sending out invoices, and helping to set budgets.

Hints and tips

General tips when writing a personal profile:

  • Keep it short. Personal profiles should be no more than six or seven lines.
  • Only say things about yourself that you can back up with evidence. Anyone can say that they are a good leader; on its own this will not impress anyone. The employer is much more likely to take notice if you show that you are a good leader by saying that you were captain of the school hockey team, for example.
  • No one is going to write that they are lazy, dishonest, and unreliable, even if they are. So words and phrases like 'reliable', 'honest', and 'hard working' count for much less than giving evidence of when you have shown those qualities.
  • Don't use vague and unoriginal phrases, like 'professional' or 'dynamic'. Be specific about what skills you have, and give evidence for what you say.
  • Make it clear what you did to contribute to successes. Saying that your 'department doubled its sales last year' is not very helpful. The employer will not know whether it was you who brought in a large number of sales, or whether you simply made the tea for those who did.
  • Focus on the skills and qualities that are needed in the job you are applying for.
  • Adapt your personal profile for each job, or type of job, that you apply for.
  • Be positive and upbeat in what you say, but only say what is true. If you lie you are likely to be found out. Employers are skilled at spotting bluffers.
  • You do not have to give this section of your CV a title. If you want to, though, you could head it 'personal profile' or 'profile'.
  • Employers like it if you show that you can learn from your experiences and are prepared to take on new challenges.

What if I haven't got much to say yet?

When starting out in work, it is helpful to have things to write about in your personal profile when applying for a job. But it helps if you have a job so that you have things to write about in your personal profile. It's a bit of a 'Catch 22' loop.

As a way of breaking out of this loop, look at what things you can do as a hobby or as a volunteer. Seek out those things which you can do which you are passionate about and are relevant to the career you want to do. That way you are doing what you enjoy, adding to your experience, and giving yourself more to write about in your personal profile.

Not all CVs include a personal profile. If you feel you do not have very much experience yet, then it is probably better to leave it out.

Last updated 13 November, 2014