By Vlad Mackevic
A personal profile is a very brief summary of your education, skills and competences. Experienced professionals do include it at the top of the CV, just under the contact details. However, you really need to know what to include there. For more qualified jobs, CVs are often scanned by machines for certain keywords (usually those mentioned in the job description of the position for which you are applying). Thus, it is important to include those keywords in your CV even if you are not including the profile section.
A personal profile is similar to an elevator pitch. It summarises you as a professional in a hundred words: your skills, your main selling points and your experience.
So, what should a personal profile consist of? And what should it look like? Here are some tips:
1. Make it short – 120 words is the upper limit. Anywhere between 60 and 80 is fine.
2. Do not use ‘I’ – write in the third person.
3. 1-2 keywords in a sentence. No more.
4. Do not fill your profile with adjectives because you have no space to back them up with examples. Leave that for the Skills section.
5. If you have enough space on the CV (two pages) make it 1.15 line spaced. It will be easier to read. For example, in this eBook, 1.15 line spacing is used.
6. List your special achievements. Mention your education and key skills. Three is the magic number, so list the main three skills/sets of skills at most. Can be two as well because you will mention many things in the Skills section.
7. Mention your career aim.
8. VERY IMPORTANT: Modify it with every different job you apply to. Match it with the job profile. This, in fact, applies to the entire CV. Sending the same CV to one hundred different companies will not get you anywhere unless all one hundred have identical job descriptions.
9. Read it aloud to see if it reads well. Have a friend proof it. After all, it is the first thing your future employer sees when they look at your CV.
10. If space is precious, omit the profile altogether. You will have enough of a chance to impress your employers in the Education and Skills sections. If you do not include the profile, mention the keywords in the body of the CV.
Mr John Smith
A student of Politics and International Relations in the University of XXXX with strong commercial and political awareness (member of the Economics society) and outstanding communication skills (18 months experience as a student journalist and secretary of the Debate Club) looking for an internship in public relations in an NGO. A keen learner, flexible, willing to apply his knowledge and learn new skills with a view to establishing himself in the NGO Communications industry.
Ms Jane Smith
A recent graduate of Business and French (2:1 honours degree from YYYY University) with experience of project and events management (secretary of the Karate Society for 3 years) as well as strong interest in recruitment (increased the number of the French Society members by 200%; the largest Language Society of the past five years). Looking for opportunities in the field of human resources. Dissertation topic: Employee Retention Strategies in Fashion Retail Business in the UK and France.
The main idea behind a personal profile is to make the employer interested.
These examples are, in fact, very short. However, they illustrate one of the main ideas of this book: work experience and competences can be found in any student activity. It is important to realise that you have to take advantage of those activities – especially in your first and second years.
This article is a chapter from Vlad Mackevic’s new book ‘How to Write a CV with Little or No Work Experience. A guidebook for students and recent graduates’. You can download this book for FREE by entering your email in the form below!
P.S. You’ll be able to find more information on becoming active in university in my new eBook Camp UK 10/2012: The Ultimate Post-2012 University Survival Guide, UK Edition, which will be issued in autumn 2012. Please, keep reading www.TheLectureRoom.co.uk for more information.
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