The first section of your CV, normal entitled ‘personal profile’, is your chance to grab the recruiter’s attention. What you write here can make or break your application. We’ve asked the experts for their best advice on completing this important section of your CV.
The purpose of a summary is to provide a clear statement of what you have to offer and how you’re hoping your career will progress. This is your first chance to make an impression on a potential employer, to make yourself stand out from the crowd, grab their attention and encourage the employer to read on. You are looking to include succinct details about your key skills, experience, achievements and strengths. Write the statement after you’ve finished the main bits of the CV. Keep it brief and keep it interesting; just two lines of text are adequate.
Give a Grad a Go
A personal profile is the very first opportunity a candidate has to separate themselves from every other applicant (especially those with similar academic achievements and educational backgrounds). It should highlight what a candidate is looking for in a role, what strengths they have that make them right for their chosen vocation and ideally be targeted at a specific job role – which is why we encourage candidates to have a couple of versions of their profile if they’re looking at different sorts of opportunities. It should be as ungeneric as possible – ‘I’m a team player who works well on their own’ is now very outdated! It should be punchy, direct and ideally 3 or 4 sentences long and we always prefer profiles to be in the first person rather than the third person.
Tricky to get it right, but well worth the extra effort to make sure it’s as good as it possibly can be. (never hit the send button if you’re not totally happy with how you’re selling yourself)
Give A Grad A Go is a graduate recruitment specialist providing today’s talented and experienced graduates with exceptional career opportunities. We source outstanding graduates for global brands and thriving SME businesses.
Follow them on twitter @giveagradago
The Graduate Recruitment Bureau
This section is optional, but it is your chance to show an employer you are focussed and determined to pursue a career in their industry. It should appear at the beginning of your CV and ideally be no more than 2-4 lines. Provide an overview of your current situation, e.g. “I have just graduated from…with a degree in…and I’m looking for a role in…” The key is to be concise and specific. Ensure you tailor this section to each job you apply for too. Employers only read CVs for about 15 seconds, so grab their attention in the first few lines to show that you are the candidate they are looking for.
Dan Hawes is the co-founder and head of marketing at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, a recruitment consultancy which provides a free career matchmaking service for students and graduates. Follow them on Twitter to find out more @thegrbteam
When writing your “Personal profile” we think it is probably best to keep it concise, two or three extended bullet points that you would feel comfortable elaborating on in an interview and if possible, experiences that you feel will differentiate you from other candidates. It is also important to use these points as a way to demonstrate you have acquired skills that employers would find desirable, for example one of the directors at Grad Diary had participated in triathlons while at university, another of the Grad Diary team had used his programming skills from his course to develop a profitable web design business to support himself through university. Although completely different areas of interest they allowed members of the team to demonstrate to employers that they had been able to transition something from university into the commercial world, and in the case of the triathlons, demonstrate the ability to work hard towards goals.
Grad Diary provides graduates with all the information they need on graduate jobs and internships. From application deadlines, to interview advice, to company information and insider interviews. Follow them on Twitter @graddiary
Experienced Recruiter – Jenny Danes
This is the section of your CV that you should take the most time over. If I don’t like a candidates profile I spend a lot less time reading the rest of the CV. It should be no more than 3 or 4 short sentences and my personal preference is for candidates to include:
> Degree title
> The role they are looking for
> A few short points on why they stand out i.e. achievements and experience
Try not to use too many ‘buzz’ words that don’t really mean anything. When applying directly to job adverts make sure to re-write for each new application, pulling key points from the job descriptions.
Jenny has over 20 years experience recruiting graduates for some of the UK’s biggest firms.
If you’re a graduate recruiter and you’d like to add your thoughts to this list, get in touch!