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Topic: Recruitment

personal statement review helpsheet
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Personal statement review helpsheet

Personal statement review helpsheet

Our personal statement review helpsheet will assist you in sorting out the good personal statements on job applicants’ CVs from the poor ones. You can go through the two lists as part of your recruitment process when assessing CVs and drawing up an interview schedule.

What’s a personal statement?

Most candidates now include a personal statement with their job applications. A personal statement is generally the first substantive section included on a job applicant’s CV and it’s a brief personal summary that they’ve written to help them stand apart from the competition. It’s the applicant’s chance to sell themselves to you by putting across their specific skills and experience which make them perfect for your vacant job role.

Good statements

A good personal statement shouldn’t be a reproduction of information already provided in the applicant’s CV or covering letter - it needs to contain useful extra information about them that makes them stand out from the crowd. Our Personal Statement Review Helpsheet confirms that a good personal statement will also:

  • be tailored to your vacancy and not simply a standard one they always use - it needs to set out what attracts the applicant to the particular job role and to your particular business
  • give you a real insight into their personality, ambitions and motivations
  • provide depth to its information, rather than superficiality
  • show how they’ve developed over the years and overcome any major career setbacks
  • demonstrate how their skills and experience make them an ideal fit for the job role
  • identify their “soft” skills and how they can aid your business
  • show how they will fit into your business culture and how they share its vision and values
  • include key terms used in your job ad or company literature.

Remember that if a job applicant sounds too good to be true from their personal statement, it normally means they are. Nobody is that perfect! It could well be the case that they’ve paid to have their personal statement professionally drafted by a third party.

Poor statements

Conversely, poor statements give little or no insight into who the job applicant really is and what their ambitions and motivations are and they fail to focus on how the applicant suits the particular job role and your business. Our helpsheet also confirms that poor statements will:

  • contain spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, text speak and slang
  • be repetitive and disjointed, for example failing to make the link between their skills and experience and their suitability for the job role
  • overuse management speak and clichéd, general expressions
  • overly focus on the salary/benefits package and show no real enthusiasm for the job role or your business.

In addition, our helpsheet warns you to watch out for personal statements that criticise previous employers or work colleagues, reveal extreme or discriminatory views or portray the applicant as a perpetual “victim”. These are all red flag signs that you could have a problem employee on your hands were you to recruit them. However, if the applicant has a disability, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to set out how they’ve successfully overcome any substantial career disadvantages resulting from their disability.

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