Should I have a profile on my CV?
The CV Profile is an optional section that begins your CV. If you choose to include one, it would go at the top of your CV, immediately after your name and contact details.
Done well, the Profile can have a real impact and get your CV off to a great start.
For most students and graduates, having a Profile is recommended. But, if you are finding it particularly hard to write – or feel like it won’t add much to your CV – don’t include it.
The Profile on a CV is sometimes also referred to as ‘Personal Profile’, ‘Personal Statement’ or ‘Career Objective’. Unless you are planning on writing a short section only about your career aims, don’t title the section ‘Career Objective’.
First person or third person?
People are worried about writing the Profile in the first person as it’ll mean writing the word ‘I’ a lot. Writing the Profile section in the first person makes sense as, after all, you are writing about yourself and your background. Try using ‘My’ at the start of sentences as well as phrases such as ‘has enabled me to…’ in order to help reduce overuse of ‘I’. If you prefer the idea of writing it in the third person, then that is fine too. The key though is not to switch between first and third person as it’ll make the Profile seem clunky and not well-thought-out.
What to include
Imagine that this is the only section an employer is going to read. Which 4 or 5 things do you really want the employer to know?
Try thinking about: positions of responsibility you have had, which languages you speak, specific skills and work experience you have acquired, achievements you are proud of, and your motivations for applying.
Giving some context and scale is important. For example, if you have had two customer service jobs, say at clothes shop and at a hotel, you might write something like: ‘My 15 months of customer service experience working in retail and hospitality has strengthened my problem-solving skills.’
How long should it be?
There is no set length that it needs to be but a paragraph of 3-5 sentences should be long enough for your Profile to have the impact you are looking for.
Read it back to yourself. Does it make sense? Is the spelling and grammar as good as it could be?
If applying for a specific job, make sure you have a careful look at the requirements of the role. If the job advert makes it clear that knowledge of social media and an ability to problem-solve are key aspects, you might want to edit your Profile to incorporate those things.
Whilst including skills in your Profile is a good idea, quite often people include too many skills which makes the Profile too long and means it is not tailored to a specific industry or job role.
Remember what you have written in the Profile when writing the rest of your CV. For example, if you mention a company you have worked for, then this company needs to be included in the Employment/Work experience section of your CV.
In your Profile, avoid writing things like ‘I work well on my own and as part of a team.’ and ‘I would be the perfect for this role.’ Sentences like this are clichéd and won’t be eye-catching.
☞ Big thanks to Edmund Lewis, one of our Careers Consultants, for writing this blog post. We hope you find it useful.
Please be reminder that if you need careers support, your Careers Team is only an email / a message away!
**please note that the university will be closed for the holiday period from 20th December until 4th of January.**