Highlighting yourself, your skills and talents can be hard, after all, most of us Kiwis are quite humble about our abilities. When going for a job, you need to be able to promote your strengths, in written form as part of your personal summary in your CV.
Imagine you are stuck in an elevator with your potential employer – you have 20 seconds to highlight yourself to him or her before they walk out. On your CV your elevator pitch is your personal summary, a short statement outlining your abilities and achievements.
A personal summary should reinforce your cover letter, which should always be tailored specifically to the job you are applying for and broadly outline your skills, abilities and aspirations which are then backed up in more detail in your CV.
Generally, an employer does not know you, so your personal statement and cover letter will be the first thing the employer will read about yourself, and you want to make a positive first impression.
Your summary should be short (around 100 words), succinct and sharp, starting with who you are, your experience and achievements, and your career aspirations. Imagine, if you did find yourself stuck in an elevator with a potential employer, what would you say about yourself?
Start with a sentence about yourself outlining your current role, moving on to relevant work achievements and career highlights. You should outline any relevant previous experience and skills. Your final sentence should capture why you are interested in the job and what you can bring to the role.
‘I am a motivated and enthusiastic … with more than … years’ experience in … I am skilled in …….I am currently seeking a … position to further advance my career.’
Remember to write your personal summary in first person (I am a detail oriented and personable PA looking…) rather than third person (eg: Sarah is a PA looking to take her administrative….)
For a couple of examples check out these pitches recently shared via SEEK:
1. Project Manager – Financial Services
I am a motivated and analytical project manager with more than 15 years’ experience in the financial services industry, specialising in business lending. In my current role I have been responsible for rolling out a new microenterprise program which has helped more than 100 small businesses kick start their operations. I am proud of my solid track record of delivering projects that have had proven business benefits and am now looking to take on greater responsibility, with project budgets greater than $10 million and leading larger teams of more than 30 FTE.
I am an enthusiastic and driven Commerce graduate with an Honours degree from the University of Melbourne. I am currently looking to secure a Graduate Business Analyst position to utilise my strong analytical skills and business knowledge.
3. Communications Consultant
I am a talented and creative freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years' professional experience. My skills include writing, editing and proofreading a wide range of communications collateral including feature articles, website content, annual reports, newsletters, media releases and fact sheets. I have worked for a broad range of clients including financial services firms, government and non-government agencies, industry bodies and professional consultancies. I am now looking for a permanent role in Communications that will utilise my diverse writing and editing experience and take my career to the next level.
4. Sales manager returning to work after parental leave
I am a highly motivated and proactive sales manager, with outstanding networking and organisational skills and more than 10 years’ professional experience. My keen ability to foster and maintain client relationships resulted in a 20% increase in sales for the last organisation I worked for. I am currently looking to resume my professional career after dedicating the last five years to raising my family.
Your personal summary can be useful not only in securing an interview with a potential employer, but as your guide to presenting yourself well in an interview situation. Often an opening interview question can be “tell me a bit about yourself”.
At pnpersonnel we read a huge number of CV’s and can advise you if your personal summary is hitting the mark with regards to your career objectives. Don’t be afraid to give us a call, we are always more than happy to share our professional opinion with you.