Tell your career story in your personal profile

Updated: Sep 14, 2019

#CVtipsforGraduates 3/5

In blogs 1 and 2 on #CVtipsforGraduates, I covered the importance of capturing the employer's attention on page 1 of your CV. Page 1 is such prime real estate, that it has warranted a third blog on the topic!

The final elements of page 1 are your personal profile and career objectives.

Your personal profile and career objective

Your personal profile is basically your executive summary of who you are, your abilities, your skills, your knowledge and experience and what you are aiming to achieve in the first step in your career. If written well it should provide a summary of your CV and give the prospective employer the first opportunity to see how you may be right for the opportunity they are offering.

This is a critical section of a CV and if often left out because people don't know what to say here. Take time to write this section carefully and thoughtfully.

While there is no specific formula to writing a personal profile, it should say bit about:

  • who you are,

  • what you have achieved in your life,

  • what you are studying/have completed studying,

  • any work experience (or any community/volunteer/leadership positions) that you have had and

  • specific skills that differentiate you from others.

It should also give some clarity on where you want to go in your career, and what the first step might be, what sort of opportunity you might need to take that first step.

An example:

I’m a recent graduate holding a BCom Accounting from UNISA. Studying via correspondence while looking after my younger siblings helped me develop my drive, discipline, and resilience. I have an appreciation for learning and recently taught myself basic coding using open-source online educational websites. I volunteer at a local community project and teach children computer skills over weekends and in my spare time. My objective is to be employed in an entry-level/graduate position where I can apply my academic knowledge, my passion for learning and my basic skills in coding to contribute towards the company's objectives while developing my experience and competence as an accounting professional.

If you are applying for a specific position, try as far as possible to include the required skills and competencies in the job advert, into your profile, and if you have any specific examples you can use to demonstrate how you have used these skills and competencies then include them in your profile.

If you are sending out a generic CV to anyone and everyone you can find, then absolutely make sure that you have a cover letter that is personalised to each company. Companies are inundated with unsolicited generic CVs, so you need yo make sure that yours stands out by demonstrating that you have some thoughts on what the company does and how you might contribute to it.

But I have no idea what my career objective is

If you have no idea what your career objective is, perhaps start having conversations with people who are working in the industry that you want to work in. Do some research on what a career path could look like for you.

  • Look at the websites of professional bodies, and go to the monthly meetings of these professional bodies (most have a youth development or student option).

  • Talk to people - most people are only to happy to talk about their career journeys.

  • Ask them how they got to where they are.

  • Ask them what their first job was.

  • Ask them what their objectives were at the beginning of their careers.

In the next blog, I am going to make some suggestions on the remaining elements of your CV, and how to layout all the information.

Enjoyed this blog? Read the full series of CV tips:

  1. Grab their attention on page 1

  2. The most important information to place on page 1 of your CV

  3. How to write your personal profile and career objectives in your CV

  4. The importance of CV layout

  5. Use LinkedIn to support your CV and career journey

I love conversations and would love to engage with you on your career and how you are managing yourself and your career like a business.

I believe "managing your career like a business" means having insight on where you want to go in your career, the agility and resilience to change track when necessary, competence to navigate transition points, and self-awareness to manage yourself. I help you do that through one-on-one coaching, CV and LinkedIn profile writing, topic-specific workshops and a suite of blogs and other materials available on my website. Want more information? Drop me a message and I will get back to you asap.

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