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CV Personal Statement, Keywords and Professional Style
for Engineers

CV Personal Statement

It is strongly recommended to include a paragraph early in the CV that provides the employer with a snap shot of you. Tell them something unique, memorable and descriptive about the type of person you are. Describe your experiences and why you are not only a good match for the position, but also a potential asset to their organisation. Make them want to read more – one of the key purposes of the CV Personal Statement.

The length of the statement may vary but go for between 35 – 60 words. It’s got to be long enough to be sufficiently descriptive, yet you do not want to take up too much of the precious 2 pages at your disposal – the recommended CV length.

Put something in there specifically related to the position, so the employer can tell you’ve spent some effort tailoring the CV rather than firing out a standard version. Also key words from the advert should be woven in here. Aim to further personalise the statement by addressing the company you’re applying to by name.

No CV clichés please! Employers see them repeatedly and as result spot them a mile off. They are a real turn off. Instead include considered, thoughtfully descriptive words about your attributes, which are backed up with tangible evidence further on in the CV.

Make the statement as concise as possible. Aim to make every word in the CV personal statement work. This means thoroughly reviewing and editing it. Try drafting it, then leaving the original statement for a short while, before coming back to check it.

To express dynamism and energy through the written word, use assertive language and active verbs to describe yourself and your achievements. Re-read the statement once completed. Get others to review it. Ask yourself – does it sound punchy and dynamic? Are there any dry bits that could be reworded to electrify them? By reviewing and refining in this way, you will eventually be left with a CV personal statement that compels the employer to want to read more. Importantly this makes you stand out from the pile of other CVs they’re in the process of sifting.


CV Personal Statement works best when paired with a...

Professional Style, Look and Feel

To give yourself the best possible chance, your CV has got to be well presented from the first moment the recruiter sets eyes on it. Key to achieving this is attention to detail and a continual focus on presentational professionalism. The document should be inviting to read.

Use plain white A4 paper. For text select a plain clear font – nothing artistic. Choose a legible font size, remembering recruiters’ eyesight will vary. Do not be tempted to ‘pack more in’ to your 2 pages by going for a smaller font. This goes against the ‘document should be inviting to read’ principle. Leave plenty of white space, using the recommended sections above as natural ways of breaking up blocks of text. Use bullet points when listing items. Sentences should generally be short and concise. The CV should not be more than 2 pages long.

Consider using bold text or possibly italics for section headers. The subtle use of colour for some text is a potential way to make the CV stand out. If so, carefully consider where colour is used. Sticking to black for the main body of text is recommended for clarity. Also consider the document may be photocopied so the choice of colours needs to be legible and clear if reproduced.

Check for spelling and grammatical errors. The importance of this can not be overstated. Don’t just rely on the Spellchecker. Do this a number of times, leaving the document for a while before checking again. Get others to proof-read and critique the CV. 

  • Does it flow logically?
  • Is it easy to find important bits of information?
  • Do the section headings sufficiently signpost what a potential employer is looking for?
  • Does the layout look balanced and correct?
  • Could it be improved?


When drafting your CV Personal Statement, bear in mind...

The Importance of Keywords

If you intend to upload your CV to technical recruitment agencies on the web, you need to be aware of the importance of keywords. Recruiters search these databases for the CVs that best suit their job descriptions. They use keywords to identify the closest matches and so compile a short-list of applicants. You need to make sure you are on that short-list by using the keywords they are looking for in your CV.

Specifically, your Personal Statement and Employment History sections should definitely feature the words that matter. To identify the particular keywords you’ll need, it’s worth reviewing job adverts describing the role you are after. What common phrases and words do they use? Use the same technical recruitment agencies and job websites to quickly compare and review your target job, and so identify keywords and phrases. Searches on the internet should be central to you understanding the keywords necessary to get your CV on the short-list. 

CV Personal Statement

 Next...Tailoring the Covering Letter and Marketing Yourself

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If there is such a shortage of engineers, why aren’t engineering salaries shooting through the roof? What do you think?

We constantly hear about the skills shortage in engineering and high-end manufacturing? Well according to the laws of supply and demand, a shortage of anything should increase its value. So why aren’t engineering salaries sky rocketing as a result? Or are they? What do you think?

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