Writing a Professional Profile For A CV
A Professional Profile for a CV can be a make or break section of a CV. Here’s how to write a winning profile to set your CV apart from the pack
As with writing most parts of a CV, writing a professional profile for a CV can be just as tedious as writing the rest of your Curriculum vitae. Despite its potential to be tedious, its essential that you place a great deal of thought into this single paragraph due to its ability to make or break your success.
What Is A Professional Profile And It’s Purpose?
A professional profile is a brief statement, a summary of your skills, achievements and experience located in the first section of the CV, directly below your name, address and contact details.
Due to its prominence over the rest of your CV, the professional profile is the first part of the CV that recruiters see and should therefore contain all of the key information that will spark an interest in the recruiter to read further.
I always compare the professional profile to the synopsis that you find on the back or inside cover of a good novel. We’ve all been there. You stand scanning the books in a book shop and a title grabs your attention. So you remove it from the shelf and read the synopsis. In book sales the synopsis is the deal maker or breaker and the same applies to a professional profile.
As an ex recruiter I can testify that the professional profile is the go-to section for a recruiter to read first. If the profile reflects the vacancy, they are looking for applicants to fill then they will read on. If, however, it bears no resemblance to the vacancy then the CV will get rejected.
What Should Be Included In A Professional Profile For A CV
It is impossible for me to give a definitive answer in this article on exactly what you should include in a professional profile for a CV for 2 reasons:
- The profile is unique to each writer as elements included in one profile would not be relevant to another.
- The professional profile is no different to the rest of the CV. To be effective its essential a profile is adapted to each application which means that an individual could apply for 5 jobs and each profile will contain different information.
This simply means that this article can only provide you with a list of elements that could be included in a profile. It will be up to you, as the writer, to assess the relevance to your situation and whether it would be appropriate to your application.
- Number years of experience
- Any role / industry specific qualification
- Most recent job title
- Industries in which you have worked
- Keywords that are relevant to the vacancy to which you are applying
- Skills that are job specific
- A key achievement
The 2 elements that must be included in a professional profile for a CV are:
- A profile should be concise and no longer than 7 lines and ideally only 4-lines in length. Any longer and the recruiter will miss vital information more importantly it won’t grab their attention and entice them to read the rest of your CV
- The profile, along with the rest of your CV should be written in third person rather than 1st person. Eradicating “I”, “I’ve”, “I’m”, “Me” will give your profile a professional appearance, makes it easier to read and will allow you to keep the profile concise.
There’s a lot of information to include in a profile for a CV. To write a successful profile its essential that you adopt a ruthless approach to the information you include and employ some creative writing.
What Not To Include In Your Professional Profile
There aren’t many things that I wouldn’t recommend placing in your professional profile however bullet points and clichés are certainly ones to avoid.
The amount of profiles that roll out the same phrases such as:
- Team player
- Excellent communication skills
- Thinks outside of the box
- Fast learner
- Attention to detail
- Very motivated
You need a Professional Profile for a CV to have impact that makes you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Using clichés will only cause your CV to disappear into the depths of the 100’s of CVs applying for the same vacancy.
Bullet points are immensely useful throughout the majority of your CV, breaking up large chunks of text to enable key information to be assimilated by the reader.
However the use of bullet points in the professional profile section of the CV simply affects the readability of the paragraph and if the profile is only 4-5 lines long then key information won’t be lost amongst the text.
Need Some Inspiration To Write A Professional Profile For A CV?
When I ask Clients to objectively look at themselves and describe their achievements and skills I am often met by silence. Yes, there are many people who love to brag and talk themselves up, however the vast majority hate self-publication and struggle to identify the information to place in their profile.
Here are our top tips on how to find the information to include in your profile.
Take the job specification for the role you are applying for and, with a highlighter, identify the keywords included in the spec. This can include the experience levels required and any skills that are essential or desirable for the role.
Ask a friend:
Find a colleague or former colleague that will provide you with an unbiased view of your key skills and your level of attainment. The key to this is finding someone who is unbiased, not your best friend in the office who will probably tell you what they think you want to hear.
Spend some time searching current adverts for similar roles to your current position. Adverts often mention the soft skills required for a role and all you need to do is simply identify which ones you can demonstrate a proficient level of attainment.
Depending on how seriously your employer takes the performance review process, it can be a great source of vital information. It not only provides you with skills you use but your boss also assesses these capabilities for you. Perfect for selecting skills for your profile.
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About the Author of Write A Professional Profile For A CV
CV Writer & Interview Coach
An Interview Coach and CV writer with over 23 years experience working within the recruitment industry.
Starting as an Executive Headhunter in the City of London and more recently acting as an independent consultant advising job searchers on how to successfully progress their careers to the next level.
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