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Perfecting your Personal Statement

Written by: Corinne Mills, Personal Career Management
Published on: 16 Aug 2014

Finance Personal Statement

Recruiters tend to scan and dismiss CVs quickly so you need to convince them within the first half page that you have the relevant financial skills, qualifications and experience. Otherwise they’re unlikely to read on and your CV could end up in the reject pile. One of the best ways to make that initial positive impact is to write a compelling personal statement / profile. This is a short, sharp and succinct 3-5 sentence paragraph positioned just below your contact details on the first page of your CV which acts like a mini-advertisement to grab their attention and highlight your relevant financial capabilities.

What should a professional personal statement include?

It’s important to label yourself with a title that is specific to the job you are applying for. For instance, instead of calling yourself a "Finance Professional” or “Self-motivated individual…”, try using your actual job title or the job title; ‘Finance Director’, or ‘Financial Controller’ for instance, to reflect exactly what you are looking for. Of course you can only call yourself this if you have practical experience in the relevant area but it enables them to see right away that you have the background needed.

Mention how many years of experience you have working in this field and your relevant qualifications, as this will tell them at a glance whether you have sufficient professional credibility as a serious candidate for their role. If the role or organisation asks for particular expertise or knowledge e.g. understanding of mergers and acquisitions, specific software, background in the media industry, then make sure that this experience is mentioned in your personal profile e.g. “Extensive experience of managing the financial integration of newly acquired companies”. If you’re applying for a management role ensure that you state the size of teams that you have managed and the scope of your responsibilities e.g. “recruiting, motivating and performance managing staff”. For CFO and senior finance CVs, you also need to talk about your input into strategy development and leadership.

Demonstrate the value you can bring to the organisation you’re applying to by including something in your personal profile which illustrates that your career to date has been successful. This might be your contribution to maximising revenue streams, identifying commercial opportunities, reducing losses or improving the efficiency of your team.

As a finance professional you do need to demonstrate that you have the technical capabilities to do the job so your profile should include the key technical skills required e.g. managing accounts, payroll. That said, soft skills are just as crucial. Employers do want to get a sense of what you are like as a person but always back up claims about your personal qualities by supplying evidence. These must all be in a professional context rather than a personal context. For e.g. “tenacious and thorough as demonstrated by successfully chasing up customer debts worth over £50,000”.

In summary, your personal profile statement should address all the areas that the recruiter will be considering in relation to their selection criteria for the finance job. Be prepared to craft a few different versions of your personal profile before you find the one that most adequately reflects you and the type of job you are pursuing. It’s worth the effort because if you get this right, you increase the likelihood of your application being read thoroughly and subsequently shortlisted.

If you are looking for support on writing your finance CV, you can use our CV Template for Part Qualified Accountants or if you’re just starting out, read our advice on how to write the perfect Graduate Accounting and Finance CV.

Career Coaching and Finance Jobs on GAAPweb

This article was written by Corinne Mills, Managing Director of Personal Career Management, the leading career coaching company and partners with GAAPweb.

If you looking for your first finance job or need help improving your career prospects? Personal Career Management provides specialist coaching and advice to candidates looking to stand out in a competitive job market. You can book a free career review with the experts at PCM and get support securing your next role.