What is a Personal Profile on a CV, and How Do I Write One?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn what a personal profile on a CV is and how to write one. Gain insight on which jobs require a personal profile and how you can make yours stand out.

[Featured Image] A smiling job candidate with a personal profile CV talks to a potential employer in an office setting.

Six to eight seconds is all the time you have to grab and hold a potential employer’s attention [1]. That’s the average time recruiters in the United Kingdom spend looking at a CV.

When applying for a job, standing out while proving you are the best candidate for the role is essential. Generally, the only thing you have to show for yourself is a CV and a personal profile that accompanies it before an interview.

What is a personal profile?

A personal profile is a paragraph or statement at the top of your CV (above your work experience) that describes who you are and why you’re qualified for the role to which you are applying. A good personal profile will do a proper job advertising your skills to the potential employer and encourage them to want to get to know you further through your CV or a job interview. 

It should give the person reading your CV a sense of your ideals and professional goals. The personal profile section is also one of your first chances to make an excellent impression and entice recruiters to keep reading.

Is a personal profile the same as a summary?

Personal profiles and summaries are essentially the same things, with different names. Both sum up your work experience and knowledge in an attempt to capture the reader and prompt them to explore your CV further.  However, a profile typically focuses more on highlighting your accomplishments.

Goal of a personal profile

For every open position in the UK, employers receive an average of 250 CVs [1]. The personal profile comes before the complete CV. Many people think of it as a ‘sales pitch.’ You can use this critical section to advertise to a future employer by summarising your experience and showcasing your accolades.

What to include in a personal profile

When writing a personal profile, including only the essential details is important. You should be direct and concise and provide readers with a clear understanding of who you are and what your career goals are. Tailor your profile to each role you apply for.

Who are you?

In a few words, describe who you are and where you are on your career trajectory. Use adjectives that describe your personality, such as ‘talented,’ ‘dedicated,’ or ‘enthusiastic.’ These words will give the reader a better picture of who you are and why you want this role.

What are your most relevant skills and experience?

Your CV will detail your complete list of skills and long-term experience, but in the personal profile, you’ll want to stick exclusively to skills that pertain to the role you’re applying for. For example, if the job is an educator position, list your experience as a teaching assistant or substitute teacher.

What are you looking for?

Employers want to know your aspirations and if you would be a good long-term fit for their company. Toward the end of your profile, mention where you’d like your career to go. If you’re just getting started, including a sentence about how you hope to reach a certain level or role in the future through learning and gaining experience can inform the reader that you have goals and are motivated.

Personal profile length

According to the CV Library, a personal profile should be 180 to 200 words at most [2]. Remember, the personal profile is a statement describing and selling yourself to the reader, leaving them wanting more information about your job history. You will list your job history in subsequent sections of your CV, which a compelling profile will motivate them to read. 

Tips for writing a compelling personal profile

Are you ready to start writing your profile? You can use these tips to guide the process.

Tailor to the role you’re applying for

When applying for a specific job, you’ll find that employers seek out some skills more than others—and those skills vary from company to company. In your profile, you should describe the specific skills you possess. If an employer is looking for someone with exceptional organisation and good time management skills, it is best not to reference your customer service experience. Instead, draw attention to your expertise in the skills they are looking for. Alternatively, highlight your eagerness to learn and adapt to new skills in the workplace.

Use keywords

Keywords inform the reader that you know the qualifications for the role you’re applying for and have them. As you list your relevant experience and skills, you’ll want to use words that grab the reader’s attention. If they’re looking for someone with years of experience, call out how long you’ve been working in the field directly.

Keep it professional

When writing your profile, it’s important to keep your language clean and concise. The best way to do this is to keep the tone professional and steer clear of a casual, friendly voice. You are a professional hoping to get hired by a professional, so be sure to market yourself accordingly.

Use measurables

General statements and phrases will not make you stand out to a potential employer. Instead, consider using numerical facts to market yourself. For example, you could include relevant grades you received from your university, the amount of time you spent in a past role, or the results of a particular project or campaign you worked on.

Be concise

You want your profile to sound authentic, and avoiding unnecessary language in an attempt to sound more intelligent can help achieve that. Write factually and concisely. You are trying to sell your skills and experience and should advertise your abilities in a clear way that doesn’t ramble on or take up too much space.

Do I need a personal profile?

Though personal profiles are not required, experts recommend including them at the top of every CV. These short sections help capture the reader’s attention, ensuring they get to know at least a summary of your skills and experience.

Personal profile example

The following is an example of a personal profile of someone who is applying for an HR manager role:

I am an organised, thoughtful individual with experience managing and leading employees and teammates. I have a degree in Human Resources Management from The University of Edinburgh and over 10 years of experience in Human Resources Administration. Over my career thus far, I have gained extraordinary problem-solving skills and an astute attention to detail. I am FCIPD accredited and received the HR Future Leader award in 2023. 

Next steps

Your profile should be unique and make an impact. If you need help strengthening your CV and personal profile, consider learning more about fine-tuning your CV with Courses on Coursera. For example, you might try Finding and Preparing for the Right Job offered by the University of California Irvine or Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters by the University of Maryland.

You can also help boost your CV by taking additional Courses relevant to your career path. For example, you can earn a Professional Certificate from companies such as Google, IBM, and Meta on Coursera.

Article sources


HR News. “The average recruiter or hiring manager spends 6 to 8 seconds looking at a CV, https://hrnews.co.uk/the-average-recruiter-or-hiring-manager-spends-6-to-8-seconds-looking-at-a-cv/.” Accessed June 20, 2024.

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