Writing a Personal Profile for your CV

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What is a ‘Personal Profile’?

A Personal Profile (or ‘Career Profile’) is an introductory paragraph at the beginning of your CV containing a short summary of your background and career plans.  The Profile is the written equivalent of an ‘elevator pitch’ designed to capture the employer’s interest quickly so that they will read your CV in full and, hopefully, invite you to interview.

The Profile briefly summarises your


in terms of qualifications, experience and expertise relevant to your target job.

Track Record

In terms of length and quality of experience and achievements


In terms of the range of roles you are considering in particular types of organisation

Your Profile can also be used on online networking sites, such as LinkedIn, as well as helping you construct your Cover Letter and the personal statement on your Application Form.

The Profile is particularly important when employers are dealing with a high volume of applications and where they are relying purely on the CV to shortlist. Some employers even use keyword searches to identify candidates from CV databases.

Tailoring Your Profile

Ideally you should tailor your Profile for each employer and role, highlighting those areas of experience most relevant to the specific job and ensuring your career aspirations exactly match the role on offer.  

When you are posting your CV online or sending it to employers via a recruitment agency however you will not be able to tailor it to individual employers.  In this case it is best to tailor it to the type of role and organisation you are targeting.

It is tempting to write a very generic Profile to see which recruiters might be interested in someone with your experience. But you are far more likely to come to employers’ attention if you

  • Demonstrate focus in your choice of target role 
  • Are clear about the range of organisations you are considering and
  • Highlight those areas of your qualifications and experience most likely to be of interest to these employers

Drafting Your Profile

The Headline

Your Profile should be no more than 100 words long at most and should begin with a headline sentence summing up your key experience and current career plan. This can be quite a challenge to draft and can really focus your mind on what you can offer employers.

Examples include

Senior lecturer in English with specialism in Early Victorian Literature and strong international profile seeks role as Assistant Professor in research intensive University in the UK.”

“Research manager with 5 years’ experience leading Social Sciences research programmes in  Russell Group University following career in academic research now seeks project management role in higher education, research institute or public body. “

“Admissions professional with experience across three Post 1992 Universities and with expertise in international student recruitment and widening participation seeks management role in central Student Recruitment and Admissions team.”

The Summary

The headline should be followed up with one or two sentences with more details of your achievements, experience and interests.

  • Pick those aspects of your experience most relevant to your target role
  • Think about what will differentiate you from others in your field an 
  • Ensure that you include evidence of your abilities 

Our Research Manager‘s Profile might read: 

“Led faculty input into latest Research Assessment Exercise. Strong relationship with external funding bodies including the ESRC. Knowledge of EU funding environment. Secured £10m of funding from commercial organisations in last 5 years.  PhD in political science. Willing to relocate to any part of the UK.”

You can put more detail about your achievements  in the Career History and Education sections of the CV.

Drafting your Profile should concentrate your mind on what you have to offer and the direction in which  you would like your career to move. So it will be excellent preparation for the  interviews and networking conversations you will encounter at the next stage of your jobhunting.

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