CV Profiles – how NOT to turn an employer off in your first paragraph!!

A curriculum vitae

Love them or loathe them, profiles are becoming an increasingly common sight on CVs – written well, they can highlight what you’ve got to offer to an employer and encourage them to keep reading, written badly they can be a turn off to a recruiter.

Think of the profile as a newspaper headline or movie trailer, you don’t need to tell them everything, but write enough of interest that the recruiter can already start matching you to the vacancy.

Penny Ballyntyne, Careers Adviser at Bournemouth University provides some top tips to think about:-


So where should you start?

Keep it simple. As with anything you write on your CV, you don’t want to overload the employer with text so try and be as brief as possible – three sentences is more than enough.

Focus on the rule of three.

  • Where are you now?
  • What have you got to offer – key experiences/skills that you’ve gained from work, volunteering and extracurricular activities.
  • What you’re looking for.

These three topics will guide the recruiter to the main sections of your CV.

Is there anything I should avoid?

Try to avoid sounding like a cliché! Are you a motivated individual? Well so are most university students! Are you good at working in a team but also without supervision? Would you describe yourself as dynamic and entrepreneurial? Employers (and Careers Advisers) see these descriptions a lot, so it’s best to avoid them. Finally, try not to write in the third person – an employer seeing a profile starting “Penny is…” won’t be impressed.

Any final messages?

If you’re really struggling with a profile, don’t forget that they’re not obligatory – leaving this off your CV, rather than writing a weak section could be the best option.

Don’t forget that your profile (and the rest of your CV) should be tailored to the job you’re applying for, so analyse the job description, and make sure that you’re matching what you’ve got to offer to that job.

Further help/resources

Look at the CV Writing resources on MyCareerHub; attend a CV workshop on campus or book an appointment with a Careers Adviser.


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