Writing an effective CV: Part 2 – Personal statement

Published on: 7 Apr 2017

As the average recruiter takes just six seconds to make an initial decision on a CV, deciding what to include can be difficult. How can you make sure yours makes the right impact? 
In this four part series, The Planner's Matt Moody talks to a variety of people to pin down the perfect planning CV.

Part 2. Personal statement

A vexed question: The personal statement is a vexed question when it comes to CVs. As recruiters, CJ Obi and Henry Taylor think they’re unnecessary. “It’s not essential to include a long introduction about yourself, although it is generally still acceptable to do so. Let the rest of the CV do the talking,” says Obi.

Taylor feels more strongly. “I believe personal statements are a waste of time, unless you’re specifically asked to write one. Hiring managers receive dozens of CVs every week, and don’t have the time to sift through large paragraphs.”

Maximum impact: Because a personal statement goes at the top of the CV, it’s most likely to be read first and therefore needs to have the greatest impact. If you think a personal statement is more likely to grab the reader’s attention than your most recent experience, it’s worth including – if not, you might consider saving it for your cover letter.

What to include: If you do decide to include one, you should use it to give your CV a personal touch, rather than wasting space by just summarising other parts. “You should try and describe your outlook on life and what drives you,” says David Bainbridge.


David Bainbridge [square]David Bainbridge is a planning consultant and partner at property consultancy Bidwells LLP.


Eleanor Gingell has recently taken up a new role as a planner with the Department of Communities and Local Government. She is a former Eleanor Gingell [square]recipient of the British Empire Medal for services to planning. Eleanor’s views are her own and not those of her employer.

CJ Obi [square]CJ Obi (left) and Henry Taylor (right) are recruiters at Osborne Richardson, a recruitment consultancy that specialises Henry Taylor [square]in planning.