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Get your CV personal profile right

By Gemma Raw

​It's the equivalent of the 'elevator pitch' and can inspire a recruiter to read on. So, it's vital to make sure your CV personal profile does its job. Writing your personal profile can be the toughest part of putting together your CV. As any experienced writer will tell you, it's harder to come up with a small number of words that get key messages across effectively than it is to write an expansive essay. When you're trying to sum up your entire career in one paragraph, the task can be especially daunting but it is an opportunity to highlight your qualifications and experience, as well as the personal qualities that make you a good fit for the role. 

Get to the point

The first and most important rule is to be specific. With a limited word count, there's no room for generic buzz phrases such as 'self-motivated' and 'team player' that (a) don't make you stand out from the crowd and (b) don't relate specifically to the social work job you're applying for. If it's a children's social work role, maybe focus on key issues such as your safeguarding experience. It you'll be working mainly with adults, perhaps emphasise key attributes such as calmness under pressure or experience of working with challenging behaviour. 

Some recruiters use keyword searches to find suitable candidates from CV databases. Therefore, it's worth including some key search terms in your personal profile, for example 'fully qualified social worker', 'looked after children', 'care plans' or 'referral and assessment'.

Permanent or locum?

It's also worth taking into account whether you're applying for a permanent or locum role. If it's the former, you might emphasise your commitment to personal development and your strategic focus. If it's the latter, it could be a good idea to highlight your adaptability and ability to 'hit the ground running'. Maybe quote one or two examples of your previous achievements, for example, "Worked with a major metropolitan authority to progress a cohort of Children in Need cases through to identified points of transfer or closure, ensuring the Council met its statutory obligations." 

Check for errors

Attention to detail is important in many jobs, but in social work it's essential. Even the most simple error could have a serious impact on a client's welfare. Therefore, you should make sure you proofread your personal statement carefully. Spelling or grammatical errors won't create a good first impression or inspire confidence. It may also be a good idea to read it out aloud and get a friend or family member to cast an objective eye over it. 

For more tips on CV writing visit our Careers Hub, where you'll find lots of useful information and resources. Our consultants can also provide expert advice and guidance.