1. Spelling and grammar are important here
This is one of the few places you’re writing in full sentences and forming points into an “argument”. That means it’s also one of the few places an employer can really assess your written communication skills.
2. Consider what impression you’re trying to create…
…and be deliberate with your language to achieve that (rather than just writing the first thing you think of).
E.g. Say you’re looking to make a move in pharmaceutical manufacturing after a substantial time in a sales role, you might be tempted to begin your personal profile “Successful sales professional looking to…”. In the reader’s head, you’re now a sales person – with whatever mental image that brings for them.
You’ve defined yourself as something completely different than what they’re looking for – and while it may be true, you’ve now made it 10x harder for them to envisage you in the manufacturing position they’re looking to fill. If you’re in a career-change position, try leading with skills… “Hard working and reliable team player looking to …”
Similarly, if you’ve got a very relevant degree, but you’ve worked in unrelated industries since graduation, you might frame your personal profile as “Microbiology graduate looking to utilise lab skills and exceptional attention to detail within a quality department”. Now, you’re framed as someone who has that key experience, and when they read your employment history, they’ll be doing it from a place of a very positive first impression.
3. Be specific
If you’re looking for your first manufacturing job, and you’re applying to a company that makes a biopharmaceutical product, don’t say something like “looking for a new career in a pharmaceutical or medical device company”.
Instead, go with something like “looking for an entry level biopharmaceutical manufacturing role”. The former might be factually correct, but the latter immediately gives the impression of a much more targeted job hunt – of a candidate with a clear and relevant goal in mind.
4. Confidently address potential “issues”
This can also be a great place to concisely address some issues you think an employer might have, or make some points you’re not sure how to say somewhere else.
- Gaps – If you’ve had some time away from your career to have children, you can include something like “excited and fully committed to a return to the workforce after a career break to raise family”. Or if you’ve spent time traveling, “After taking a career break to travel, fully committed to a permanent and full time return to career in …”
- Previous change of industry away from pharma – Or if you’ve had some relevant experience, but moved away from that to something else, “looking for an opportunity to return to my passion of …”.
- Lots of different roles – “ideally looking for a permanent position after several short contract roles”
- Long career in something else – “after successfully moving through the ranks in the hospitality environment, looking for a new challenge that will utilise my skills of…and believe this [job title] role is it.”
- Change of industry into pharma – keep the focus on why you’d be a great candidate, NOT on all the great reasons/benefits for you. This should directly address your reskilling while highlighting that you already have skills of interest to this new industry. E.g. rather than “Looking for a job in Ireland’s thriving pharma sector for job security and a higher salary to provide for my family”, try “Motivated to make a career change into pharmaceutical manufacturing and have already undertaken a course to provide the essential technical knowledge”.
5. Tell a story
Don’t just use this space to repeat information they’re going to see further down the page, use it to connect that information together into a story for them. Join the dots to show how your previous education and employment has given you the skills needed to be successful in this position.