Each week, TopCV responds to user questions like the one below. We will publish those answers here. Have a question for us? Have a look at our career advice or ask a question on our Quora page.

Should I write my CV in first person or third person?

“Do you always write your CV in the third person?” — Martin B.

Answer:

In short, you don’t always have to write your CV in the third person – both the first and the third are acceptable.

However, the secret to great CV writing is removing the use of pronouns entirely; you don’t need to use ‘I’, ‘he’ or ‘she’ because its use is implied. After all, you’re writing a CV about your skills and experience.

Let’s zoom in on this line from a CV: ‘I managed a stock room of 10,000+ items’. It’s a nice line that’s written in the first person and displays management skills on a large scale.

You could also write the line in the third person: ‘He managed a stock room of 10,000+ items’. This does the job, but it sounds a little odd.

However, if you remove the use of pronouns, you get a line that reads: ‘Managed a stock room of 10,000+ items’. This phrasing is more effective as it is not only more concise, but it also helps you avoid repeating yourself with ‘I did this’ and ‘I did that’.

Job seekers often gravitate towards the use of first-person pronouns in their personal profile. For example: ‘I am a stockroom manager with seven years’ experience…’. This is acceptable, but the rest of the CV must follow suit and also use first-person pronouns to maintain consistency and professionalism.

For a stand-out CV, we advise adopting the absent first-person approach and removing all pronouns, both first and third, from every part of your CV. It will keep your CV business-focused (and not too personal) and may free up a bit of space to write about the skills that really matter. This article on the right way to brag on your CV touches on this idea of eliminating pronouns. Read on to learn about how doing so can strengthen your CV.

We’ll review your CV for correct pronoun usage. Submit for a free CV critique today!

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