The CV Debate (Round 4): First vs. Third Person?


Upon writing your CV, you come across yet another CV debate: Should I write my CV in the first person or the third person? Which is the most appropriate to use? Don’t worry if you don’t have a definitive answer because many experts don’t! As it turns out, they don’t feel too strongly about one way or the other which means you get to decide which works best!

While this is indeed very confusing, this article sheds some light on the first and third person CV debate in an attempt to make things easier for you and provide an answer to your dilemma! This will not only help you construct a powerful CV but will also increase your chances of finding a job!

See Also: The CV Debate (Round 5): Traditional vs. Video

First Person

A CV that’s written in the first person has a more direct approach and a personal feel to it. First person statements are very important and powerful when used appropriately. So if you want your CV to be as engaging as possible the best way to go forward is to use first person throughout the document, particularly in your personal profile.

However, the only issue with writing in the first person is that you may fall into the trap of repeating yourself through the extensive use of the word ‘I’ which may come out as unprofessional.

Instead of saying “I am a self-motivated individual …” start your sentences with “Self-motivated individual…” As you can see, the latter is more powerful as it gives a formal approach to your words. In this way, you can talk about yourself in an effective way without using ‘I’s so often.

Third Person

The upside of writing your CV in the third person is that it makes you sound more professional. It allows objectivity and helps recruiters decide whether you are fit for the job based on that. Also, it helps prevent from sounding egotistical as opposed to the extensive use of ‘I’ in the first person.

On the downside, as most people have expressed, it usually feels odd to talk about yourself in the third person! Not to mention it gives out the impression that someone else wrote your CV as a result of sounding distant and fake.

First vs. Third Person

The truth is employers are not much concerned whether you are writing in the first or third person. What will ultimately catch their attention is your intro, which needs to be as interesting and relevant as possible! Be careful though; whichever you choose, you should stick to it. This means your CV can’t start in the first person and end in the third person!

Have a look at the following examples of first and third person and find out which appeals the most to you:

First Person: “Highly accomplished and decisive leader with more than 15 years of experience in managing projects internationally. Successfully developed and executed marketing strategies that resulted in business growth and profitability. Skilled in reducing costs and managing cross-functional teams.”

Third Person: "Tom is an innovative and results-driven IT professional who is an expert at providing effective solutions that reduce business costs. He has acquired over 15 years of experience while helping businesses grow and held senior positions at Microsoft and Google. He is now an IT manager at Samsung."


And the winner is… the first person CV! While there are no definite rules about this, the best and safer choice, if you ask me, is always to write in the first person since a CV is used to describe you and your unique selling points!

As a self-marketing document, your CV should be able to promote yourself to potential employers effectively. Since you are essentially talking about yourself, it makes much more sense that you’ll be writing in the first person.

See Also: The CV Debate (Round 3): Traditional VS Creative?

What’s your opinion on this? Would you write your CV in the first or third person? Let us know in the comment section below!