Update 2016-03-24: Removed dead VideoJug link.
A personal statement is a short paragraph about yourself near the top of a CV / résumé, which quickly gives the reader the most important information about you, and makes them interesting in hiring you for the job.
It can also be called a:
A similar idea is an objective statement (or objective), where you say what you want to achieve in the job you're applying for, but most advice nowadays say that objective statements are no longer useful. You can read about both profiles and objectives here.
Here are some links to useful articles about writing a personal statement on your CV / résumé.
Update 2017-01-08: Fixed National Careers Service & Oxford links. Changed person specification link.
Update 2015-10-02: Fixed some links.
The BBC have an article and short video interview with an expert from the National Careers Service, about blunders on CVs that ruin you chances of getting the job you want.
The main point is to tailor your CV to each job. One thing that can help is look at the person specification in the job advert.
And you must remember that your CV is like your shop window: just as a shop makes the display of goods in its window as attractive as possible to get customers to come in and buy, you must make the display of your experience, knowledge, skills, abilities and qualities on your CV as attractive as possible to get companies to interview and hire you.
Another piece of advice: you should spend at least 1 hour a week working on your CV.
The National Careers Service has some useful material to help with job hunting which I might post about more in future. (It is a service provided by the British Government for people in Britain, so while you can access the website from any country in the world, don't try making calls from outside the UK to their phone numbers for free advice!) Below is their "about us" page. Why not take a look around at what they offer?
Update 2017-01-08: Updated ESL Pod links to Lizhi.fm. Updated Monkeysee resume link. Added English Café 306.
Update 2016-03-11: Removed VideoJug links. Added Monkeysee - Job search. Fixed Jobsearch.about.com.
Update 2015-10-02: Fixed About.com video link.
Update 2013-11-28: Added British Council - Advice on Writing CVs podcast.
In our course on Job Hunting, there is a class on writing impressive CVs / résumés.
For more on meaning, usage & pronuciation of CV and résumé, see these articles of mine:
Here are some useful videos and podcasts about this issue.
These links will take you to many videos about CVs & résumés, on video websites which are not blocked in China, and which usually have transcripts (sometimes already shown on the same page as the video, or sometimes you have to press a button that says "Transcript"). The links for Howcast and About.com have videos about many job hunting topics but you can easily see which ones are about CVs and résumés.
UPDATE: VideoJug used to have great job hunting videos on their own website and it was possible to watch them in China. But they made some changes to their website recently, and now their job hunting videos are only available on YouTube (which is blocked in China) at YouTube - VideoJug. For now I've removed the VideoJug links (if you have VPN, you can try searching their YouTube channel for "job hunting", "CV", "resume" etc). I'll see if I can find alternative links. Sorry.
The British Council's Learn English site has many useful articles for ESL students, completely free.
ESL Pod is a site for ESL podcasts, usually conversations that are spoken slowly, then an explanation of the words and ideas in the conversation, then the conversation repeated at normal native-speaker speed.
Monster.co.uk is a jobs website with a lot of advice on careers, job search and CVs.
Updates: 2017-04-12: Added input methods for MacOS. 2017-01-08: Fixed a few links. 2015-09-25: Fixed a few links, other small changes. 2015-04-10: Checked, updated and fixed all links in article.
Click on "Read More" for the rest of the article.
Update 2017-01-08: Fixed a few links.
Update: 2015-09-25: Fixed a few links.
The UK & Europe
In the UK, Europe and other parts of the world, you send a CV (or curriculum vitae) when you apply for a job.
In the US and some other places, you send a resume (or résumé or resumé) when you apply for most jobs.
In the US and some other places, you send a CV (or curriculum vitae or sometimes vita) when you apply for a job in fields like science and education.
Difference between CV & resume
So what's the difference between a CV and a resume?
G.A.L.E.S.L. / joe3
Some tips and links on learning English.