This is the perfect time to create your personal value statement!
What Is a Personal Value Statement?
A personal value statement is a short overview of what you value and how those values make you the best match for a job. A personal value statement helps clarify what matters and gives you a competitive edge over other applicants.
What’s the Difference Between a Personal Statement and a Personal Value Statement?
A personal statement or a statement of purpose is what you include in your application for university. If you’re looking for a job, you’ll use a personal value statement for applying to jobs. You can also use it to ground your goals and get clear on your mission.
Examples of Personal Value Statements:
Here are some examples of personal value statements:
- Equal parts marketing strategist and tactician, a high-energy, roll-up-your-sleeves leader who knows how to get things done within an environment built on teamwork, integrity, and respect. A servant leader who takes great pride in watching members of the team grow into successful leadership positions. —Steve Einig, Marketing & Communication Strategist
- Throughout my career, I’ve worked to promote equity and integrity in an industry that has been slow to adjust. With determination and an untiring commitment to integrity, I’ve worked to build bridges and bring about change through high-stakes negotiations.
- While some people might hate change, I thrive on it. I create strategies that are focused on creativity and innovation to make sure my clients are constantly growing and reaching the next level of success.
When Should I Use a Personal Value Statement?
A personal value statement is versatile, and once you’ve written it, you’ll be able to adapt it and use it in several ways. You can also use it personally and professionally.
- Professionally: You can put your personal value statement at the top of your resume, as a part of your cover letter, in place of a cover letter, if they don’t request one, on your LinkedIn profile, and as preparation for job interviews. It can also help you identify if a job fits you (do their values align with yours?).
- Personally: Put it on a post-it note on your mirror to see every morning. Put it on a reminder on your phone. Post it on your online profiles or dating profiles so people know what you are all about.
5 Steps to Write Your Personal Value Statement
We get it if you feel uncomfortable writing down or discussing your best traits. But, writing your value statement will prepare you for the dreaded, “So tell me about yourself.” or “What are your best traits?”.
To overcome the discomfort of approaching this, remember this—you’re not bragging about yourself. It may feel like it, and if the thought makes your mind go completely blank, don’t worry. We’re going to take you through this step-by-step.
Step #1: Pinpoint What You Value
To start, you won’t think about what makes you fantastic. Set that aside for a minute and think about what you value.
Don’t censor yourself.
Write down a list of everything that comes to mind.
Can’t think of anything? Ask yourself these questions. The answers will help you find some of your values.
- What makes me feel safe?
- What makes me feel successful?
- What makes me feel valued?
- In friendships, what do I appreciate?
- At work, I respect coworkers who…
- In my family, I need…
44 Values to Get You Started
Step #2: Cut Your List Down
Now that you have a big, beautiful list of values, start thinking about yourself. What you value in life, and others is usually one of two things: the qualities you excel in or the qualities you wish you had.
- Read through your list and highlight the five most important qualities.
- Next, go back and highlight three qualities that you possess.
- Make a new list with those three qualities.
Step #3: Get Real
Now that you have a list of three to five values, think about what those values look like in real life. Because this is a personal value statement, think primarily about your work history.
For example, if one of your values is “authenticity,” think about when this value guided your actions at work. Write one sentence to define what the value means to you within the work context.
Authenticity: Meaning what I say and then doing it. Letting others know they can trust my words and that my actions will correspond to what I communicate.
Independence: Having the capacity and freedom to direct my actions and take the responsibility to complete my tasks without needing unnecessary help.
As you can imagine, how you define values will be specific to you. You may see independence and authenticity in a very different light than our examples!
Step #4: Be Relevant
This is where you make your personal value statement an asset for your application process.
Now that you’ve defined your core values, apply them to the job you want. Get as specific as possible, and correlate your values to the company’s or specific job’s values.
Many companies have a spot on their website that details their mission, vision, and values. You can also learn a lot from the job listing or even the company tagline. Look for clues, and write down what values you feel they are looking for. Then compare that to your values.
If there’s a big disconnect, you may want to reconsider whether you wish to apply. If the values align, keep going! Take the definitions you wrote and start crafting a statement with this outline.
Lead with a statement about your experience and connect that with how your values impact your work. Keep this between one to three sentences.
- Start with your number one value and share how that connects to your experience and work. You can expand this to include more than one value, but avoid making a laundry list of your values.
- Make a connection between your values and the values of the company.
- Think about the specific role you are applying for and what they say in the job description. Identify one or two values that make you a good fit for that particular role.
Keep reading for specific examples!
Special note: If you want to use a personal value statement on your dating profile, think about what values you would like to attract in a mate.
Step #5: Refine and Revise
Once you’ve written your value statement, it’s important to make edits for grammar and clarity. Even if you’re a grammarian with fantastic writing skills, use an extra tool like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to help you with the editing process. Professional writers never publish a first draft, so don’t expect to send your value statement on your first draft!
If you have time, set your value statement aside for a week, and don’t look at it. That will enable you to come to it with fresh eyes to catch sentences that don’t make sense, aren’t interesting, or don’t flow as well as they could.
Pro Tip: Ask a mentor or friend to read your value statement. Someone who knows you well may have ideas of how to strengthen your statement.
- Be specific. The person reading your statement is busy! Do them a favor by quickly communicating who you are and why they should hire you.
- Be genuine. It might be tempting to pick values you think are important, but interviewers want to know who you are, not who you think you should be. When you’re genuine, that gets communicated, and people will respond positively.
- Keep it short. A good length to aim for is a couple of paragraphs—between 50-250 words.
Don’t do this…
- Make a list of your accomplishments. You’ve already written your resume (hopefully!); there’s no need to rehash it here.
- Include negative qualities. We all have that negative quality we’re secretly proud of—but don’t add it here. You may think you can put a positive spin on being stubborn, inflexible, or impatient, but it could harm your chances of getting the job.
- Ramble. A personal value statement should be short and concise. You don’t need to include everything you value; instead, focus on your top 3-5.
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Have a question about the presentation or People School? Email Science of People support.
How to Tailor Your Statement to Different Jobs and Industries (With 4 Examples)
If you plan on applying for multiple positions or industries, write one statement and tailor it for each application.
As you review your statement, you’ll notice values overlap with other industries or positions. When that’s the case, tweak some of your words to make them suitable for the specific job you’re applying to.
We’ve made a list of top values by industry to give you a clear perspective on what different jobs may require of you. Plus, we’ve included sample value statements with outlines so you can write your own!
Top Values for Marketing and Communication
Top Values for Banking and Finance
Top Values for the Medical Industry
Top Values in Business
Once you know what values are important to your industry, use our examples below to get writing!
How to Craft a Compelling LinkedIn Personal Value Statement
After spending seven years in digital communication, I’ve learned the best relationship with clients comes when they trust the integrity of my work. Whether writing web copy or responding to emails, I strive for deep authenticity and integrity.
Clients have appreciated my innovation and flexibility; these are all values I see in your company. I will be an asset to your team and can easily fit into your company culture.
Write Your Own:
- Lead with a statement about your experience and connect that with how your values impact your work. Keep this between one to three sentences.
- Next, connect your values and work experience with the company you are applying to.
- Finish with a statement about what you will bring to the company.
How to Make a Connection With Your Personal Value Statement
Dear (Insert name),
When I discovered you mentor women, I knew I wanted to work for you. I have spent the last six years mentoring women to succeed in finance, which, as you know, is an industry where women are still underrepresented.
My passion for equity and inclusion is only rivaled by my devotion to confidentiality and integrity. As Corporate Finance Manager, I would balance completing tasks on my own with maximizing profits as a team.
I would value the opportunity to discuss this position further and how I can positively impact the company’s financial health.
Write Your Own:
- Open by connecting your values to the values of the person you are writing to. This will immediately catch their attention and make them more likely to keep reading. If you have a personal connection, make sure you lead with that!
- Detail how your values are related to the role you are applying for.
- End with a request to discuss your value proposition, and include a teaser to show you have strategically considered your role in their company.
How to Create Interest With a Story Based Personal Value Statement
Growing up, I dreamed of being a medical worker who saved the world with a stethoscope and bandaids. While my dreams have matured into a more balanced and realistic perspective, I continue to be motivated by a desire to help sick and hurting people.
That desire has also expanded into a passion for justice and equity in medical care. The more I work with patients, the more I am driven to provide compassionate care. Patients describe me as friendly and kind, and I’ve been recognized for my devotion to ethics and empathy.
Write Your Own:
- The medical field is one of those jobs where people want to know why you’re in the industry, but even if you aren’t in medicine, telling a story is a unique way to catch attention. Try opening with a short story that gives a sense of humanity to the value statement. Make sure the story connects to your current values.
- Expand on your values and describe how your patients, clients, staff, or employers view your work.
How to Challenge Industry Perceptions With Your Personal Value Statement
Business isn’t about numbers. It’s about people. I thrive on turning around failed projects and floundering companies others have given up on.
Throughout my career, I’ve earned the trust of both individuals and companies through diligence and commitment to integrity. I’ve maintained these relationships over the eight years I’ve spent helping people succeed.
Write Your Own:
- Open your statement with a hook that challenges perceptions about your industry. Just be careful not to do this in a way that could be seen as arrogant or rude. Avoid this by expanding the vision of what people usually think of rather than dismissing industry standards or norms.
- Lead into how your values have contributed to your success.
- Wrap it up with a compelling statement that makes you stand out.
The Advantages of Having a Personal Value Statement
These are the top four advantages of having a personal value statement.
- A personal value statement can give you a competitive edge.
- It acts as an anchor for making decisions.
- Helps you accomplish your goals.
- It’s easy to change it as your values change.
Let’s look at these more closely.
Whether you’re applying for your first job or you’ve been in the workforce for years, you need something you can reference when facing big decisions.
Regularly questioning yourself is a good habit to adopt. Ask yourself,
- Am I living the life I would like to? If not, why?
- Is my job in-line with my vision and values?
- If I do X, will that take me away from what I value or towards it?
- If I say yes/no to this, will I go against what I value?
Having a personal value statement makes answering these questions a lot easier. Plus, writing down your values is like putting down boundaries around what you will and will not do. That helps you accomplish your goals instead of being distracted by good but unnecessary things.
Even if you never face a big, dramatic, ethical dilemma, you will have to make decisions that could take you away from what you value. Sometimes that happens when you make decisions that look good but aren’t good for you.
Another great thing about having a personal value statement is you can change it! What you value today might change with time, and that’s fine.
Give yourself the freedom to shift your values as the seasons and rhythms of your life change.
Along with a personal value statement, having professional development goals will provide a roadmap to success. Check out our 25 Professional Development Goals to Help You Succeed.