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Is it normal in English to talk about oneself in the third person in these cases?

I’m currently preparing my CV in English. I’m not a native English speaker, and I rarely wrote any common documents in language other than my mother tongue.

That’s why I'm worried about some basic things like: Do I have to put my profile summary, work experience, etc. in first person singular or in third person?

For example:

Software developer with 4.5 years of professional experience in OOP. Participated in producing quality software solutions for leading global companies. A good team-player as well as excelling at working independently. In the heart of my professional philosophy is that IT field requires constant skill improvement and gaining of new knowledge. (...)

or

I am a software developer with 4.5 years of professional experience in OOP. I participated in producing quality software solutions for leading global companies. I'm a good team-player as well as I excel at working independently. In the heart of my professional philosophy is that IT field requires constant skill improvement and gaining of new knowledge.(..)

Moreover, is it considered wrong if in the same paragraph I mix first and third persons? Some sentences really sound better in first person, others in third. Is there any standard approach?

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Your first example isn't in the third person strictly speaking; they're sentence fragments strung together. Third person would take the form X is a software developer. –  choster Jan 10 '12 at 21:51
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Should this question migrate to writers.se? –  MετάEd Jan 10 '12 at 21:56
    
@MetaEd: Sorry for the misplaced question. How do I migrate it? –  karla Jan 10 '12 at 22:03
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The cover letter should be in the first person. In the resume/CV, the data items should be impersonal, mentioning no person at all (neither 'I', nor 'he/she'). –  Mitch Jan 10 '12 at 22:08
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marked as duplicate by aedia λ, FumbleFingers, Mitch, MετάEd, RegDwigнt Jan 10 '12 at 22:40

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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

A C.V. or résumé is not a narrative, but a summary. Brevity is prized, and as such, you would omit the words indicating person altogether. Your profile or summary would be neither

Karla is a software developer with 4.5 years of professional experience in OOP

nor

I am a software developer with 4.5 years of professional experience in OOP

but simply

Software developer with 4.5 years of professional experience in OOP

It is not even a complete sentence, but that is the style expected— at least how it is taught by career counselors in the U.S. (and what I expect as someone who has recruited software developers).

On the other hand, your cover letter should be in the first person, since you are introducing yourself. Introducing yourself in the third person sounds pretentious or overly promotional, as if you were narrating a radio advert.

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valuable information, thanks! –  karla Jan 10 '12 at 21:53
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Third person is the norm. Make your title letter singular.

Bullet points would be better.

  • Software developer with 4.5 years of professional experience in OOP
  • Produces quality software solutions for leading global companies
  • Good team-player that excels at working independently
  • Is a constant learner and believes it is a requirement in the IT field

If at all possible, your resume should be only one page.

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Thank you for the bullets suggestion - I was thinking hard over it! –  karla Jan 10 '12 at 21:52
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As choster notes, your first example isn't third person but rather a series of sentence fragments.

That said, a resume can be in first person or it can be in fragments. It is perfectly acceptable to mix the two, like "I am a software developer with 4.5 years experience. Have worked with OOP. Good team player. I constantly seek to improve my skills."

You usually should not write a resume in third person: "Karla is a software developer ..." Talking about yourself in the third person tends to sound strange, like you don't know who you are.

Do not ever mix first person and third person to talk about yourself. That is, "I am a software developer with 4.5 years experience. Karla has worked extensively with OOP. She is a team player ..." This sounds like you're talking about two different people and can be very confusing, and in general is just bad grammar. I understand that some other languages use pronouns differently and this can be a problem for people who grew up with those languages to get the pronouns right in English.

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+1 for not mixing the first and third person. Almost every job involves communicating with other people; It is therefore vital to demonstrate your ability to do so non-confusingly when applying for a position. –  user867 Apr 11 '13 at 5:09
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