How to Write a Personal Statement
How to write a personal statement: tips and secrets
There are two main occasions when you need to write a personal statement: for university admission or for CV. Its purpose remains the same in both cases. You need to be chosen among other applicants. In personal statement, you point your skills and relevant experience and explain why you are the best candidate. You might be applying for uni admission together with thousands of other young people with the same grade score. Here, well written personal statement comes in hand.
Defining personal statement
A personal statement is a description of oneself and a key part of application form or CV. It is included in your CV at the first place to make reader understand what kind of person you are and what distinguishes you from other candidates. You need to make a good impression but need to be honest. Make the reader want to meet you in person and offer you a vacant place.
Purpose of personal statement
Being one of the most important parts of the CV or application form, personal statement helps you to “sell” yourself to the committee or possible employer in a small essay. That is basically the main purpose of any personal statement. Sum up specific skills and experience you have, pointing out those of them, which make you perfect for the position or college. Be brief, convincing, interesting and sound promising.
In fact, quality of personal statement influences the impression of you as a candidate. It makes the committee pick you among others or reject. That is why pay special attention to writing personal statement.
Structure and volume of personal statement
First of all, remember that personal statement is a part of another document and its size should correlate with the size of the document. It is not a cover letter, where you can be more detailed. Usually personal statement in a CV takes around 150 words (that is four-five lines of your document). Personal statements for uni admission can reach up to 700 words. Less than this can make an impression that you are not qualified enough and have nothing to say. Longer personal statement may take too much of valuable space.
Be brief in your personal statement, list the facts. Avoid wordiness, use only informative words. Maintain consistency throughout the personal statement, you can use any person or tense.
Beginning of personal statement
The first phrase of the personal statement usually starts with an answer to the question “who?”. For example, “experienced manager”, “qualified worker”, “excellent graduate”, etc. use such description of yourself as an introduction.
Important! Avoid banality. You will not impress anyone with phrases like: “I have always dreamed of being a doctor” or something like that. Do not use cliché idea, structures and phrases.
Content of personal statement
Successful personal statements indicate the following: who you are, what you can offer and your career goals. So, let’s step by step look at what information should be covered in a personal statement.
- Explain your motives
Be specific from the first word. Whether it is an application form for admission or a CV, explain why exactly you are interested in this position/course. Show your enthusiasm. Note how you got your interest in position/course and what you want to get at the end.
- Why they should choose you
At this point, show that you are a suitable candidate for a position. Show your knowledge about requirements and responsibilities. Make readers understand that you know their expectations and meet them. And, what is more important, show that you know what you want and you are going to get it.
- What you have done to get it
Show the committee that you have done some extra work to be suitable for that job/course. Make them realize that you are ready to work hard not only by words but by your past actions, too. If we are talking about personal statement for university admission, you can note what extra reading you have done. Deepen your knowledge in a specific field.
- Long-term goal
In many cases, you might need to show that the course/job you are applying for is what you want on that exact stage of your personal development because in the future you want to achieve even more. Knowing that you have an exact long-term plan will make the decision committee take you seriously.
- Relevance of your knowledge/skills
Tell about your experience explaining how it is relevant to the desired position/course. Sometimes even unimportant from the first glance experience can lift up your rating. When describing your experience, reflect its effect on you.
- Personal qualities
Do not forget to include the list of your strong traits of character. Try to be objective. Stop more attention at the most relevant ones. For example, if the position/course requires working with other people, point out that you are a team player. If you are a volunteer or have some interesting hobbies, you might note them as well.
Be formal, relevant and positive
Do not include unnecessary information in the personal statement. Leave the place for something important. Use formal tone, do not use slang, contractions or jokes.
Avoid quoting in personal statement. Even when a famous saying or someone’s quote is suitable, it does not reflect your abilities and might look like you can not express your thoughts yourself. Find the right balance of avoiding repetition and overdoing with the thesaurus.
Negativity has absolutely no place in a personal statement. If you need to tell about a difficult situation that you have overcome, make sure readers will see it as your learning experience. Do not make readers feel sorry for you. Show that you are strong, that you are a winner.
Finishing the work
When the text of personal statement is ready, leave it for couple days and then reread again. Fresh mind might notice some shortcomings. Do not forget to double-check the text for all kinds of mistakes. As one simple mistake can spoil the impression and lead to the rejection.