Jobs & Careers

Ten tips on how to write a better personal statement

One of the most frustrating aspects of completing applications can be the personal statement. Knowing what to write, how to start and perfecting it can be tricky to get right. So here are a few quick tips on how to write a better personal statement for your university, placement, or job application.

1.Concentrate on your skills and qualities  
It is important to clarify and focus on your skills and qualities, to concisely communicate your strengths.

2.Always illustrate your skills and qualities with examples 
Putting your skills and qualities into context, with examples from your work and volunteering experience demonstrates your abilities. So, you won’t just be telling the employer what you are good at, instead you will be showing them how.

3.Just Write 
Don’t spend ages working out how to write the best opening sentence from the start, as it is a waste of time. Just dive straight in and start writing your first attempt will not be perfect, but you can fix it later. Right at the start you need to focus on having words on the page. Use your CV to guide what examples and experiences you include.

4.Be enthusiastic  
Personal statements are all about you, it is the one topic in life you already completely know without having to revise. So, show it and get across who you are, your interests, strengths, relevant experience and how you would be successful in what you are applying for.

5.Why are you applying for this role? 
Remember to emphasise why you are applying and say why this particular opportunity that you are taking the time to apply for. Tailor your answer to this question based on how it is relevant to your current studies, who you are applying to, and what they are looking for in a successful candidate.

6.Go the extra mile 
Show how you are proactive in following your interests and adding to your studies by showing your wider research, such as relevant reading, lectures and talks you have accessed. If it is a job you are applying for look on the company’s website and social media to gain insight into their world. Use this information to tailor your application and match your experience with their needs.

7.Career Goals 
Mention your future plans and how this role would fit in with your career aspirations.

8.For a super ending 
Summarise with a positive statement maybe include career goals, or why you would be an asset for what you are applying to.

9.Mercilessly edit 
Personal statements need to be clear and concise, so don’t be reluctant in editing out passages that you have placed lots of time and effort in crafting. The basic question to have in mind whilst editing is ‘is this sentence necessary?’ If so, what words can you cut out to make it shorter and more to the point. To get the sense of the flow of your writing it can help to read your draft out loud.

10.Get feedback 
Make sure you have time to get others to proofread it and ask for constructive feedback.