How to Write a Personal Statement

How to Write a Personal Statement

Personal statements count

Getting to grips with how to write a personal statement means really understanding your audience. This might require you to change your statement for every job application. When composing a personal statement remember to:

  1. Be brief. Personal statements that ramble on or are too wordy tend to be a turn off for employers even if the rest of your CV is ideal. Keep it to two paragraphs at the most and try to limit each of these to two or three concise sentences.
  2. Keep it relevant. A personal statement about your great passion for the outdoors is superb if you are applying for the position of a park ranger, but not if you are going for an office-based job. Anything you say should be suited to the employment opportunity in question.
  3. Stay consistent. Don't state anything that cannot be backed up by what comes later in your CV. This includes things like saying you are skilled with customer service when your work history has never been customer facing or claiming to be hard working if you have been sacked for absenteeism.
  4. Avoid clichés. Don't follow the pack by saying you are 'a team player' or 'diligent'. It is better to give personal examples of such things rather than make unsubstantiated claims about yourself.
  5. Sell yourself. Think about what an advertising executive would say about your skills and how they relate to what the potential employer needs. Draw out the most important parts of your individual blend of aptitudes so that you stand out as a good candidate to call to interview.
  6. Explain gaps. If there is a glaring gap in your CV, then a personal statement is a good place to put it into context. If you have been out of work or on a long-term break from the workplace, then put a positive spin on it by focussing on things you might have done like retraining or voluntary work.
  7. Identify yourself. If your CV name is not the one you commonly use, then make this clear in your personal statement. When referring to yourself, use the first person “I” pronoun and don't mix this up with third person sentence structures.
  8. Check it over. Reading your personal statement aloud will help you to pick out syntax errors and problems with flow. Finally, you also need to ensure there are no spelling mistakes or typographical errors.

Knowing how to write a personal statement for a CV well ought to help you get shortlisted for an interview, but it can't do the job on its own. Focus on the rest of your CV just as fully and you will be better placed to land the job you are seeking.

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