Putting together a personal statement together is quite a daunting and challenging task.
Defined as a written description of one’s achievements, interests and experience as a basis for an application, there’s an art to getting it right.
For instance, a personal statement for a place at university or college is going to drastically differ from one required for a job.
The problem is, what are these differences?
With this in mind, I’ve put together a quick handy guide on how to become a personal statement master and help you achieve your desired goal.
Check out a few of the most common types of personal statements below.
How to write a university personal statement
First and foremost, personal statements aren’t just for job applications.
When applying for a degree via UCAS, they form a huge part of the process to determine whether you get accepted or not.
Generally speaking, a university personal statement is a lot longer than a job one.
The best way to structure it is to use clear paragraphs (usually around three or four) and include:
- Reasons why you want to study
- Why you’re suitable
- How your current studies are relevant
- Any related hobbies and interests
- Your skills and achievements so far
All university personal statements must be submitted along with the rest of your application by the specific deadline set by UCAS.
This is normally around 15th January at most universities or 15th October (a year before) for courses at Oxford or Cambridge.
How to write a school leaver or graduate personal statement
If you’re looking to get into the big and exciting world of work, a personal statement is an ideal way to boost your application – especially if you have very little related experience.
As a basis, you should include the answers to three questions:
- Why do you want to work in your chosen industry?
- What skills or traits make you the right fit for the role? (Use the job description for this one.)
- Where do you want to go in your career?
Including soft skills can give employers a greater understanding of your personal traits too.
As a recent school leaver/graduate with a [qualification], I’m looking to start my journey in the world of marketing and further my skills in a practical and fast-paced agency.
I’m analytical, driven and a top communicator, which makes me perfect for a client-facing role. My career goal is to become a manager of a leading agency, so I can liaise with clients, conceptualise campaigns and help generate magnificent results.
How to write a personal statement after being unemployed or made redundant
Redundancy and being unemployed are two tricky situations to be in.
However, a personal statement is the best way to turn a negative perception into a positive one.
In this particular case, you should put the emphasis on your employment history and quickly address your reason for being out of work.
Don’t apologise for a negative situation, just reiterate how valuable you are to the employer.
How to write a personal statement after having a career break
Whether you wanted to travel the world or take the time to look after your newborn, having a career break isn’t a bad thing.
In fact, explaining a gap in your career is all about being confident enough to address it.
Unfortunately, a CV doesn’t give you the opportunity or space to fully explain why you took some time out.
That’s why you should use the personal statement to inform the employer and then include any skills you’ve acquired during this period.
How to write a career change personal statement
Fancy a change in career?
If you’re planning to jump into a completely new industry, your personal statement is your opportunity to cover transferable skills and USPs that are applicable to the job.
Numbers and statistics can really give your words meaning, proving you can bring the same level of success to any industry and position.
In particular, focus on just one or two achievements, but go into great detail on how they’ve impacted you.
Hopefully, this quick guide has given you some tips on how to write and structure your personal statement.
However, if you’re still not feeling confident, don’t panic. Personal statement writing is an art and takes time to master.
As you create more and more examples, you should start to improve the quality of your content.
And if you’re ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to get in touch with a recruitment company like us or ask a friend for their opinion.
Just be sure to tweak your personal statement so that it’s tailored to each role, company or university you apply for.
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