With university applications in full swing, now is the time to start planning your future. Are you trying to get your dream job? Wanting to get your foot in the door post-graduation? Oh perhaps, just keen to experience university life? All of these aspirations require a great, snappy personal statement but writing one is no easy task! You must ‘sell’ yourself and set yourself apart from the cohort of other applicants without seeming too self-centred. Sound like a hard task? In today’s article, you can find 10 top tips for writing your personal statement so that you can secure your dream job or university!
1. Avoid cliches
I’ve always dreamed of being an editorial assistant. As true as this may be, it is cliched, and there will be many other applicants who have said the same thing. You should be telling the employer why you want to be an editor; what motivates and inspires you? This will be more compelling than the former.
2. Find a unique angle
To set yourself apart from the competition, you have to find what makes you memorable. What will you bring to the job, and how will you benefit the employer? Instead of speaking about what you will gain, why not turn it the other way and effectively sell yourself.
3. Show, don’t tell
If you received amazing feedback from past work experience or incredible grades on examinations that encourage a career in your chosen field, state them objectively. Statistics and numbers will resonate with an employer and show that you mean business.
4. Stay focused
Try not to digress too much. It is okay to speak about your interests and hobbies but make sure each digression links back to the career; make sure you apply your interests to how it aids your profession.
5. Stick to simple writing
Shakespeare and Milton could probably get away with flowery language in a personal statement but not the 21st-century job seeker. Whilst it is good to show intellect through carefully selected words, over-doing it will result in you seeming pompous and pretentious (see how I used flouncy words then).
6. Structure it well
Like essay writing, structure is incredibly important. Keep it tight and contained with tidy sections; play around with this but make sure it stays focused. Why not start with an introduction before moving into your aspirations and then end on what work experience you have had.
7. Don’t digress
Similar to what was said in the ‘stay focused’ subheading, digressions will throw your employer off track and may give the impression that because you don’t have much to speak about surrounding your work experience or career prospects, you aren’t taking the application seriously.
8. Double check details
Are those the correct grades? Was I working at that company for six months or nine? These facts are important to get right! If you are lucky to make it to the interview stage, you may be up-staged by the employer if they have fact-checked.
9. Consult the experts
Arrange a meeting with an industry professional or, if you are still in university, a careers advisor who can give you critical feedback on your statements. These professionals have insider knowledge and first-hand experience with job recruitment, so they are the best people to consult!
10. Experiment with what works best
Try out different personal statements: play with the style, form and content and see what works best. Personal statements should be snappy, enticing and fresh and should stand out in a sea of applications.
Ultimately, your personal statement will always be a work in progress: as your career develops, so will your identity and interests. With every new experience, you will learn and grow as a professional. We wish you the best of luck in your job-seeking adventure.