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How to Write a Good Personal Statement

One of the scariest things to hear in a job interview is “tell me about yourself.” However, this isn’t as scary when you’re prepared with an elevator pitch. This is a quick summary of your qualifications. The written equivalent to this is your personal statement, which goes on your CV or resume. A good personal statement should be just a few lines long, with relevant information for the job for which you’re applying. If you’re wondering how to write a personal statement, here are seven steps that you can follow!

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How To Write a Personal Statement: Brainstorm and Research

Make a List

Before you begin, consider brainstorming things that you could include in your personal statement. Sit down, and make a list. This could include any skills, experiences, accomplishments, personality traits, and strengths. For example, you could say that you’re creative, energetic, or motivated. You could also list skills like time management, customer service, teamwork, or computer skills.

If you’re having trouble thinking of things to include, peruse job descriptions for positions you want to apply to. Scan through the postings for keywords that describe someone who would be a good fit for that job. Do any of these words fit you as an employee? If so, add them to your list. Including keywords or buzzwords from job descriptions is a great way to increase the likelihood of getting an interview.

Because you are choosing keywords specific to that job description, it’s a good idea to tweak your personal statement for each job you apply to. You can start, however, with a solid personal statement that fits you in a general sense.

Think Of Your Career Goals

If you’re searching for a new position, you may have a pretty good idea of the job you want to find. But, take a minute to really consider your career goals. Ask yourself:

  • What type of position am I seeking?
  • Am I changing careers?
  • Where do I want to be in 5-10 years?
  • How could this job help me reach my career goals?

Thinking about the answers to these questions, go back through your list. Which of these words or ideas fit your career goals? As you start drafting your personal statement, think about the words that best describe who you are as an employee now and who you want to be as an employee in the future.

Consider Your Audience

When you first write your personal statement, it might be kind of broad. However, it’s important to tailor it to each job you apply to. When you do this, consider your audience. Who will read your personal statement? How can you impress that person and get them to want to invite you in for an interview?

To discover the answers to these questions, start by researching the company. What do they do? How do they stand out from the competition? Do they have a mission statement? What is their company culture? Then, find out who makes the hiring decisions. Does the company have a recruiting department that handles the hiring process, or will you speak with the supervisor for the position? After you find out, head to LinkedIn to look up the individual and learn more about him or her.

Finally, review the job description. Find out what the company is looking for in an employee. Also, pay attention to whether the job posting is formal or more on the casual side. Try to match the tone of the posting in your writing.

How To Write a Personal Statement: Draft

State Your Profession

As you begin to draft your personal statement, start by stating your profession in a positive way. For example:

  • Experienced web designer
  • CIPD qualified HR manager
  • Recent accounting graduate
  • PMP-certified project manager

What can you say about yourself as an employee to highlight your qualifications right from the start? Use this as a jumping off point for the rest of your personal statement.

Draft Your Personal Statement

Now you’re ready to draft the rest of your personal statement. Although you should keep your personal statement brief and concise, you don’t have to worry about length for your first draft. Just start writing. Remember that a personal statement doesn’t need to use complete sentences. Use your space wisely, and summarize your qualifications in a way that will make you stand out from other applicants.

Let’s say that you recently graduated from college with a degree in chemical engineering. You don’t have a lot of experience, but you know that you have the skills needed to get the job you want. After going through the steps above, your personal statement draft could say:

    Recent chemical engineering graduate from the University of XYZ with experience working with Altium Designer and MP lab and microcontrollers. Possessing a high level of creativity and understanding of electrical systems. Seeks a challenging and varied position with a reputable bio tech company with opportunities for personal and professional growth.

In this draft, you’ll notice that it mentions the:

  1. Profession
  2. Career goals
  3. Personal skills and character traits suited for the position

How To Write a Personal Statement: Refine and Edit

Write Professionally

Once you have a first draft of your personal statement, continue to work on it. As you write and rewrite your statement, avoid repetition and vague descriptions. Remember that you only have a few lines to describe yourself, so you need to make every word count.

Also, try to avoid clichés in your writing. A company may get hundreds of resumes for a single job posting. In order to shift through these papers quickly, companies don’t have a lot of time to examine everything on your resume. You need to choose information that will make you stand out. Saying that you’re hard-working and have good communication skills isn’t going to cut it. Think outside of the box and find ways to describe yourself in a unique and interesting way.

Edit Your Statement

Do not send your job application without taking the time to revise and edit it. This is especially true with your personal statement. Why? Because the personal statement is typically the first thing that people list under their name and contact information on a resume or CV. People will be drawn to your personal statement to get a quick summary of your skills and qualifications. Any spelling or grammar errors will give them a negative impression, and make it very difficult to land an interview.

One of the best ways to edit your statement is to read it out loud. Make sure that the words make sense. Ask yourself:

  • Does my personal statement have a logical flow?
  • Are all of the words used correctly?
  • Is everything spelled correctly?
  • Did I choose the best words for each item in my personal statement?
  • Did I use punctuation correctly?

If writing and editing isn’t your strong suit, find someone to help you. Ask a friend, family member, or colleague to look over your personal statement. Have them provide constructive criticism and suggestions on how you can improve. After this process has concluded, you’re ready to send your application.

How to Write a Good Personal Statement: Final Thoughts

One of the most important things to remember about how to write a good personal statement is to keep it current and tailored for each application. The personal statement that you wrote for one job won’t necessarily fit the next one.

Show hiring managers that you’re a fit for their role by taking the time to research the company and analyze the job posting. Then, create a personal statement that will stand out to the person hiring for the job, so you can get a call and set up an interview.

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