As the name suggests, a personal statement is unique to everyone, but that does not mean there are not specific personal statement rules and guidelines to follow. Being able to quickly showcase your skills, personality and job fit can be challenging, so we are here to shed some light on structuring a personal statement that’ll make you stand out from the crowd.
In this guide, we will be looking at how to write a personal statement and the do’s and don’ts. By the end, you should have a better idea of how to structure a personal statement and impress your potential new employers.
💡 Note: We will be covering professional personal statements and not personal statements for University admissions in this article.
What is a personal statement?
Often confused with a cover letter or supporting statement, a personal statement is a small section on various forms of CVs. A personal statement is often no more than a few sentences where you can quickly summarise your skills, experience and job fit into a bitesize paragraph.
A personal statement gives you the opportunity to briefly sell yourself to your potential employer and showcase why you are the best candidate for the role. It is important to note that not all employers will require a personal statement, but if done correctly they can help set you apart from other applicants.
What makes a good personal statement?
As a personal statement is essentially a summary of the rest of your CV and you as a person, you want to ensure you list all the most important things from your CV that are the most relevant to the job you are applying for. You should never use the same personal statement, when applying for multiple jobs you can use a similar statement for each, but it should be tailored to each individual role if possible.
How to start a personal statement
Start your personal statement by introducing yourself and set the tone for the rest of your personal statement.
You want to capture the employer’s interest and summarise exactly why you are a perfect fit for the role. Most personal statement examples start with saying the role you are currently in, how much industry experience you have and key achievements or relevant skills and statistics.
How to finish a personal statement
A good way to finish your personal statement is to summarise your overall goal or aim when moving forwards towards this job and your career. This means you have spoken about the past, present and future, in just a few lines and gives the employer a good idea of you and your potential.
How to finish a personal statement can vary from role to role, but this is a good rule of thumb and will stand you in good stead, as with any application, tailor it to the job, some may call for this, some may not.
Personal statement do’s
- Tailor your personal statement - utilise the job description to help you highlight exactly what the employer is looking for, highlight the skills and experience it calls for. The job description is the blueprint to your personal statement for that role, so try and signpost your abilities from the exact things the employer is looking for.
- Be concise - ensure that you keep your personal statement short and relevant, aim for the maximum of a few lines or around 200 words at most. Find the most important and relevant things that you can say within that word count.
- Highlight you - candidates have a habit of being too generic and not showcasing themselves, it is called a personal statement, so keep it personal to you. Personal does not mean talking about your dog though, but how you personally can succeed at this job.
- Include tangibles - always try to give additional details that add value to your application, for instance, quantifying something always makes it sound better. ‘Increased sales by 35%’ sounds better than just saying ‘increased sales’.
- Hit key points - a good personal statement will be able to give the employer a quick summary of you and entice them to read more or move you forward to the interview stage.
- Get a second opinion - having someone else read over your personal statement can be a real help, they may spot something you haven’t or not understand something the way you had intended. This will help improve your finished personal statement.
Personal statement don’ts
- Use the same wording - you can actually hurt your own chances if you use an overly generic personal statement. You want to show that you have put effort into your application and impress the employer.
- Make it too long - candidates will often confuse their personal statement with a cover letter, this is a short rundown of you, focus on skills, successes, and statistics, things that can be quickly digested. Grab their attention with your personal statement, but do not bore them with an essay.
- Go too personal - this may sound strange, but remember you are writing a professional application, and not setting up a dating profile. Focus on what you can bring to the company, and how your skills would be perfect for the role.
- Send off your first draft - always read over your personal statement a few times to make sure it flows right and rolls off the tongue. Having a spelling or grammar mistake can ruin your chances of getting the job.
- Be too broad - showing that you understood the job description and are a good candidate for the role can be evident if you have a good personal statement, but being too broad will make you look like you copy and pasted the same response to 20 applications.
Now you have a better understanding on how to structure your personal statement to increase your chances of getting your new role, you want to start your job search. Currently at Michael Page, we have over 10,000 live jobs on the site so submit your CV today to become discoverable for new roles added in your industry.
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