• By Check-a-Salary
  • Posted Sunday 17 th November 2019

How To Write a Personal Statement

Some positions you apply for, and some of the companies you will interact with, will use a standard job application form in order to obtain the same information from all candidates.  Candidates can then be evaluated using the same criteria.

Invariably, in addition to the information gathering sections, there will be scope to add more personal information. This will usually take the form of answering specific questions, such as giving examples of when you have worked well under pressure, or what you feel are your strengths and weaknesses.  This allows you to tell your prospective future employer something about you that goes beyond your education and previous employment.

How then, can you provide the same level of information about yourself if you’ve been asked to submit your CV?

This is where the ‘Personal Statement’ comes in and where a good, well-written personal statement gives the employer a sense of who you are, and why you would be a great candidate to progress further in the recruitment process.  Essentially, this is your chance to sell yourself.

Who Are You?

This is a good place to start your personal statement, with a brief introduction to you, the candidate.  You might like to give a brief outline of your current position, for example, by stating that you are a ‘customer service professional’ and why you are looking for a new role, for example you might say that you are a ‘customer service professional and I am now looking to use and extend my skills gained over the last five years and am seeking a new challenge’.

You don’t need to go into lots of detail about yourself as all relevant information will be included in your employment history, but a line of introduction is a good starting point for your personal statement.

Do Your Research

Whilst you might already have a personal statement on your CV, it makes sense to tailor your personal statement to each position you apply for.

Therefore, the best way to start is by researching the company you are applying to.  Find out about their values and ethos and take time to read the job description carefully. 

Look at the language used – typically job descriptions will talk about looking for candidates who are ‘dynamic’, ‘versatile’, ‘hardworking’, ‘creative’, ‘logical’, ‘innovative’…and so on, depending on the role and the type of industry. 

The key thing is to try to incorporate these adjectives into your personal statement, and provide valid and relevant examples of your dynamism, or your versatility, or your creativity.

So, you might write that you are great at working as part of a team and then go on to say that in your last role, you worked in a team of 10 people and successfully won the bid you were all working towards.

Or, you might state that you are versatile because in your current position, you were asked to take on extra duties when your colleague was on long term sick leave.

Whatever your specific skill set, your aim is to match your skills to those required by the employer – you want a prospective employer to read your personal statement and see that you have everything they are looking for.

Remember that one size definitely does not ‘fit all’ when it comes to getting your dream job!

Be Concise

Employers don’t have limitless time to read your CV so your personal statement needs to be no more than a paragraph in length; it should be concise and relevant to the position advertised and it should make the employer sit up and take notice of you. 

You should also ensure the language you use is formal and professional, so avoid colloquialisms and be careful to maintain consistency with the language you use – so if you refer to yourself in the third person, make sure you do so throughout the statement.

The ideal personal statement is around 150 words.  Having this in mind should help you to stay focused with what you are writing and make you prioritise what you want to say about yourself – remember a personal statement is a summary, not your life story.

Remember that your personal statement should cover who you are and what you can offer a prospective employer, it should demonstrate that you have researched and understood the role and the company, it must be truthful and it needs to be short and sweet!   



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