What is a Personal Statement?

What is a Personal Statement?

With the knowledge that resumes are read in a matter of seconds the first time, it is all the more important to make sure you stand out and make sure your resume ends up on the right pile and isn’t discarded.

Countless applicants are searching for the best tips on how to make their resume stand out, so even with following the best resume writing tips, you can still find you are lost in a mountain of other resumes.

You can have a resume that is well formatted and contains all the right information, but when there are hundreds of people doing exactly the same, what else is there you can do to catch an employer’s attention?

This is where a personal statement can make all the difference in catching attention. These though take some careful consideration to write, so here we will look at all you need to know for writing the very best personal statement to include on your resume.

how to write a good personal statementA Personal Statement – What is it?

This personal statement can be known by other names such as a personal profile, or a personal summary. However, they all do the same thing and summarise what it is you can offer to an employer about the position you are applying for.

Any good personal statement needs to convince an audience, that you are the right candidate for the position. You might have the very best resume, and wonder what is a personal statement useful for apart from taking up space.

This is actually one mistake many job hunters make, they look at a personal statement as repetition of what is already contained in their resume. What they fail to remember is, this is the one chance you have to sell yourself.

It can be harder than you think because you need to condense pretty much all of your resumes into a few short sentences, and it needs to be written in a way, so it doesn’t appear to be a repetition of all your other skills and information.

How Long Should a Personal Statement Be?

This is probably the most asked question regarding the writing of a personal statement. A personal statement is exactly as it says ‘Personal’ so they can differ slightly in length depending on the person, and the position applied for.

This only comes into play when a personal statement for job requiring specific skills, or more on the academic side are being applied for. But, as a general rule, a personal statement should be a short paragraph containing around four or five lines of text.

This can be anywhere from 150 to 500 words in length, and any more than this, and you can appear to be rambling.

Note: It is supposed to be a summary of the following information and not a cover letter. Keep it relevant and to the point.

Writing a personal statement tipsPersonal Statement Writing Tips for Job Search

Writing a personal statement is hard enough, and just reading tips of what they should and shouldn’t include can quickly confuse the matter.

We thought it relevant to add some tips which can help to make the writing of your personal statement process easier. Hopefully, these can guide you to the ultimate goal of knowing what you should and shouldn’t include.

Another mistake many people make is, they might customise their resume for the position applied for, but they forget to change their personal statement.

This is the most crucial part of your resume that must be personal and tailored to the position which you are applying for.

Like your resume, these don’t need to be re-written entirely for each application type, just a few alterations or tweaks here and there.

Here are a few more tips to help you see what to include in a personal statement.

Make it Targeted to the Position – You might have lots of skills you want the employer to know about. But, because you have limited space, you need to pluck out the skills that the employer wishes to see in their candidates.

Knowing Your Audience – This is where you will match the skills and information you include to the position and the employer’s request. Knowing the company can help, so it is time to do your homework and re-read all the information you gathered about the hiring company.

Make Lists – It will be the case you have a lot of information to wade through. For this reason, you are advised to write lists of all the relevant information. When you are looking at what to include, it makes it easier for you to decide.

When you do this and are comparing it to the job description, you should be able to easily match skills to the requirements. An aside to this is, you will also see what jumps out, and this is precisely how it will be understood by the employer.

First and Second Draft – It will be almost impossible for anyone to write their personal statement on the first attempt. You will include information which doesn’t make you stand out, or you have too many words.

On the first draft, you shouldn’t worry about the length of the statement you right. You can cut all of the words which are unnecessary or the clichés you have added without realising. You can add your action verbs, and then make sure you are not using the word “I” too much.

How to Start a Personal Statement?

If you thought writing a personal statement in such a short amount of sentences was hard, then knowing how to start your personal profile is more difficult, and can for many individuals, be even harder to do.

First off, your personal statement should be structured all around your achievements. These should be linked together and make up a compelling story that shows what it would be like to have you as an employee.

The very first sentence of your personal profile needs to really hook the reader (don’t forget, they are read in a matter of seconds). From this, they should want to read the second line, and then the next

Here is what your first sentence should include:

  • Your job title.
  • Your number of years’ experience.
  • A particular skill or expertise you possess.
  • The use of active verbs or positive words.

Here is a quick example of the structure you can follow:

“A qualified and innovative (job title), with over (number of years) years’ experience working on complex projects, currently searching for a (advertised position) position to fully utilise my skills and take on more responsibility and expand my career.”

Do’s and Don’ts of Writing First Class Personal Statements

Just like the rest of your resume, there are things you should do, and certain things you shouldn’t.

  • Do sell yourself. Highlight things that set you apart from other candidates.
  • Do make it relevant. Tailor for the job which you are applying.
  • Do use your career summary to show what you can offer. Make it about the employer.
  • Do have that strong opening sentence to “grab attention.”
  • Do make it specific. Avoid generic phrases.
  • Do show passion that is relevant.
  • Do include your number of years’ experience, expertise and specialist skills.
  • Do pay attention to the language used by the employer.
  • Don’t make spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Don’t sound negative.
  • Don’t exaggerate your skills.

Examples of Personal Statements

Because a personal statement is about you and the position which you are applying for, it can change in the way it is written. Here are some personal statement examples that can help you decide which format you should be following.

Unemployed Personal Statement

Understate that you are employed, or don’t highlight that fact. Focus on what you can offer using your skills.

“Successful Manager with over eight years’ experience in the logistics industry. With a proven track record of success, including leading top performing teams nationally, and developing effective internal training programmes.

Now looking for the right opportunity to bring my skills to a dynamic logistics company in a managerial position.”

School Leaver or Graduate Personal Statement

This group of individuals might think they have little to add to their personal statement. However, hiring companies don’t look to recruit school leavers for their experience. They are more interested in why you would be applying for their position

“Highly motivated and an enthusiastic student with a passion for design, especially computer-based.

I am interested in completing a design apprenticeship, as I have always enjoyed using computers for art and design.

I am good at maths and competent in using most software applications. I recently won an award for a piece of artwork and design.”

Career Change Personal Statement

If this is your situation, don’t try to over explain why you are making a transition in your career. You should focus on skills learned and how they can be of benefit in the new position.

“Experienced manager with 10 years’ experience in recruiting, inducting and training of new staff. Passionate about employee engagement and enabling all staff to contribute to company well-being. Now seeking a role in HR within the financial sector.”

professional resume writingConclusion

With all of the above information, you can see how to write a good personal statement can be a hit or miss affair. But with some careful and logical steps, you can tailor your personal statement to help you stand out from the crowd.

There are professional resume writing services which can help with this if you still find it a little daunting.

The main thing to remember is, your personal statement is all about you but through the eyes of a hiring company.

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