All You Need to Know About Writing the Personal Statement

By: Henrique Bertulino

20 min



All You Need to Know About Writing the Personal Statement

A personal statement is a business document and it may be required when applying for a job or applying to an educational institution. This document is an excellent opportunity for both the employee and the student to write about all the skills, goals, why this particular position or program is suitable for the candidate. It is a personal statement that allows you to show yourself better than other candidates. This paper enables you to reveal yourself as a person. Our article is intended for those students who do not know how to write a personal statement.

As a rule, the statement should consist of three paragraphs - each no more than three sentences. In the first paragraph, you need to catch the employer's attention or the commission, so it is best to talk about how you differ. In the second paragraph, you should briefly talk about your work experience and your level of professionalism, or about academic success during your studies. Be sure to name one professional achievement directly related to the company's field of activity or training program. The third paragraph is your call to action. Write why it is worth choosing only you and let the reader know that you expect a positive answer.

Remember that it usually takes 3-5 minutes to read one statement, so you should be as short as possible. And put all your talents in a few paragraphs. Now you know brief information about the statement, and below we will talk about the goals and provide personal statement examples.

What Is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a letter that can be attached to documents to explain why you are suitable for the vacant position, the training program, and why you should be chosen. We can say that this is the candidate's story about himself as a specialist, but with an eye to the future. If there are many candidates, the document can decide who will be invited for an interview first and who will not be considered a right candidate.

A personal statement is not a guarantee that your document will necessarily be opened and read. But a well-written paper can make a potential employer or commission take notice of you, especially if there is high competition in your field, university.

The document should not take more than one page. Better - about half. But the paper should look stable and finished. The writing style should be business-like but not overly formal. Better not to use templates or complex phrases. For example, the most common introductory sentence is: "Please consider my application." - this is a template that is no longer interesting. Better to replace it with something similar. Proposal for resume example: "I am interested in the vacancy of a sales manager in your company." For a student, a model looks like this: "I am delighted with your curriculum and have excellent qualities for your university."

What’s the Purpose?

The primary purpose of a personal statement is to attract the attention of a recruiter or commission. A good letter will help a candidate stand out from the crowd. Or vice versa: if all candidates without experience, the statement can play a decisive role.

This document allows you to demonstrate writing skills and how you can formulate thoughts. This is important if the candidate is applying for a position that requires writing skills. For example, it is always worth writing a cover letter for copywriters, marketers, and designers. And it is also essential for a student because you will have to write a lot of essays during your studies, and thus the commission sees whether you have excellent academic skills and whether you will keep up with the program.

The pros of a personal statement are that you show the employer that you are interested in the job and tell more about yourself. And a student with the help of such a paper can show his writing skills since it is impossible to understand from the training documents whether the student has the necessary qualities. After all, documents on success do not always mean how a person thinks or acts initially.

Personal Statement Types

In the English-speaking world, there are several types of personal statements that differ in content. We will describe them below. But the same advice exists for the two types of documents.

First, remember that you may be asked about it at the interview if you say something in the document. Therefore, you should not lie on paper and mention what you don't want to talk about.

Secondly, a lot of written drafts await you. Writing is tricky: it is essential to present structured information "without water," and carefully read the text. But remember, it's worth the effort. A good statement will help you get one step closer to studying at a dream university or working.

Personal Statement For Employment

The personal statement should be built around the benefits for the employer. It is essential to tell what the company will receive if it hires this particular candidate. Personal statement for employment template:

First part. Greet the potential employer and introduce yourself. Write what vacancy you are applying for and how you learned about it. Please indicate the company's name and the position you are applying for, as they are written in the vacancy. This will show that you are writing to a targeted company, and not massively sending letters to all employers. If the vacancy contains the recruiter's name, then refer to him by name in the document. The recruiter will appreciate your attentiveness. You can find some examples of how to introduce yourself in our full guide.

Main part. Explain why you want to work for this company and what exactly attracts you to the job. Next, tell us about your professional qualities that will be useful to the company. The volume of the central part also depends on the volume of the vacancy. For example, if there are many requirements, try to pay attention to each of them and describe if you fit them. If the vacancy is described briefly and trite, then give examples in general terms. For example, such a requirement as attentiveness can be supported because you have never made a mistake when entering information during the year of working with the database.

Final part. Thank the potential employer for reading your document. Write that you are ready to come for an interview if you, as a candidate, are liked and can be suitable for the position. In the end, leave your contacts - name, phone number, and mailing address where the employer can contact you.

Personal Statement For Future University Students

A personal statement is usually required as part of a package of documents. It should disclose the candidate's motivation to enroll in a specific university, for a particular program, and a particular professor. The direction of training that a future student chooses, as a rule, can always be associated with a specific person or several people on this program.

The document should give a complete portrait of the person applying for this program: how he sees himself in this program, how ready he is to use his professional, academic experience within this program during training, and, most importantly - who he sees himself after training. The fundamental point is that before sitting down to write a paper, the candidate should think about whether he needs this program and read the personal statement examples.

The first block is the goal - why a person writes a letter to this particular university. The second block reveals what the candidate knows about this place and finds a high degree of university correspondence to his interests and motives. The third block is an expression of hope and, at the same time, confidence that this person will benefit the organization where he asks. At the end of the document, a politeness construction is required when a person thanks in advance for the time the reader will spend.

Personal Statement Format

Now that you know about the definition, goals, types, you can talk about the personal statement format. Personal statement structure:

  1. Introduction - why did you choose this particular study program at this university or a company position?
  2. What have you already achieved in this area, or are you going to achieve it?
  3. Work and experience related to the specialty.
  4. Hobbies and interests related to the specialty.
  5. Conclusion.

The length of the document should not exceed the A4 page. Personal statement format for university and job do not differ in structure, only in information.

How to Choose What to Write About

Sometimes students and employees do not understand what to write about in the document. First, you need to know if you have any tips from the university or employer. For example, a university puts up a list of questions or topics. But we also prepared our list of tips on how to understand what to say in a statement:

  1. Each student and employee has talents, knowledge, ideas, character traits that make him a person. Remember the story where you developed the above elements and write this story in the document.
  2. Throughout our lives, we have all faced problems that eventually taught us a lesson. Thus, this is another idea that can become the fundamental basis of the text. To do this, you need to think about what life lessons you have encountered and what results you have learned. Then think about whether this story has consequences that became a decisive factor in making any actions.
  3. Think about a situation where your ideas were discussed and considered ridiculous, and in the end, you achieved your goal. So the recruit or the commission will see that you know how to reach the top no matter what.
  4. If you were a volunteer, you might have encountered problems that are considered essential for the whole country. Describe how you were able to solve these problems and how you helped people.
  5. Another topic is the availability of achievements. If you took part in various competitions, attended courses, then tell us about it. Perhaps you have achieved tremendous results that are interesting for a recruit or a commission.

This is a list of general topics that can be covered in a document. If you have additional ideas, then feel free to use them; the main thing is that it would be interesting to read about you. Now let's learn the tricks of how to generate ideas yourself.

Brainstorm About Your Life

Brainstorming is a great way to stimulate creative thinking when solving a problem. The purpose of brainstorming is to get many new ideas and form them based on other analysis topics.

The method is based on the brainstorming technique when a person expresses his sentences in writing. A student or worker writes their ideas on slips of paper reflecting on achievement in life.

The duration of the method should not exceed 3-10 minutes. To evaluate ideas, the author should not start right away, but after a while, for example, after a week. Also, during the method, you must learn to ask yourself a question with possible alternative answers. That is, what have you done in life that might interest others?

Brainstorming benefits:

  1. Ease and simplicity of the method.
  2. Most effective for solving organizational, social, and simple technical problems.
  3. The ability to fix and permanently record all the ideas put forward.
  4. Favorable conditions for a chain reaction of ideas.

What Were the Important Moments In Your Life?

Throughout life, some moments make us make decisions, do things. Remember those moments and answer simple questions. How did the moment affect your behavior? What did you take away from it? How did your plans for future change? We provide you with a list of topics that may be related to the moments that changed your life:

  1. An accident, a catastrophe, a trauma that radically changed life.
  2. My best friend did something that made me think.
  3. My colleague talked about me behind his back, but it did not break me, and I achieved even better results.
  4. This was my first time trying the technique in creating business projects, and my boss appreciated it.
  5. I was able to prove to my family that I have good skills to become a writer.
  6. I studied the Bible about the creation of the world and realized how to appreciate what I have.
  7. How moving to a new city changed my lifestyle.
  8. I was traveling with one backpack or how I visited ten countries of different cultures that showed me their traditions and made me think differently.
  9. How I got my first pet and what responsibilities I had to fulfill.
  10. Mom forbid me to attend the football section, but I became the best and won the champions cup.

What Have You Chosen to Spend Time On?

When you remember the story that changed your life, it is worth reflecting on what prompted you to decide. At the same time, you need to answer the questions: How did you feel at that moment? Did someone support you? Have you been convinced that you want to change your life? List of topics:

  1. When you became a football player, how did you feel: support or were you laughing at?
  2. How did you feel when you injured your leg and needed to stop swimming? Was it difficult for you to make a decision?
  3. How did you feel when you first fell in love? What post-navels are you willing to do for the sake of your loved one?
  4. When you first wrote an article for the magazine, did you feel proud or afraid that you would be judged for your thoughts?
  5. You were a volunteer; how did you feel when you helped people in need?

Who or What Are You Inspired By?

Inspiration is a particular state of a person characterized by high productivity and a tremendous rise and tension of a person's strength. When we make a decision, more often than not, someone is behind it. Answer yourself to the questions: Who or that inspired you? What actions do you consider good and follow them? What principles at university or work prompted you to apply? list of topics in this regard:

  1. Love for the computer and technology prompted me to become an IT specialist.
  2. When I met a professor from Oxford University, I realized that I only wanted to study with him.
  3. After I watched the Hungry Games movie, I realized that I wanted to become a director.
  4. My dance teacher encouraged me to become a choreographer.
  5. My grandmother cooks insanely delicious, and I want to become the best chef in the world.
  6. Selena Gomez has an incredible voice, and I want to become a singer that the whole country knows.
  7. The science of biology prompted me to become a specialist in genetics.
  8. Steve Jobs created the excellent corporation Apple, and by his example, I want to become a technical specialist.
  9. Coco Chanel proved that women could wear men's clothing. Therefore I want to be a designer and follow her opinion.
  10. Actress Kate Winslet has the charisma that I want to bring into my character and become an actress.

What Are You Proud Of?

Inside every person, there is a little perfectionist who pushes us to self-flagellation. Each of us spends a lot of time thinking about what we did wrong, not on time or not perfect. Whether it is unfinished exam material, unfinished report. At the same time, it is quite evident that such thoughts are empty, and it is impossible to be perfect. On the other hand, you are the very person who has done many good deeds on his way. So, below are ten things to be proud of:

  1. You have coped with all the difficulties that fate has prepared for you. Surely you had moments when it seemed that it could not be worse. But you survived everything, and you are well done.
  2. You've learned from your mistakes. Unsuccessful relationships, rash actions - yes, all this took place. But you drew the right conclusions and gratefully accepted all the lessons of fate.
  3. You helped other people. You may have been involved in charity work, donated your old belongings to the poor, or came to the aid of a friend when he needed support. Yes, you have something to be proud of.
  4. All your achievements. Not everyone is destined to be the best employee of the month, but not everyone needs it. You learned how to cook a delicious pie (for a profession, a chef is what you need), play the piano or pass a difficult language exam, and participate in an Olympiad. All these are achievements that stay with you forever.
  5. You have a purpose in your life. A vast number of people in the world live without any goal ahead. You are not one of them, and you want to get a higher education, build a career. This is a reason for pride.

Shortlist Your Ideas

When you realize that you have many ideas, then re-read them and do the following actions. Cross out those ideas that cannot be developed, that there is little to talk about, that are not interesting and do not describe you as a person. The ones that stay will be the strongest and help you stand out from other candidates. You should have 3-4 ideas. If you decide to change your paper at some point, then there should be several good topics in stock.

Write Your Possible Essay Topics

When you select the top three ideas, you need to take a notebook and write down all the topics that come to mind. Write ideas in the center of the page and come up with a list of words associated with it. So you will have themes that can then be supplemented. Each idea should have a 10-minute deadline, during which time to write the topics. No need to worry about structuring your sentences correctly; this is just an exercise to help you generate a list of topics. When you take this technique, try to be in a calm atmosphere to interfere with thinking.

To choose the best one after you make a list of topics, you need to follow these steps:

  1. the first topics about which you wrote indicate that they are interesting to you, so mark them;
  2. for each of the topics, it is necessary to write a story that can reveal the topic;
  3. think about the information that will be a discovery for the employer or commission;
  4. think about the fact that you need at least 500 words to cover a topic, so choose the one you are sure of.

When you complete all these steps, you will be left with those topics that are convenient to work with. You can start by writing a plan and then see the one that best reveals you as a person.

How to Write a Personal Statement

As we have already found out, this document's task is to attract attention, make the recruiter and the commission read the statement carefully, and become interested in your candidacy. In this case, the wording should fit into the framework of generally accepted ideas about business correspondence. Creativity and humor are only acceptable if you do not doubt your ideas and jokes' appropriateness and quality. You may well interest the employer, the commission, with non-standard, exciting, and competent documents.

Let's look at a few steps on how to compose an original document:

  • ask your friend or colleague to make a list of questions;
  • record the interview on a dictaphone;
  • decipher the recording;
  • highlight motivational messages and good wording;
  • write the text and re-read it out loud in such a format as if you would tell all this in an interview.

To write a quality paper, you need to prepare. If you do not have time, then our specialists can help you. You will get a decent result that the employer or the commission will pay attention to. We assure you that the writers will do their best to deliver the document on time.

Write a Personal Introduction

The first paragraph about yourself is an easy way for people to get a more comprehensive view of you. This paragraph also gives a short and precise answer to the question: Why should you be hired? Why are you eligible for the training program? Let's see examples of how this paragraph should look:

"My name is Randy Patterson. I am currently looking for a job in the youth affairs service. I have ten years of experience in youth affairs agencies. I have a bachelor's degree in organizing open youth events. I find sponsors, train leaders, and manage groups. For the past six years, I have raised over $ 100,000 annually for events. I consider myself a good speaker. I have a good sense of humor. "

"Hello, my name is Chris Stewart. I graduated from high school and dream of going to Harvard University as a nurse. I have had the experience of helping people and assisting a doctor for a long time. Your training program can provide knowledge that can be applied to practice and become a better specialist."

How to Write a Killer Opening

The first paragraph about yourself has no exact format or content restrictions. You can show your imagination, but we advise you to proceed from a specific vacancy or program requirements. For an accountant or programmer, skills and experience are essential, but there are areas where the principle works, the more original, the better. Advertising agencies, photo studios, art galleries are often looking for specialists with unique interests and an unconventional view of the world. Oxford University is looking for students who create an experience and are ready to be creative. If this is your case:

  1. Consider the specifics. When applying for a specific job, learn more about the company and its people. The same goes for the university. It is essential to show that you are the kind of person who understands their philosophy and will fit perfectly into the team.
  2. Please don't overdo it. Inappropriate creativity will negatively affect the number of job offers. Recruiters are looking for adequate employees who can work with people and understand the essence of the task. Therefore, it is better to postpone comics in verse until the test task. As for the university document, here are the same principles you need to write on the case. Creativity can be manifested as telling a story or experience.

Expand on Relevant Skills, Interests, And Experiences

A good statement contains goals, skills, knowledge, experience, and be presentable to the reader. Skills are most often based on experience gained over a lifetime. Sometimes a candidate has many of the above-listed elements and describes the information on page A4. This action is inappropriate, as the manager or selection committee member will not spend a lot of time studying your background. The reader wants to understand from the very first paragraphs whether you fit the criteria.

How to show that you are suitable for a job or training program? There are three rules for describing professional skills:

  1. Compliance with the requirements of the vacancy/program. This is the most important rule to follow when drafting a document. First, by looking at the paper and the skills, it should immediately be clear who you are. Second, analyze the program requirements/job responsibilities, see what phrases and expressions are allowed in the text. This exercise will help you prove yourself as a professional candidate who possesses the necessary knowledge.
  2. Presentability. All the skills you possess should sound convincing and beautiful to be pleasant to read. Every word should be like an ad that shows you as the best candidate. These can be numbers, facts, phrases, or appropriate jokes. Our best recommendation is to use verifiable facts so the reader can be sure that your words are true.
  3. Laconism. If you write a little of your skills, it will feel like you are not a specialist or an incapable student. If you write a lot, it won't be easy to read the document. We recommend specifying 6-9 skills. This is the optimal amount that is easy to read and enough to show yourself as knowledgeable.

Write a Strong Conclusion

Write a final paragraph that will make the admissions office or employer think of you as a right candidate. In conclusion, you need to briefly summarize why you are applying, what you can provide and what you expect to receive in return. You must force the reader to consider all your documents in full and forget that there are still other candidates. That is, you have to call the person to action.

Elements that can be written in conclusion:

  1. Describe your goals for the future. In the final paragraph, you can share that you see yourself as a specialist in this field and are looking forward to building a career.
  2. Briefly describe what skills you have and how they can help you in the professional field.
  3. Go back to the data from the introduction. Also, emphasize the fact that this program/job is perfect for you and explain why.

These elements do not need to be applied all at once. Choose only one that works best for you. After all, your conclusion should be several sentences, but they must be convincing.

Proofread And Edit

When you draw up a statement, you need to postpone it for a while and then read it. While reading, you need to mark those moments that are worth rewriting. If there are none, then watch out for spelling, stylistic, punctuation mistakes. To ensure that your text is perfect, we recommend running the text through a program that can help you identify mistakes.

Programs that show mistakes are considered the best checkers. While writing text, you can click on any red underline to get more information about the mistake. If it's a simple spelling or basic grammar mistake, it will provide you with suggestions for correcting, so you can select the correct one, replace the mistake, and continue. You can also ignore the mistake or add it to your dictionary if it is not spelling.

It happens that you are pressed for time in submitting a statement, but you want to have time to get everything right. Programs that show errors understand this, so you can select the corrected word or phrase without additional information. Easy, fast, and hassle-free.

Tips to Help You Write a Great Personal Statement

The following tips will help you write your personal statement:

  • The language of the document should be direct, clear, and concise. You can use the vocabulary of your profession, but be careful with your phrases. You do not know the person to whom the letter is intended, so it is better to use proven forms of writing.
  • Don't make spelling mistakes. Many candidates are automatically rejected due to poor grammar or spelling mistakes. Check the text as many times as necessary and make sure it is free of mistakes.
  • Be creative and original. Imagine how many candidates are applying for a job or training program and the number of statements to be read. Try to excel in the first paragraph. If your paper is too similar to other candidates, you will not stand out from the rest.
  • When submitting on the Internet, always convert the statement to PDF. Not all computers have the same version of word processing software such as Word, Pages, or Open Office.

Need medical personal statement writing service for excellent paper? We are ready to help you!

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Henrique Bertulino

Head of Customer Success

I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.

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