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General guidelines for writing a personal statement

Explain why you are applying for this particular job. If you are going to mention personal interests and hobbies then try to link them to the skills and experience required for the job. For example being captain of your university football team suggests that you have good leadership skills. Organizing a large social function would be good evidence of your organizational and project management skills. Bear in mind that the your personal statement will almost certainly be used as the basis for a job interview so be prepared to answer questions about the points that you made. Get the grammar, spelling and punctuation right!

Here’s a check list for the preparation of a Personal Statement that is often given to students applying for a place at university but could equally apply to job hunters:

• Research / think
• Plan
• Write the first draft
• Check your grammar and spelling
• Use your spell checker
• Print out and leave overnight and then and check again
• Write the final version of the personal statement
• Final proof read before submitting

This check list is an indication of the care and attention that some candidates give to writing a personal statement. Don’t be one of the candidates who sends off a hastily written personal statement. This may be one of the key elements of your job application that will decide whether you will be invited to interview or not. If you really want the job then you cannot be too thorough.

Writing a personal statement is not something that you would generally do so it is worth taking some time to practice. Before starting to write, at the planning stage, you may find it helpful to use a mind-map (or similar brain storming technique) to map out all of the points that you want to cover and decide which points best match the requirements of the job. Be aware that many organizations now use sophisticated “similarity detection” software to detect personal statements that have been copied from documents on the Internet. Don’t be tempted to copy, you will almost certainly get disqualified from the application process.


About Jeremy I'Anson

Jeremy I'Anson is the author of You're Hired! Total Job Search 2013 published by Trotman Education. Jeremy provides one-to-one career coaching to job hunters at every level from graduate to CEO. Jeremy writes career related articles for the national press including Computer Weekly and The Guardian. He is the official Career Coach at the Daily Telegraph. View all posts by Jeremy I'Anson

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