I’m Helen Pretty – your Career Coach and Mentor – Bringing you your next blog – ‘Top 3 tips for an amazing personal statement’.
Thank you for taking a step forward to your job search. Your personal statement is that section of your application (normally found on your CV) that brings to life you on paper.
Your personal statement are the words (normally about 100) that the interviewer reads which gets a sense of what kind of person you are.
So lets make sure the person they read about is authentically YOU and is confident in their abilities.
Here are my top 3 tips for an amazing personal statement.
1- Get to the point
As you have a limited space on your CV it is vital that you use that space (and word count) wisely. I recommend that you plan and use short powerful sentences saying one or two points in as few words as possible.
You can say the same thing in so many ways, but your personal statement is not the place to go into detail or list or waffle on about something amazing about yourself.
Let’s say you are friendly, which is a great personality trait by the way, when describing this within your personal statement make sure you get to the point of why being friendly is something you want the reader to know. And please remember this is a professional document, not a chat with your best friend.
For example – Being friendly at work has enabled me to build a successful team (only 12 words- great!)
I also want you to get to the point because I would hate for the reader to read your personal statement and think one of the following ‘what does that even mean?’, or ‘So what?!’.
How many personal statements or just statements have you read and thought ‘I have no idea what they mean!?’. It’s not a good thing in my opinion, and I don’t want your interviewers to discount you just because you have confused them.
So make sure you get to the point and clearly make the right point! Use your 100 words wisely.
2- It’s ‘personal’ for a reason
Let’s be blunt for a minute, this is a personal statement, it is not a list of tasks and duties or an explanation of things you have not been successful at. It is a section of your application (normally in the form of your CV) that is personally just about you and how amazing you are!
Make the words in your personal statement about YOU. Tell the reader what makes you sellable and positively stand out.
Keep it professional and exciting. I recommend to my clients that the personal statement is at the top of your CV, so you need to keep the readers interest and attention (in a good way!).
One of my aims of a personal statement is that the interviewer says yes to me (via my CV) before they have finished reading my personal statement (ie they don’t need to read the rest of my great work experience because I am already on the ‘yes to interview’ pile).
In your personal statement tell the reader how you are different from the other 100 CV’s they have in front of them. This might be your one chance to grab their attention and prove you are the right fit for them and their company.
3- Ambition and drive
Your personal statement is a great first impression opportunity for you – please make the most of this! Give the reader some reasons to think ‘Wow, this person is amazing’.
Think about what you have done, or honestly want to do, to show your ambition and drive.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not about you being cheesey or arrogant, no one likes a show off! But confidence and ambition are attractive to an employer.
I have read many CV’s when interviewing others and trust me the boring ones might go on the ‘yes to interview pile’ but not because of their personal statements. Like I said- I want my clients to positively stand out with their personal statement (ie within the first 30 seconds) and not after reading all of the CV.
Bring your personal statement to life and don’t be a boring one!
Some ways I would recommend for you to show your ambition and drive would be to use forward thinking, positive words. I want you to tell the interviewer where you want to be, how you’re going to get there and why.
For example – I love to travel and I will be climbing Machu Picu in 2019 to raise money for X and to tick off one of many items on my bucket list.
For example – Through my finance career I have mentored and supported many trainee accountants, looking ahead I want to lead and manage more direct reports to develop and encourage more females into senior finance positions.
Summary – Your top 3 tips for an amazing personal statement!
I hope these top 3 tips for writing an amazing personal statement are super useful.
Just a few extra bitesize tips for you. Firstly get someone to read your personal statement (and CV) before you press send! That can be your spouse, work colleague or me- you’re career coach and mentor ?
Secondly be proud of what you write and be authentically you.
Finally be able to backup everything you write in your personal statement with at least 3 examples (I’ll come onto specifics on these in a future blog). But please be honest and real! This is your chance to get the dream job you want- no need to mess it up by lying!
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Thanks guys! Helen x