Whether you’re completing an application online, as a paper copy or writing a covering letter to support your CV/application – An effective personal statement can make all the difference.
It’s your opportunity to get specific about your skills and experience and how they match up with the job you’re applying for – as well as an opportunity to make yourself stand out from all those other applicants!
Here are a few key points to remember:
Be Specific & Individual
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve organised a group of clients to complete application forms, only to read through their ‘Personal Statements’ and find they’ve all near enough written the same thing: “I am a hard working, reliable individual, able to work as part of a team or on my own.”
That’s great – but it’s also boring. It doesn’t relate to you as an individual and what you can bring to the role out of all the other applicants. Employers tell me it drives them crazy having to read/hear the same thing over and over again so start thinking about YOU!
Explain why you’re applying for the job at hand, how your experience and skills match the job description, what you can bring to the role that others couldn’t – Include praise a previous manager may have given you and show you’re a viable employee not an application robot!
Related: The Worst Lies to Tell on Your CV
Refer to the Job Description
The majority of online applications, particularly for some more professional roles, will provide you with quite a bit of allowance for your personal statement – this means they want something substantial
that covers all the key points in the job description and how you meet their criteria.
Make it a rule to save any online applications and complete your personal statement offline. Print the job description and for each of the ‘Essential’ criteria, bullet point at least one example of how you meet this – from any of your work, education or hobbies. Provide solid examples and as much as possible use the same language as the employer.
Then do the same for the ‘Desirable’ criteria – the more you can provide solid examples of the better.
Set out your statement like a story – start with a paragraph about why you are applying for role and what attracted you to the company in the first place. Then lead into your skills and experience.
End with a short summary paragraph, again referring to your experience and how this matches the role and state your confidence in your ability to meet the demands of the advertised position.
Think About Presentation
If you’re submitting a paper application – consider your handwriting. I recently did a round of paper applications for a big retail employer and 75% of applications were rejected BEFORE the employer even read anything about the individuals! All because the presentation wasn’t right – crossed out sentences, scribbles on the paper, not keeping in the lines.
An application is where your potential employer is going to make their first impression of you so make sure it’s the best one you can achieve!
Take the time over your application – re-write 2 or 3 times if you have to – Get someone to take a look over it before you hand it and get feedback. If you can get a copy to complete on your computer and then print, all the better!
Follow the Instructions
It’s such a simple, common sense thing to state – But another one that a number of my clients have fallen down on. If it says complete in Black in – Complete it in Black ink. If it says complete it in capitals – complete it in capitals. If it says complete online – complete online!!!
Fail to follow easy instructions on your application and you can guarantee it will find its way to the bin. Regardless that you might have 10 years experience!
Think About Your Pitch
You need to make sure you pitch your personal statement at the right level. This is where your previous research into the company will come in handy. Pay attention to the company ethos and culture – what are their key priorities of the business?
Whether it’s a young fashion retail brand or a leading accountancy firm – think about the language they use on their company website and make sure you’re pitching at the same level.
Spelling & Grammar
Readers of my previous articles will know how much I go on about this but it really is so important in all written work to any potential employers!
Numeracy & Literacy skills are increasingly on the demand from employers wanting people that are going to be able to meet the ever increasing demands of the workplace. Recent employers have also stated to me that good numeracy & literacy means they can work to progress clients quicker once they’re in the business – so don’t let yourself down! Proof read, once twice, and then get someone else to do it!
photo by: personalwerk