How To Write A Perfect Personal Statement

As a student or grad job seeker, your CV is your personal marketing document. Your words have to jump off the page, hit the person between the eyes and make them want to invite you to interview! A two or three line personal statement at the top of your CV can be a crucial part in making this happen.

But while a carefully crafted personal statement has the power to drastically enhance your prospects of being interviewed, on the other side of the coin, a poorly written one has the power to drastically hinder your chances!

So, it’s definitely a case of if you are going to do it, you need to do it properly! With that in mind here are a few GradTouch top tips for fashioning an award-winning personal statement: 

1. Avoid buzzwords like the plague

● Check out the most overused buzzwords by graduate job hunters here

The problem with buzzwords is that they are used so often that they lose all meaning. They tell the reader NOTHING about you, other than the fact that you lack imagination. If you think your personal statement sounds clichéd or generic, it probably does. A good rule of thumb is to keep rewording it until you can read it without cringing!

2. Cover the basics

Your personal statement should include two key things:

1. Your selling points- anything that you feel will impress the reader- be that your skills, qualifications or experience.

2. Your aspirations- the industry you are hoping to go in to.

3. Actions speak louder than words

The person reading your CV will be intelligent and will be able to infer what you are like from the things you have done.

For instance, if you were applying for a recruitment position, two of the key requirements might be that you are outgoing and competitive. Instead of simply stating that you are both of these, say what you have done that shows this:

‘During at my final year of university I was captain of the rugby team….’

From this, your potential employer can read between the lines and will understand that being captain of a rugby team will naturally mean you were outgoing and competitive.

4. Use ‘I’, but not too much

● Avoid using third person. ‘Bob is a dynamic and entrepreneurial final year student…’ doesn’t read naturally, and can come across as a little pretentious.

● Your CV is all about you, your skill set, and is written by you, so don’t pretend it’s written by some anonymous number one fan!

● That said, avoid using I at the start of every sentence. 'I did...', 'I am...' 'I am interested in...' all sound too simplistic. Vary your sentence structure instead.

For instance, you might begin:

‘As a recent graduate of the University of Bristol…’

Or ‘During my time with Company X…’

5. Be a tease!

One of the key purposes of your personal statement is to seduce the recruiter (metaphorically, of course) into reading more of your CV.

A good tactic might be alluding to a fact you’ll mention later on in your CV. Including something like ‘I play a variety of competitive sports, as shown on my CV’ is a sure-fire way to get the reader to cast a curious eye across the rest of your CV. Sneaky.

6. Tailor it

You always need to tailor your CV to the company you are applying to, and this tailoring extends to your personal statement. Look at the job description you are applying to and pick out key traits/skills/experiences that your potential employer are looking for - these are the things you need to mention in your personal statement.

Similarly, take a look on the company’s website; there will usually be a section about their ethos, culture and aims. Try and weave these things into your personal statement too.

7. Keep it snappy

Your personal statement is a brief introduction to yourself.

Often the advice given is to keep it less than 200 words. Here at GT HQ, we think this is far too long! Between 50 and 100 words should suffice, any longer and you’re in danger of writing a shortened version of your CV/covering letter and risk boring the reader to death!

All you need now is the job to go with it! 


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