Job Applications Personal Statement

by Michael Cheary

OK, so putting a personal statement together is never easy…

But even if you’ve written one before, how you write a personal statement will always depend on your current situation. In other words, what you write as a school leaver will look a lot different to someone who has many years of previous work experience.

To help you find the right one for you, here are some real personal statement examples – and how you can use them to make your CV stand out:

 

Free CV Template

Download Free CV Template

 

University personal statement 

First things first: personal statements aren’t just for your CV.

They’re also a key part of the UCAS application process, and a way to sell yourself to prospective universities. However, they will be much more detailed – and longer – than the one you write for a job application.

We’ve covered everything you need to know about personal statements for university here.

 

School leaver personal statement example

All personal statements should be tailored to the role in question. No exceptions.

Start by answering the following three questions: Why do you want to work in this industry? What skills make you right for the role (hint: use the job description)? And where do you want to go in your career?

However, school leavers should always focus on the latter – and what you can bring to the business, as well as focusing on the knowledge and skills gained through education, rather than employment history. Soft skills are also a great place to start.

Example:

A highly motivated and hardworking individual, who has recently completed their A-Levels, achieving excellent grades in both Maths and Science. Seeking an apprenticeship in the engineering industry to build upon a keen scientific interest and start a career as a maintenance engineer. Eventual career goal is to become a fully-qualified and experienced maintenance or electrical engineer, with the longer-term aspiration of moving into project management.

School leaver CV template

 

Graduate personal statement example

Similar to a school leaver personal statement, but with extra attention paid to specific things you’ve studied during higher education.

Once again, try and explain why you’re applying and where you’d like to go in your career, as well as the specific skills or knowledge you can offer. But try and drop in a few more details on your degree (projected grades are fine), as well as particular modules that have inspired you to work in this profession – if possible.

And remember: a personal statement written for a CV differs greatly from one written for a university application. If you haven’t written one before, you should start by reading our tips on how to write a personal statement.

Example:

A recent business economics graduate with a 2:1 honours degree from the University of X, looking to secure a Graduate Commercial Analyst position to use and further develop my analytical skills and knowledge in a practical and fast-paced environment. My career goal is to assume a role which allows me to take responsibility for the analysis and interpretation of commercial data for a well-respected and market-leading leading company.

Graduate CV template

Unemployed/redundancy personal statement example

Dealing with redundancy is never easy. But when dealt with in the right way, it needn’t be a hindrance when making applications.

Put the main focus on your employment history, and provide further information for your break in your cover letter. You don’t even necessarily need to mention it again, if you’ve already explained it elsewhere.

Remember, your personal statement is intended to sell yourself. So emphasise your positives rather than apologising for a negative.

Example:

Driven Retail Manager with over ten years’ experience in the fashion industry. Proven track record of success, including managing the top performing store in the region, and having the lowest staff turnover rate of all UK outlets. Currently out of work due to company closure, looking for the right opportunity to bring my expertise to a well-established fashion brand in an upper management position.

How to: Deal with redundancy

Redundancy CV template

Career break personal statement example

There are many good reasons someone may need to take a career break.

Some possible examples could include parental leave, caring for a family member, plans to travel or long-term illness. However, whatever the reason for your own break, it’s never something you should feel the need to justify to a prospective employer.

In fact, knowing how to explain a gap in your CV is mostly about confidence. So leave any extra explanation for your cover letter and focus your personal statement on your career before the break – and any skills learned during your time off which may be applicable to the role.

Example:

A highly motivated and experienced PA, currently looking to resume my professional career after dedicating the last five years to raising a family. Excellent admin skills, thorough knowledge of all Microsoft Office programs, as well as proficiency in minute-taking and extensive experience liaising with clients. After volunteering for one day a week with a local charity to refresh my skills, now fully committed to continuing my career on a full-time basis.

Career break CV template

Career change personal statement example

If you’re changing industry completely, think about any transferable skills and applicable to the sector you’re moving into.

Any numbers you can give to demonstrate your success could be crucial – even if you’re moving into an area where your expertise may seem slightly different. So always aim to back up your claims with real examples.

Focus on one or two achievements, demonstrate the impact they had, and you’ll instantly start adding value to your application.

 

Example:

As an experienced sales manager, my tenacious and proactive approach resulted in numerous important contract wins. My excellent networking skills have provided my team with vital client leads, and my ability to develop client relationships has resulted in an 18% increase in business renewals for my current organisation. After eight years in sales, currently seeking a new challenge which will utilise my meticulous attention to detail, and friendly, professional manner.

Changing careers: What you need to know 

Career change CV template

Final thoughts

If you’re still not sure of what to write, don’t panic.

Crafting a winning personal statement will take time, especially if you haven’t written one before. Use these examples as a loose structure to follow, and you’ll be able to add to them as your experience grows.

And remember: you should always aim to edit your personal statement for each role you apply for. That way, you can ensure you’re really selling yourself to their role, rather than simply sending the same generic statement for each application.

It should only take a few more minutes to complete. But if it’s enough to attract an employers interest, it will be time well spent in the long run.

How to write a personal statement

Personal statement dos and don’ts

Read more CV help & tips

 

Still searching for your perfect position? View all available jobs now.

Many job application forms include a large space for candidates to write something about themselves that will convince the employers to take them on. This can be quite daunting: what should you include in your personal statement and, more importantly, what should you NOT include?

What is a personal statement?

In this article, a personal statement refers to a particular type of information needed on an application form. This is required on the application form for teacher training positions and on the UCAS undergraduate and postgraduate application forms. Some CV advisers also recommend including a very small ‘personal statement’ in the heading of a CV. This is rarely found on academic CVs though.

What not to include

It is very important that you tailor each personal statement for the specific job you are applying for. Do not simply copy and paste an old personal statement into your new application.

Also, do not be lazy and simply write ‘see my attached CV/cover letter’. While you may find yourself repeating much of the information contained within those documents, it is important to make an effort to craft something new here.

Although it is often called a ‘personal statement’ this section of an application form does not require you to give ‘personal’ information about things such as your hobbies. While your interests might make you sound like a rounded individual (whether you enjoy the theatre, scuba diving or whatever), employers in a competitive job market do not actually care about such things. They want to know why you are the best person for the job. So unless the form specifically requests you to do so, don’t reveal details of your life outside the world of work

Personal statements written by those hoping to get on an undergraduate or postgraduate course are slightly different, so do not be mislead by the large numbers of websites advertising help with writing personal statements. These are aimed at high school and college students and are less relevant to you as a jobseeker.

How to structure it

It is important not to make a personal statement into a dense, unreadable block of text. You need to write good prose in full sentences and break it up into small paragraphs. Use headings to help guide the reader’s eye to the most important information.

Try to write in a style that makes your statement fresh and slightly different to the formal prose of most of your application materials. You are trying to sell yourself as an attractive personality as well as a professional employee.

Include such things as:

- Events from your education/career to date that make you especially suited to the job (including volunteer work/work experience): it is important to be able to write about these events enthusiastically

- What it is about the job that especially attracts you to it

- The skills/knowledge base you have that is relevant to the job

- What is the unique contribution you can make to the university/company? Check online for their mission statement and refer to that when describing how you can contribute

- Refer directly to the job description using the same language and then relate that to your own experiences

- What are your career aims? You might have to be creative here! Tailor your answer to the job you’re applying for and make it seem as though you are desperate to pursue a career in that area! However, try to make your statement as honest as possible; you want to come across as a real person and not simply parroting what you think the employers want to hear. It is a difficult balance to achieve

And don’t forget!

As with all parts of your application, make sure as many people as possible proofread your personal statement. Nothing says ‘unprofessional’ like a personal statement full of typos or grammar mistakes. Also, while you may think you have expressed yourself very clearly, other readers may be able to highlight sentences or words that are incorrect, irrelevant or could be more clearly expressed. A good personal statement passes through many drafts, so make sure you give enough time to the writing and re-drafting process.


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