Prospective employers and universities may ask you for a personal statement that details your qualifications for a position or degree program. Writing a compelling personal statement is an excellent way to highlight your skills and goals to an employer or university. A well-written personal statement can give you a competitive advantage over other candidates and help you secure a new job or university placement. In this article, we discuss how to write an effective personal statement for your resume.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is an account of your achievements, talents, interests and goals. You usually need to include a personal statement for academic entrance applications, though teaching and similar roles may require one. Personal statements should speak more to professional accolades than personal ones. A personal statement on a resume is short and often a single paragraph. For academic applications, the length of personal statements can vary widely from 500 words to 2-3 single-spaced pages.
How to write a personal statement
A personal statement should include an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Feel free to start writing each section in whatever order works best for your style. For example, writing the body first and then returning to write the introduction can help you craft a more substantial opening because you already know what the rest of your statement discusses.
To write the best personal statement for any purpose, follow the steps below:
- Write a personal introduction
- Expand on relevant skills, interests, and experiences
- Write a strong conclusion
- Proofread and edit
1. Write a personal introduction
The introduction should reflect your personality but, most importantly, state why you are interested in the job or degree that you are applying for. If appropriate, you can also include your recent experience with the job type or course topics. Starting a personal statement with sentences that showcase your personality helps you to stand out from the other applicants.
For a job application, consider addressing what first interested you in the position's listing. Use a single, strong sentence to mention the most relevant aspects of your personality and interests in the role or company.
2. Expand on relevant skills, interests and experiences
The body of your statement lets you share more about your relevant skills, interests and experiences. Use this opportunity to reference professional accolades that are relevant to the position that you are applying for. You can adjust the body of your personal statement for each job to make it appeal more to each employer.
You could write about the following elements, where relevant, in the body of your personal statement:
- Achievements and experience: Write about your degrees, certifications, awards, years of industry experience and positions you have held that relate to the job's responsibilities or the university's educational offerings.
- Relevant skills and talents: Describe the expertise and skills you have learned during university or on your career path. Consider mentioning specific skills discussed in a job listing or values the school is looking for in students.
- Value to the organization: Discuss why you feel you would be an asset to the company or university. You can mention your experience or eagerness to learn specific skills, perform tasks or earn credentials in a field.
- Goals: Write about our professional or academic goals and how they relate to the company or school. Consider selecting a specific purpose the position or courses can help you achieve.
Two sentences should be sufficient for the body of your job's personal statement. You may choose two or three of the previously listed elements to discuss in those sentences to keep it comprehensive but brief. If you are still early in your career, focus more on this section concerning your academic achievements. If you are several years into your career, then it's best to keep the focus on just professional accolades.
3. Write a strong conclusion
Craft a conclusion that leaves a strong, lasting impression on the prospective employer or entrance committee. The concluding paragraph should be a clear restatement of why you applied for the job and what you hope to achieve with the experience. It should also persuade the reader to take action on you as a candidate, either reading through the rest of your resume or reviewing your other academic credentials.
In this final section of your statement, you can include:
- Extension of your professional goals: Some reports for job applications may consist of specific references to your goals and how the position can help you achieve those goals. Consider discussing relevant short- and long-term goals, such as what you hope to accomplish in the post and where you see yourself in five to 10 years.
- Extension of your past achievements: You can use this time to refer back to some of the significant accomplishments you've made in your professional career. This is an excellent place to touch on the skills or characteristics you possess and use to help you with your achievements.
- Summary of your personal statement: An overview of the main points in your statement can be an effective strategy for a one-sentence conclusion or one sentence of a broader conclusion. Be sure to connect your achievements, experiences and skills directly to your future contributions to the company.
- Link back to your introduction: Revisit your submission and what interested you in the position. Consider extending this idea by combining your desire with your qualifications. Ending a personal statement on your enthusiasm for the opportunity can influence a company or university to consider your candidacy seriously.
The conclusion of your personal statement for a job should be a single sentence, so consider selecting only one of the above strategies. Write this sentence out several times until you find the right one. The sentence should be to the point and make an impact. The goal is to make sure the hiring manager picks your resume out of the large pile in front of them.
4. Proofread and edit
Once you have written your personal statement, take the time to proofread and edit it. Read it aloud to hear how your writing sounds and find areas of improvement, such as:
- Spelling and grammar
- Passive voice
- Clear phrasing
- Simple, easy-to-understand language
Review your statement to see these areas yourself, and consider having a friend or colleague read it for you, too. This person can give you feedback on improving it in those areas. This is probably the most important thing you can do for your statement since spelling and grammar errors can be distracting.
Tips for writing a strong personal statement
The best personal statements have a personal yet professional tone and relevant, direct information. Understanding what strong personal statements have in common can help you create your own. Keep the following tips in mind when writing your statements:
- Write in your voice: Use your own words to describe your qualifications to make your report feel more personal and uniquely you.
- Keep it simple: Short sentences and simple language can ensure your personal statement is clear and compelling. When writing your statement, ensure that everyone can understand what you are trying to say. Read it aloud to make sure it can be read quickly and simply.
- Have a positive tone: Use language that demonstrates your enthusiasm for the opportunity and gratitude for the reader's consideration.
- Use active voice: Active voice means using strong verbs that engage a reader and directly identify your accomplishments, which can make your personal statement more useful.
- Be unique: Your statement should be unique to you, so discuss what makes you different from other candidates. Include specific details and brief examples of your experiences to help your statement stand out.
Powerful personal statement examples
For inspiration on how to write your own captivating personal statement, check out the examples below:
“I recently graduated from Humber College with a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, and I would love to apply the skills I refined at university and my passion for fashion to your design assistant role. In addition to my studies, I have spent the last five years designing and creating dresses to sell at the monthly Toronto Arts Market. Seeing the excitement on my regular customers' faces trying my new creations strengthened my commitment to a career in fashion. I am a quick learner who thrives on challenges, which I believe I would find at your design house.”
"I have been working in the digital landscape for over eight years in various capacities. Currently, I manage the social media team at Canada Inc., which includes the social channels for their subsidiary brands London Living, West Life and East Social. I have worked with leading brands in Canada and have also started my social channels, becoming a micro-influencer (@RW). I am passionate about helping businesses understand how to utilize the power of social media to grow their brand."