Knowing how to write a personal statement is a skill you can use throughout your career. It isn’t relevant to one industry or sector and it’s a skill that you’ll use often if you regularly look for new challenges or want to move up the career ladder.
By understanding how to write an attention-grabbing personal statement, you’ll both improve your overall application and stand out from the crowd.
A personal statement should cover your skills and experience – including work experience – in a concise and engaging manner.
Below, we explore how to write a personal statement, provide tips for creating a personal statement and offer an example you can use.
What is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is a summary of your professional development, detailing your qualifications, achievements and transferable skills. It’s common to write a personal statement during university applications or if you apply for a new job.
The ideal personal statement explains why you’re a good fit for a role while also giving an employer or course tutor an impression of you as a person.
While a personal statement is similar to a cover letter, it’s more commonly used as part of your CV and tailored to the job role or university course you’re applying for.
You might sometimes see a personal statement referred to as a personal summary.
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How to Write a Personal Statement
You want to make sure that you engage whoever is reading your personal statement as soon as possible. This means it’s critical that you create a well-written, attention-grabbing and grammatically correct document. If you want to start writing a great personal statement, here’s our top tips for you to follow:
Read the Job Description or University Course Guidelines
The best place to start when writing a personal statement is by reading through the job description or course guidelines. The employer or tutor has already laid out what they’d like from the ideal application within these guidelines, which you can then use to tailor your personal statement.
Job descriptions are particularly important to read, as they’ll typically lay out the exact skills you’ll need to exceed in the position, which you can directly talk about in your statement. Where possible, think about actual real-life instances you can describe that also demonstrate you using these skills.
Write an Engaging Introduction
When you start a personal statement, you should highlight who you are and where you are currently in your professional career or studies. During this section, you may also highlight your long-term career goals, which provides context for the reader. Depending on how relevant it is to the role you’re applying for, you may also provide examples about what you enjoy within your current role.
An example of this is: ‘As a motivated email marketing specialist, I specialise in creating and distributing engaging email campaigns – helping our business to improve its reach, lead generation and engagement. It’s my goal to learn more about marketing as a career and become a marketing manager in the next five years.’
Demonstrate Your Value
Once you’ve finished your introduction, it’s time to show the value that you can provide for a business or admissions tutor. This element of the personal statement should be highly relevant to the course or job role you’re applying for and it’s a good idea to re-read the guidelines before writing it. It’s also this part that demonstrates relevant skills and how they apply to the role you’re applying for.
When you’re going over your skills and achievements, use the real-life experiences we mentioned before as a way of giving the reader context and reinforcing your value. By taking this approach, you’re establishing yourself as the best choice and supporting that claim with actual evidence. If the position you’re applying for requires specialist knowledge – such as certain software or concepts – you can demonstrate that deeper knowledge here.
An example of this is: ‘In my previous role, I was responsible for managing the social media channels within the business. I used my understanding of paid advertising, influencer marketing and specific social monitoring tools to deliver a cohesive and effective campaign that led to a 30% uptick in sales. I was also directly involved in developing new social guidelines and distribution practices, which led to the social content calender that business still uses today.’
Highlight Career Objectives
The next section of your personal statement should show your reasoning for applying for this role and the long-term career objectives you have as a person. This should be a brief section as it’s generally more useful to spend more time demonstrating your skills and qualifications.
What this section can offer is the opportunity to show more of your personality in your writing. Here you can explain your development as a person and how that aligns with both your personal goals and the company’s overall mission.
An example of this is: ‘I am looking to become a social media manager that understands more about how to effectively connect and lift up the social media team around me, which aligns with your business values of inclusivity, hiring from within and creating a social media output focused on positivity and success.’
Tips on Writing a Personal Statement
Below you’ll find a roundup of top tips of what to include in a personal statement and how to approach writing one:
Use Real-Life, Relatable Examples
When you reference a certain skill or experience in a previous role, use a real-life example that includes a positive outcome.
This provides context for the reader while also showing that you understand what you did and the impact that had for the employer.
Aside from contextualising your experiences, it also stops you from using vague buzzwords and examples that don’t offer value.
Write a Concise Statement
The most important thing to consider when writing a personal statement is being concise. Your personal statement should be informative but short enough to engage readers during the screening stages of the application process.
When you’re applying for job roles, it should be around 4 – 5 sentences. If you’re applying to study your chosen subject, it can be much longer and go into more depth around your reasoning for applying and how you feel you’d be a good fit.
Use Consistent Formatting
While subject matter is much more important than formatting, it’s still important that your document is readable and looks professional. Your personal statement may be included within your CV or a separate document – regardless it should be consistent in tone and layout as the rest of your application materials. Always use the first person tone of voice as this guarantees a more personalised statement for readers.
Personal Statement Examples
Below is an example of a personal statement that you might use for a job application. This is a shorter version but provides an overall feeling of how you’d write a statement for a university application or something similar.
‘I am a motivated and highly experienced social media executive with a background in TikTok and Instagram marketing. I have a degree in Marketing and over five years of experience in managing social media channels for the in-house marketing team within a business.
I’m currently a senior member of a larger social media team and over the last 6 months I’ve been an integral part of increasing engagement across the entire business by 30%, as well as creating new social media guidelines and integrating social media monitoring tools.
I’m looking to reach the next step in my career by taking on a managerial role as your social media marketing manager. I want to improve my managerial skills whilst having the opportunity to build my own team and teach them what I’ve learnt. This aligns with your goals of expanding your social media team and creating a world-class, inclusive marketing function.’