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Personal statements

Personal statements

Personal statements

The personal statement part of an application can seem overwhelming. It is usually a large, free text box where you explain to the employer or course provider why you are the ideal candidate. 

It is important to examine exactly what they are looking for and think of examples that evidence your skills, qualities and motivation.

Job personal statement

  • Do your research and read the person specification thoroughly.
  • Make sure that you give clear, succinct examples which prove to the employer that you meet all their essential requirements.
  • Responding to the person specification in order will help the employer tick off how you meet their essential requirements.
  • Don’t ignore desirable criteria that you do not have. Explain the transferable skills that you have which you think will help you meet this requirement and/or explain what you could do to gain this skill, knowledge, quality or experience.
  • Where a person specification doesn’t exist, go through the job description and highlight skill words or consider which skills you think will be needed to carry out the job role.
  • Use STAR examples to explain how you meet each requirement.
  • Read the job description and use examples that fit with the duties. The more relevant your examples are to the job role, the easier it is for the employer to picture you doing the job.

Further study personal statement

These are different from personal statements for jobs as motivation and desire are as important as skills, qualities and experience. Studential have produced a comprehensive guide to help you, but there are two main considerations when writing a personal statement for further study, the content and the structure:

The content should include:

  • Why the subject interests you. This should include information on particular areas of the course that appeal to you and why. Try to link the reasons to your current course, any relevant work or extra-curricular activities and your reading around the subject in addition to your studies.
  • What makes you a good candidate? You should include key skills that will help you learn independently such as research, communication and time-management. You should also list any relevant technical skills and your current degree grade. When applying for a PhD it is important to mention any relevant research, especially leading to published work.
  • You can also explain what you hope to gain from the course. This could include the chance to work on particular research programmes, with certain staff or the use of particular equipment. It should also include information of where you expect the course to lead, in terms of your career plans.

The structure is also important, as you will be producing a substantial amount of high quality, written work for the course. Admissions tutors will expect to see that you have allocated sufficient space to each point you are trying to convey and that your sections flow into each other. Be succinct and, where there isn’t a word count, try to stick to around one side of A4.

You should also make sure you write your statement starting with the most important aspects first. Try to write in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and end on a positive note.

You can use these examples to give you some ideas and you might also find it helpful to look at this candidate's analysis of their own personal statement.