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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

As a professional, you should know how to write a personal statement that is powerful and impactful. It should be honest enough to reflect all that you’ve gained from your experiences and how you plan to move forward in the future.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a section on a resume, cover letter, or university application. It summarizes your skills, talents, achievements, and career goals

On a resume, personal statements are usually brief and concise, consisting of just one paragraph. On university applications, such as if you are applying for graduate school, it is typically longer and more detailed, consisting of more than two sections.

When writing a personal statement for a job application, try to review the job application requirements specified by the employer as they may have varying preferences. 

How to write a personal statement in 4 steps

To ensure that you know how to write a personal statement that leaves a positive mark on your prospective employer or university, you can enroll in online courses like How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter or Cover Letter Mastery. Although these courses mainly target job hunters, it gives you professional pointers that improve your writing skills to provide you with an edge in writing persuasive statements to effectively sell yourself.

Below are four significant steps involved in writing personal statements:

how to write a personal statement for grad school applications

Begin with a personal introduction

Your introduction should reflect your personality. Show the readers who you are and, as corny as it may seem, be true to yourself. Your introduction should include why you are interested in the program or the position and any experience you may have on the job or degree you are applying for.

With a job application, write a single sentence that relays the most prominent personality traits that motivated you to seek the position. A grad school personal statement introduction, on the other hand, needs to be a full paragraph long and should detail your personal passions that align well with the degree program.

Include skills, experiences, and interests in the body

In the body of your personal statement, you have the opportunity to expound on your talents, background, and the things that you feel enthusiastic about. This portion of your personal statement can be as short as two sentences in a job application and as long as two paragraphs in a university application.

Below are the things you can include in the body of your personal statement:

Skills and talents

Describe the skills and knowledge that are pertinent to the job or the degree. For a job application, look at the listing and see what skills they are looking for. For a university application, mention the things you have learned in your previous studies and how you plan to expand them with the degree you are applying for.

Goals and objectives

Every employer or degree program appreciates it if you have a futuristic view of what your plans are after you are accepted. Having a goal signals that you are more likely to do your best and stick to the program or job because you see a future in it.

Relevant experiences

Specifying the number of years you‘ve been in the industry, the awards you’ve gained, certifications that qualify you under specific skills, and the relevant achievements you have are all useful additions to your personal statement.

How you can contribute

Finally, you can further strengthen your personal statement by including details about what you can bring to the table. Employers want to know how you can contribute to the organization’s success. Similarly, universities want to see how you can be a valuable asset if given a placement in their program.

You don’t have to include all four elements in your personal statement body, especially if it is for a job application, which will likely limit you to just one or two statements. However, you can be as lengthy and as inclusive as you deem effective in a university application, citing one or multiple examples for each element.

Finish with a firm conclusion

Your conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader. That is why you need to make sure that you finish with a strong statement. It should make the reader feel compelled to accept you or at least look further into your other credentials.

One example of a strong conclusion is to save your future goals for last. Giving them your long-term vision gives them a positive impression of you and allows them to envision you fulfilling those goals with or through them.

Another option is to provide a roundup of your entire professional statement by highlighting the main points. This method gives you an opportunity to emphasize what you want them to remember about you –your experience, your qualifications, and your future contributions.

You can also craft a conclusion by circling back to your introduction. Since your introduction states your interest in the placement or position, it highlights your enthusiasm for the job or the degree and makes the reader look forward to seeing more of you.

Proofread your finished piece

As with any written piece, you need to proofread your personal statement after you finish writing it. You may find areas that need improvements, such as spelling errors, grammar, passivity, and clarity. You can enlist proofreading applications like Grammarly to help speed up this process and have a more concise assessment of your written piece since there are mistakes that you may not see for yourself.

On the other hand, you may also employ the aid of a professional proofreader. You can hire freelance proofreaders online through platforms like Upwork. If you don’t feel comfortable spending on proofreading service, you can simply ask help from a friend or family member to read your work.

Asking other people to read and critique your personal statement gives you a fresh perspective and an idea as to how your reader feels after going through it. Remember that you want to leave a lasting positive impression that will prompt them to put you at the top of their candidate list. 

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