5 Tips to Writing a Personal Statement
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
For many, we often sit down to write without a good idea of how to begin, or without a strong understanding of how we should write. Each type of document has different techniques that will bring to life what we are trying to communicate. This is very important to understand when writing a personal statement. If you have are having trouble to get ideas on how to begin writing, you may find the 6 tips to get started with writing your personal statement as a helpful guide.
The five tips below is to help you write a strong and well thought out document to show the interviewer that you know how to communicate well and show your passions for the career path that you have chosen.
Tip 1: This is a Personal Statement, not a Resume
One of the most common mistakes in writing a personal statement is taking what is on your resume and copying it. This makes your statement boring and dull. It is practically impossible to create a well written personal statement through work experience alone. No one wants to read about your work experience when they really want to know more about who you are as a person. Let your resume speak for itself, that is your qualifications for the job. You should not have to repeat this qualifications again in a personal statement.
A personal statement is different because it should give the reader a sense of your passion for the job that you are applying for. Where did your passion come from? Why should you pursue this career? How will you work to be successful and how has this been shown in your past?
Let your passion for the career come out in the personal statement. The interviewer wants to know if you will come into the job and be successful. You are investing into their company, but at the same time, they are taking a risk on you. If they do not think you care about the job or about your career in the field, they may pick someone else.
Tip 2: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion
It is very important to create clear and concise thoughts when writing a personal statement. This is a narrative that describes your life, but the idea is to focus on the key parts that will show your passion and interest in the career you are in and/or pursuing. This means that you should not include a history of your past and life changes unless it can relate back to your main argument. That is, why are you the best candidate for the job?
When it comes to writing a personal statement, you want your reader to see that the introduction matches the conclusion and that the body only fills in the details. Your argument in the introduction should give the reader a quick grasp of your passion and provide key points to why this is the case. The body will then explain these points in detail while the conclusion sums up the key points from the introduction and provides a strong concluding statement to why you are the best candidate for the job.
Tip 3: Remove the Adjectives
The adjectives should be limited when it comes to writing a personal statement. They add too much fluff and takes the reader away from what you are trying to say. Adjectives are to be used with rare exceptions. Removing them from your personal statement will add strength and boldness to what you write. See the example below:
My life drastically changed when I saw the surgeon carefully and precisely make the incision.
My life changed when I saw the surgeon make the incision.
We may sometimes forget that when it comes to professional English, adjectives do not add to our writing as much as we think it does. Usually, adjectives are left for poetry and novels and not to describe your personal qualities in a personal statement. By keeping adjectives limited, you keep your writing focused and to the point.
Tip 4: Shorter is Better
My number one recommendation to any client is to keep the length of your personal statement to one page. Anything over means that you do not have a good grasp of what you are trying to communicate to the reader. You will easily lose the reader in a long and drawn out statement, and in doing so, fail to bring your point across altogether.
The best personal statements can relay the passion and key points within a one page document. If this cannot be done, then you are too afraid to cut out information that you deem as essential. Nothing is essential when it comes to writing a narrative essay. It isn't what you have in your statement, it is how you are able to bring out your desire and passions for the field of work and job that you are applying for.
If you are wanting to practice how to do this, you should give yourself limits on the word count and try to write a short biography about yourself. A good practice is to do this with 100-300 words. Keep practicing until you get it. Limiting your word count for simple statements helps you learn what is and what is not important when it comes to any lengthier pieces.
Tip 5: Grammar, Sentence Structure, and Word Choice
It is common for a foreign applicants to the U.S. to have a harder time on communicating through the written word compared with a native English speaker. This may cause a break down in how you, as a writer, explain your passions and desires to the reader. Many companies or job hunters could throw away an application if the English is poorly written. You may be the most qualified, but without strong English skills, you will have a hard time landing interviews for potential employers.
A simple word check may not be enough as this can miss redundant words or words that are overused. It may also exclude poor sentence structures, missing words, and badly written paragraphs. This could easily turn off a reader from choosing you as a candidate.
This is where PEFFA USA steps in. We can help create a professional statement written in English for your job application to the U.S. It is vital that you can be a step ahead of your competition and to be a front runner for an interview opportunity. Stand out among your peers and show that your application is the best that it can be.