6 Tips to Begin Writing your Personal Statement
Updated: May 18
1. Find a Good Story in Your Life
One of the common reasons that may hinder you from getting started is that you haven’t taken the time to think how you should write a personal statement. What is your reason to apply for the job that you are looking to get? What should you include? What many people fail to do is to find a story to use for their personal statement.
Your story does not have to be a complete life changing experience, but it has to pull the reader in and allow you to explain the passions you have for your field of work. Where is your desire coming from? A childhood experience? A family member doing the same type of work? Or maybe it was learning a new skill that you never thought you were good at?
Once you have this story, it will provide you the inspiration needed to help tie in the other parts of your personal statement. Each and every part of your statement should pull from this story to explain where your passion comes from and why you enjoy the field of work that you are doing.
2. Put your Resume Aside
Your personal statement is not a copy and paste of your CV or resume. The worst you can do is to start your personal statement based on your job experience. If I wanted to know the work you have done, I want to see your CV or resume, not see it all in a written form on your personal statement. The whole point of a personal statement is to tie in your work experience to show you have the passion and the desire for the job that you want to apply for.
Trying to start your personal statement based on your work experience is not where you want to begin. Your passion for what you’re doing has no money value, it’s that deep desire within your soul for the job that you want. This is irreplaceable to you and will be for your potential employer.
3. Talk about your Passion
One of the best things you can do to get over the writing “hump” is to vocalize your thoughts. Record yourself or just repeat your passions for the work you do with friends or family members. Listen to their feedback and their thoughts. Do they agree with you? Can they see your strong desire to do what you want to do? Could you explain it well enough?
Just learning how to explain your desires to others will help you take these thoughts and put them on paper. Writing is a skill that takes time to develop and most of us fail to realize that we can practice by just putting our spoken words on paper. A good practice for experienced writers is to speak what you have written out loud. Vocalizing writing and writing what you vocalize means that these two go hand in hand for any writer.
A big part of developing creative talents and using our own imagination comes from reading what others have written. If you look at history, almost everything has been borrowed at some point in the past. Writers pull experiences from not only their own past, but from what they have read of others or what they have seen and heard around them. This is separate from copying what others have done, which is plagiarism.
Instead, what this means is, what you read will help spark your own imagination and ideas. Below are some things that reading can help with.
Reading brings you an understanding of the structure and layout that is used by those writers before you. The writing styles and explanations will help you begin to structure your own statement in a similar way.
You may find it difficult to think of a past experience to use for your own personal statement. Just by reading any novel, short story, or fictional book, it can help bring these personal experiences to the surface. You may have a moment of inspiration by just reading.
Reading published authors in the language you plan to write your personal statement in, will help you develop a stronger vocabulary and writing technique. We become expert writers through gleaning off of others. This, in turn, helps us to think of more creative ways to reword or rewrite an area of our personal statement that we may have been stuck at before.
5. Find a Quiet Place
Most writers know where they need to go to begin writing. This can be any place that helps spark that creativity which is required to begin writing. Of course, it’s all subjective in the end. Each writer can tell you their own place that they go to write. Either way, I believe that getting away from others and the distractions that they may cause will help you focus your own thoughts to begin writing.
You may find a coffee shop to be the best place to go while another may find a quiet and dark room. Or others may prefer to listen to instrumental music to create the mindset needed to write. The most important part is that you need to find where you feel comfortable to beign writing. A writer needs to focus as much as a musician needs an instrument.
6. Just Write
The last bit of advice I have for you is just begin writing. No one writes a masterwork in one try. In the past you may find a writer with multiple written drafts and several pieces of papers in the trash with scribbles and notes and changes. Now we have a laptop to make these edits with. Though, how can you get to the point of making edits if you do not get started?
When you’re done with reading these tips, the best you can do is begin to practice. Try to write what’s on your mind, let it flow without any specific structure. Let your thoughts guide you, let them lead you as you begin writing on a paper or word document. Then you can take these ideas and begin to formulate something better. You may find these 5 tips to be helpful in structuring your statement in further. Remember, in the end, you will have a magnificent piece of art and it was only because you took the time to begin.
Do you need a worksheet to help you in the process? You can find it here.