This article serves as a guide on how to write a personal statement for a Job in 2020.
At the end of your college years, it is expected that you should take up a career based on your course or study or interests. That means that you apply and take jobs that allow you apply your theoretical knowledge to practical use. Apart from this, there are other wonderful benefits of taking a job. Your job gives you a sense of fulfillment, apart from your name, your job gives you an identity. There is a wonderful feeling of being independent and your job can make you feel that way, your skill and credibility is also improved and of course you become financially independent. As a college graduate, the jobs don’t just come to your doorstep knocking, you must take deliberate steps into the labour market, potential staff can only do this through job application.
Employers would require and expect that the employees manifest certain skills before they are recruited. Now, since it is impossible to engage the potential staff immediately, the staff would have to submit certain documents to prove their worth. Some jobs require applicants to submit a curriculum vitae which outlines succinctly your educational qualifications, previous job experiences, and skills while others might go as far as asking for a personal statement. Some recruiters and employers love personal statements as they can easily see if you are a good match in skills, experience, and attitude to their job. Your Personal statement for a job is very different for the ones you write for schools. It is an opportunity to summarise your unique selling points and allow employers to know if you are articulate enough to convince them that you are fit for the task.
In a very competitive market, where technology is disrupting existing sectors and establishing new ones, prospective employees must prove that they are worth the time and money of their employers amid the numerous applicants who possess almost the same skill sets as you. Your personal statement is a great chance to express yourself in a defining and unique way highlighting major successes in your life and even your setbacks and how you were able to come through.
Let’s walk you through the major requisite for a sound personal statement.
1. Write a draft first
If this is the first time you would be writing a personal statement, you cannot get it the first time you wrote it. Give yourself time. Even if you are given just 1,000 word counts, your first draft can contain more than that and that is not a problem. Write down all your ideas, your skills, academic qualifications, achievements and all others you can just think of. While you edit, you would have reason to remove some, compress others and add too. That is why it is important you give yourself enough time. A well written personal statement cannot be achieved in a couple or days, some take weeks or even months. You might have to live the write-up sometimes and comeback days later with a fresh mind. Your fresh mind would have better vocabulary expressions and perfect words to draw your reader’s attention.
2. Your Introduction
Your first sentence should be attention-grabbing because it would determine if the readers would go ahead till the end or not. Remember your employer has hundreds of documents to review. Your overall statement should not be more than 200 words. Your introduction should include your job title, number of years’ experience, particular expertise you have, use active positive words or verbs. Avoid the cliché of “I am a graduate of English and I am interested in your company”. This is rather common, do something simple, catchy, and different. Start with a hook that would grab the attention of the readers almost immediately. Don’t forget to stay focused on the topic too, whatever you are using in the first sentence, it must be related to the next paragraph. Here is an example- Seasoned Environmental Microbiologist (Put your certification here) with over 7 years’ experience researching the National Institute of Research.
3. Provide your specific skills
Further, after stating your specific skills, you must provide clear evidence of how you have utilized such skills and competencies. For instance, if you state that you are a Client Service Manager, you should provide experiences of how you provided optimum service to your former company’s client which led to the recommendation of the company. Make sure your skills are written in such a way that it matches the requirements set out in the job description/advert. Do well to avoid irrelevances too, still, the example given above, do not provide skills that do not relate to the job even if you possess them. If you do not need a public speaking skill to succeed in this new job, leave it for another time. Your sentences should have progression, so you don’t distort the meaning you are trying to convey.
4. Avoid unnecessary points
Still, on being specific, remember that no one has the luxury of time to read unnecessary things about you. Don’t try to fit all your life experiences here. No one is interested in your life travails except you and maybe your close friends and family. Give your point, explain when need be. When you’re explaining, you have very valid and real points. In order to impress, many have provided information that was obvious and detected by the readers. Employees find it very offensive when they find out that their writer is “lying”. If you have just three years of experience, you do not have to be overboard. Another instance, as a public health worker, it is not enough to say you are interested in re-sharpening the public health system in your country and a little of the problem you have observed. You must explain how your position in their organization would be relevant to your overall goals. When you do this, you stand out from other applicants! It simply tells your selection committee that you have plans to grow and the company can help you grow too. Too many stories are very boring and exhausting.
6. Be as sincere as possible
While trying to give a good notion of yourself and providing every noteworthy skill you possess, remember to be as sincere as possible. Employers can tell when you’re exaggerating what an experience meant to you because they read thousands of personal statements often. Briefly mention any noteworthy and appealing features that attracted you to the job advert, but do not overemphasize on it. Briefly mention any noteworthy and appealing features that attracted you to the organization, but do not go overboard. Do not be tempted to write skills you do not possess, you might be required to defend it. For example, if you are applying for a job that says a computer programmer is an “added advantage” if you do not have that competence do not bother. Many make that silly mistake, thinking that without adding that they might never be considered. But is it not better to be denied the job than caught lying? Think about it?
7. Let out your Passion
If you are media personnel interested in a media job, your statement should provide your passions, that is why you are interested in the job and prove your capacity to succeed. You can also state your career objective, both short term and long term. This would guide the employers in their decision. Every employer is interested in applicants who would add value to their company and individuals whose career or professional objectives tallies with the company. Further, every employer wants a worthy ambassador, who would be proud to represent them in whatever capacity. Anything aside this would be a total waste of time. Remember to be personal and conversational, let it be like your readers can hear you speak to them while they ready your work.
8. Passive and Active Voice
Your introduction, body and conclusion should be written in an active voice. Active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb while the passive voice makes the subject the recipient of the verb. Look at this example and observe the difference.
Passive Voice- The required skill is possessed by me to perform
Active Voice- I possess the required skill to perform
9. Concentrate on your strengths.
Don forget that you are trying to sell yourself and prove that you are a better product than others, so concentrate on your strength. It is advisable to avoid stating your weakness unless you can prove that you have been able to overcome it by providing concrete evidence. For instance, if you are a very shy person, but have been able to overcome it. You can provide examples of experiences of how you decided to take part in extracurricular activities like joining a debate club to improve your public speaking skills. But if you think you do not have a convincing story, maybe you should not add it. Write as if you are trying to sell a product to a bug client who can buy your product for a huge amount. Provide brief details of your experiences, your knowledge and your future plans. As stated earlier, employers want to employ an individual that would add value to their organization and would also be proud of.
In your first two drafts, errors are inevitable. Read over again as often as you can to check for the correct use of transition words, sentence structure, commas, first-person and active voice, elimination of weak words like “in order to, I believe” for more professional alternatives. That is why it should be given adequate time. Take careful note at your introduction, they serve as leads for your readers. You do not start your writing two days before submission. That is rather wrong. Since you know that you know from the onset that you would need to go for internship, surf the internet for samples, read as many as you can, compare it with yours, however, avoid plagiarism at all cost. Two to three month before the submission is not a bad idea, though, spending an hour to proof ready daily or bi-daily would do you a lot of good. Your selection committee can tell between an article written in a hurry and a well thought out work and you know, every organization would not trade a detailed and thoughtful person for anything.
11. Get another Eye to see your work
Get another set of eyes such as a consultant, professional or other outside sources to aid you to critique the essay. You might conclude that you have done an amazing job, but you might be surprised that another ready was able to point out errors you might never have seen even after reading a hundred times. Two heads they say is better than one.
12. Know the Organization
Do your homework by doing thorough research on the particular organization you are applying to. Every organization has its values, objectives, competitive advantage and they are ready to share some of it with anyone that cares to listen. If you are able to prove that you know about the organization you are applying to, you stand a greater chance. You can achieve this through thorough research from the company’s website and social media handles, doing a tour (some companies allow it) and consultations from staff and former interns of the company. This is a signal to the employee that you are ready to take the job.
In conclusion, writing a personal statement can be very challenging especially as a novice, but when you follow these aforementioned tips, that is give yourself time to write a draft, concentrate on your strength, write about your passion, use an active voice, be as sincere as possible, talk about your skills, be very conversational and engaging, know about the organization’s values and objectives, proof read as many times as possible as well as get an expert to go through your work, you would be glad at the outcome of writing about yourself in less than 200 words.