The personal statement section is one of the more critical parts of your resume and as such merits close attention.

It needs to convey relevant information (who you are, specific skills and applicable experience, career objectives) concisely and in a professional manner. It is also your first opportunity to make a strong positive impression on the hiring manager. As such, this is one of those sections that should be particularly targeted to the job ad you’re responding to.

A targeted personal statement references the specific and relevant skills, qualifications or experience that were detailed in the job description. It is not good enough to use a generalized personal statement as you run the risk of offering an average job application. Each statement should be tweaked to reflect the skills and attributes your prospective employer is looking for.

Your personal statement tells your story

Writing a concise personal statement can be overwhelming. You have to ensure you come across professional and intelligent and prove you are the right person for the job.

Much depends on this initial introduction. You also have to work within certain parameters such as a limited word count. Yet there is a great reward for a well-written personal statement. Here’s how to do it:

Your opening should be strong and clear

Get straight to the facts: who you are and the years of experience you have relevant to the position. You have the choice of writing in either the first or third person, just be consistent throughout your summary.

Example:

I am a recent marketing graduate with 3 years’ experience assisting with clients’ social media campaigns for a marketing consultancy agency.

Emphasize the strength of your candidacy with proof

Following your introduction should be an overview of desired skills and key achievements that strengthen your application and showcase you as a suitable candidate.

Be careful of using clichéd language, overused buzzwords such as ‘dynamic’ or ‘extensive experience’ or presenting vague information. Ensure that you don’t just list the sought-after skills but provide evidence such as results achieved, or awards received.

Example:

In my role as a marketing assistant at Dynamic Media, my analytical skills were put to good use in using metric tools such as Google Analytics to manage the improvement of web traffic. I achieved a decrease in the expenditure of seven clients’ social media marketing campaigns by as much as 20%.

What are your future career goals?

By providing the HR manager with an idea of what goals you want to achieve career-wise you can demonstrate your motivation to succeed in the advertised role.

Example:

I am looking for a career-building opportunity that will allow me to further develop my marketing skills for a future in marketing management.

Top tips to craft the perfect attention-grabbing personal statement

Once you have drafted your personal statement according to the structure suggested above, review and edit numerous times as necessary until it reads faultlessly. Here are some top tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your personal statement between 150-200 words.
  • Avoid presenting information in one dense paragraph. Use reader-friendly techniques such as short paragraphs and subheads.
  • Include strong action words such as ‘initiated’ ‘established’ ‘led’ ‘devised’ to strengthen your writing. Other words to use if relevant are: ‘outperformed’, ‘increased’ ‘decreased’ ‘reduced’ ‘coordinated’ and ‘awarded’.
  • Remember common grammar rules when using proper and common nouns. Names of organizations and job titles are proper nouns and require a capital letter.

Paying attention to detail is critical in a successful job application. Start with a compelling personal statement that is tailored to each job ad you’re responding to. Proofread your personal statement to ensure there is consistency, it is error-free and conveys a high level of professionalism. You then present a convincing argument that you’re an engaging candidate who has a high level of interest in securing the position and serving the company’s interests.

Zulfah Abrahams writes for Inspiring Interns. To browse their graduate jobs London and graduate jobs Manchester, visit their website.

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