Make Your Mark: Shine Through Your Personal Statement
Learn to highlight your academic achievements and extracurricular experiences for university applications and beyond.
Applying to jobs, scholarships, and academic programs as a university student can be a daunting task — from highlighting relevant experiences to integrating your own story — writing a personal statement can feel complex. Whether you're applying for a research position, a scholarship or bursary, or a job, it's an important task to master.
If you're looking for a starting point that will help you create an outstanding statement that sets you apart from other applicants, here are some quick tips to get you started:
1. Explain why you chose to apply
Start with what makes you enthusiastic about the job, scholarship, or position. Reflect on your journey by brainstorming about the various influences that led you to this moment. Once you've generated a list of experiences, narrow down your options according to what is most relevant for the role that you're applying for. Tell the employer or school how the position fits with your future aspirations, and what inspired you to submit an application.
2. Keep it simple
Exclude lengthy sentences that are difficult to read. It's best to get straight to the point when describing your experiences, achievements, and skills. Since recruiters review many applications, they will quickly glance at your statement to determine your eligibility. Only include the most important information (relevant previous experiences, not every experience) — and be brief.
3. Avoid cliché statements
Sentences or openings such as, "when I was a child..." or "I am passionate about...", should be avoided. Leave out unnecessary details that distract from your professional and academic experiences that fulfill application requirements. Furthermore, do not include quotations! When you have a limited word count to follow, it's crucial to limit your writing to your own ideas. The more your personal statement reflects your unique skills, experiences, and ambitions, the more you'll stand out.
4. Use positive language
When describing your experiences and interest in the position or program, use positive statements. For example, saying "I'm efficient with my time" is much more effective than stating, "I don't waste time." This is a great way to mention your technical abilities or personality traits by relating it back to hobbies, previous jobs, or extracurricular experiences. By using positive language, you demonstrate your enthusiasm and passion for the position whilst highlighting your interests and skills.
5. Edit, edit, edit!
It's extremely important to proofread your personal statement for grammatical errors. In fact, many recruiters will interpret spelling mistakes as a lack of seriousness or passion for their program or position. Be sure to ask for help and have someone else read your statement (a colleague, friend, etc.). Additionally, read your statement out loud to check for simplicity, phrasing, and tone of voice. Be proud of what you write!
Overall, the most important aspect of a personal statement is that your personality shines through your writing! Using these strategies to highlight your unique experiences and goals will result in an outstanding personal statement that impresses employers and recruiters alike.
Get more advice from Brock U's Learning Services