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Personal statements for job applications

Get tips to complete a personal statement on your job application. Read an example of a personal statement to get ideas.

For applications, a personal statement section (sometimes called a supporting statement) is usually a blank box asking you to write about your skills, strengths, experience and explain why you are right for the job.

The personal statement can be one of the most important parts of your application.

Follow the instructions

The application form usually provides some instructions on completing the personal statement. Sometimes it will include hints and tips for completing the section. Read these carefully and make sure you follow them.

It is important to keep within the word limit if there is one.

Highlight your skills

Read the job description to find out what skills the employer is asking for.

Use examples from your life that prove you have the right skills. Examples could be from:

  • Employment
  • School
  • College
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Hobbies
  • Volunteering

Examples and definitions of common skills

Many employers ask for general skills (known also as common skills or soft skills). Make sure you focus on the skills that are needed for the job you are applying for.

Below are some common skills and ideas for examples to use in your personal statement.

Communication skills
  • When have you spoken to other people to explain something to them, and they have clearly understood?
  • When have you listened well and had a caring attitude?
  • When have you used writing skills to communicate information clearly?
  • Have you been in a group, or in a sports team where you had to work together?
  • How did you feel about working in a team?
  • What did you do in the team?
  • What contribution did you make to the team?
  • Can you describe a situation when you made sure you were on time, and attended regularly? (It could be school, college, volunteering, a club, or a job)
  • Have you got an example of when you stayed working at something until you got it right?
Hard work
  • What do you work hard at to achieve?
  • What goal have you set for yourself and achieved?
Ability to learn new skills
  • What new skill have you learned?
  • What do you enjoy about learning new skills?
  • When have you motivated yourself to learn something new?
  • How have you shown you’ve been willing to learn new skills?
  • Can you describe a time when you’ve adapted to changes successfully?
  • When were you flexible in helping someone out at short notice?
  • Have you had a positive attitude when adjusting to change?
Organisational skills
  • When did you plan and prepare for something that worked out well?
  • How did you organise things?
Problem solving
  • When have you come across a problem and been successful in working out a solution?
  • How did it feel to find a solution to a problem you faced?
Paying attention to detail (detail orientated)
  • Can you describe a time when you paid close attention to detail? What did you do and how did that help you do a good job?
  • When have you successfully managed more than one task at the same time?
  • What were the tasks, and how did you manage to get them done on time?

Skills and strengths employers want

Explore skills employers want for more skills.

Describe your relevant work experience

Be specific. Look at the job description and use examples that are relevant. You could include things like:

  • What do you do on a typical day in your work, work experience or volunteering?
  • What IT software, machinery or technical equipment have you used? How did you use them in your job?
  • What new skills have you learned from your work, work experience or volunteering?

Personal statement example

Personal statements for a CV

CVs usually contain a personal profile or personal statement.

For a CV a personal statement is the short summary of your main skills and strengths. It is usually the first section after your name, address and contact details.

Get tips on building a CV.

Specialist personal statements

UCAS application forms usually require a detailed personal statement as part of your application.

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