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Personal statement example - retail

Personal statement example - Alex

Alex is applying for the job of Retail Assistant at a large DIY store.

The job description is asking for:

  • Teamwork skills
  • Reliability
  • Strong communication and people skills
  • The ability to learn
  • Someone who is passionate about giving outstanding customer service
  • An interest in DIY
  • Being flexible

A biography on Alex:

  • Recently left school
  • Has not had a paid job before
  • Hobbies include playing sport and keeping fit

Below are example answers for the Personal Statement section of Alex's online application form.

These examples match Alex's skills and experience with the job description

Explain your experience

Be specific. Look at the job description and use examples that are relevant.

  • 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 to do from your work, work experience or volunteering?

Customer Service and Communication experience

I really enjoy working with people. I play rugby for a local team and we needed to raise money to buy new kits and for the rugby club.  The club decided to organise and hold a fayre. My team decided to set up a stall to sell sweets and cakes. My job was to work on the stall during the fayre. I greeted the people coming to the stall, and answered questions about the prices and the products. It was great to be able to talk with the customers. I asked people who were passing by if they wanted to buy some cakes. I decided to cut up one cake and offered tastings to people at the fayre. More people then bought the cakes and we raised more money. I was proud to help raise money for my club. This experience made me realise that working with people is a job I would like to do.

Money handling experience

In the fayre I also handled the money and gave the correct change to customers. I was careful to keep the money safe, and counted it up at the end of the fayre. I wrote down the amount of money the stall had made and gave it all to the coach. I wanted to make sure that I had counted the money we raised correctly, so I counted it twice to make sure.

DIY experience

During the summer holidays my grandfather asked me to help him with DIY around his house. He used to be a carpenter, and so I learned a lot of DIY skills from him. I learned to hang a door, to put up shelves, and also how to hang wallpaper. I used electric drills and a sander. I enjoyed learning new skills and my grandfather was pleased at how quickly I picked up the skills he taught me. I would like to learn more DIY skills, and also to help other people who don’t know much about DIY to buy the right products.

Communication Skills
  • When have you spoken to other people to explain something to them, and they have clearly understood?
  • When have you stayed polite even in a difficult situation?
  • When have you listened well and had a caring attitude?

Explaining information clearly

Because I go to the gym every day to train, I know a lot about all the equipment there. Quite often new people come in to the gym and don’t know how to use the equipment. I explain to them how to use the different machines and have helped them to be able to get started. Because of this I have gotten to know people in the gym, and they still ask me questions because they say that I explain it clearly.

Keeping calm and staying polite

On a rugby tournament I was in, I had scored a try but it wasn’t allowed by the referee. Everyone in my team was angry about it and some of them wanted to talk to the referee after the match. I kept calm and said we should all stay calm. I said it was ok and that we should concentrate on the next match. Everyone calmed down and we started to motivate ourselves for the next match instead. We won the next match and came 3rd in the tournament overall. If the team had argued with the ref we could have been banned, lost our focus and lost the next match.

Listening and caring

Through school we went on a day trip which involved rock climbing. My friend is scared of heights and froze on the climb. I listened to them and encouraged them to keep going and that they could do it. I said I would stay with them all the way up the climb and I helped them right to the top.

  • Have you been in a sports team, or in a group where you have 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?

Being part of a team - listening and contributing

I attend a youth club, and the leaders asked us if we would get involved in a project to make flower beds and plant borders around our local area. I like working in a team and work in a team in sports as well. In a team of 5 we talked about what we would need to buy to make the flower beds and borders.

Working for the team

I volunteered to go and price up plants and flowers after school, so we would know how much it would cost. At the garden centre I got help from the store assistant to find the right plants. I brought back a list of the plants and costs to the team. We decided on what to buy with the money we had been given, and went back to buy them.

Achieving goals as a team

We spent a Saturday digging borders and planting the flowers. It was fun working together and seeing the result of our work. People even stopped to ask us what we were doing and thanked us for improving the local area.

  • What can you tell us about the times when you made sure you were on time, and attended regularly?
  • Have you got an example of when you stayed working at something until you got it right?

I am reliable and make sure I am always on time to rugby practice. I have never missed a match and turn up to all the practices. Sometimes I would stay after the rugby training to keep practising until I improved my skills. At school I achieved the COMPACT award for good attendance.

Being hard-working
  • What do you work hard at to achieve?
  • What goal have you set for yourself and achieved?

Fitness Levels - I work hard to keep my fitness levels up, and even keep training when the rugby season is over.

Running a half marathon for charity - Because someone I know has cancer, I decided to train for a half marathon and set myself a goal of raising £200 for a cancer charity. I set up a Just Giving page online and told as many people as possible that I was going to run for charity. I started running or training regularly. I ran the half marathon and raised nearly £300 for charity.

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?

I am keen to learn new skills and quick to learn. Since doing DIY with my grandfather, I asked him to teach me more carpentry skills. I have now made a bird box for the garden. My next project is to make a storage box. I like learning new skills because then I can do more things for myself and it will help me to progress.

  • When were you flexible in helping someone out even when it was inconvenient?

I am flexible to help out other people. For example, at school my teacher asked my friend and I if we would mind staying behind at lunchtime to put up some displays of work we did in class. We put the displays up, and also tidied the classroom before we left. We missed some of our lunch hour but it was good to see all of our work on the classroom wall.

Organisation and Planning
  • When did you plan and prepare for something that worked out well?
  • How did you organise things?

Planning and preparing for the half marathon and setting up the giving page online all had to be done by the time of the marathon. I planned out my nutrition for the days leading up to the run, and researched online what I needed to eat.

I organised my runs around school and rugby training times.

I also got the giving page set up quickly so more people could give online.

It was great when all my planning and organisation paid off, when I completed the half marathon and raised more money than my target.

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?

I wasn’t sure how to make a bird box, so I asked my grandfather for help and I also looked online and found a video tutorial. I bought all the wood and asked my grandfather if I could use his shed and tools. I measured and cut the wood and worked out how to put it together. It felt great to have the satisfaction of seeing something I have made myself.

What next?

  • Think about times in your life that show your skills and experience
  • Use the questions to write your own answers
  • Be honest and use examples from your own life. Do not use these answers or made up answers
  • Show employers your skills and experience and get that interview!
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