A personal statement sometimes accompanies a curriculum vitae. The statement is specific to an employer and may in fact be prompted by a query on an application. Still not widely used in the corporate world, the personal statement is, however, often required for post-graduate work, grants and fellowships, and with other research and academic-related positions. It should never be attached to the CV; rather, it should be included with the cover letter, and it should be no more than 500 words.
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Research the position before you submit either a CV or a personal statement. Include information specific to the university or employer that demonstrates your level of interest and your understanding of the position’s expectations.
Don’t bury your lead. Grab your reader’s attention at the outset with whatever about you is different from all the other candidates. Include any academic, work or personal skills you may have that will contribute to the work environment. Be honest, but sell yourself.
Focus on the position first, yourself second. Clearly a personal statement needs to be about you, but more important, it needs to demonstrate to your potential employer why you are particularly well-suited for the position.
Tell why you want the position and why you have chosen the field with appropriate and genuine enthusiasm. Include any relative work experiences that match the position, but do not repeat what they’ve already read on your CV or cover letter.
Talk about your long-term goals in your field, but avoid lofty and unrealistic ideals.
Do not discuss your minority status unless it has some unique relevance to the position or the employer.
Be brief and articulate. Use vocabulary commensurate with the position, but avoid technical jargon. Answer the relevant questions clearly and without repetition.
Be positive. While you may want to include your deficiencies in the name of honesty, your personal statement is not the proper forum. Avoid finding fault with your previous positions or life circumstances.
Use proper structure, grammar and spelling. Edit it, read it and reread it aloud for accuracy, content and flow.
Avoid doing anything unusual with fonts, set-up and paper.
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