Writing a statement for a job application form

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Many employers are choosing to make candidates fill out application forms, rather than have them send in a CV and cover letter. The personal statement is the most important part of any application form as it lets employers find out more about your skills, achievements and aspirations. Mastering the personal statement section of an application form can be the difference between getting and missing out on your dream job.

Check whether the application form is meant to be filled in by hand or online. Just because the form has been sent by e-mail does not mean it is designed to be filled in on a computer. Some employers request that forms be filled in by hand to dissuade applicants from copying and pasting generic blurbs.

Read through the instructions for the personal statement carefully. Often there is a maximum word count. This should not be breached. There is usually a person specification, too, detailing the qualities an employer is looking for in its employee. Pay close attention to this description as it will form the basis of your own personal statement.

Keep your personal statement concise. Talk about relevant factual examples from your career and life so far. Tie these into the person specification given by the employer. Employers look for keywords in personal statements, and these are often the qualities they have listed in the person specification. Use these as your guide to keep from straying off the point.

Inject some personality into your personal statement. If an employer simply wanted the facts, they would ask for a resume. Employers will be looking through hundreds of personal statements. Make yours stand out by using strong, active verbs such as "achieved," "communicated" and "authorised." Show confidence without coming across as arrogant. A little humour is fine, if used carefully. But remember that a resume is a serious thing. If used incorrectly, humour can make you seem flippant and immature.

Avoid using overused phrases such as "my duties included" or "my responsibilities were." Try to word your personal statement from the employer's point of view. It is they, after all, who are going to be recruiting you. Talk about how your employment will benefit the company.

Proofread your personal statement. Have somebody else check it over as well. Often you may miss small spelling or punctuation mistakes. Make sure you have not included extraneous information that does not relate to your ability to do the job, for example, age, race or sexuality. Do not include links to social networking sites either unless you use them as part of your business.

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