Personal Statement, what do I do?? Questions Answered

Hi Nicola, I am currently studying at University and I have been asked to write a personal statement for a work placement as part of my course – I have no idea where to start as my original personal statement to get on my course reads like a biography, help!!!

Steve, Manchester

Hi Steve, Many thanks for your question. First of all it is great to hear universities are actively encouraging work experience placements for students, I cannot think of a better way to gain some relevant work experience whilst you are studying and this will certainly help you once you have graduated and are looking to start work.

The importance of such placements does bring some pressure to make sure you can piqué interest  with the best employers in your field to ensure a worthwhile placement, reassuring them you can do the job albeit in a junior capacity will make the difference between being actually picked for the role and also the duties that you will incur on the placement. You don’t want to be brewing up and making photocopies there right!

To start I suggest you talk a little about yourself in a work capacity, how you ended up taking the course and how you have utilised your skills so far. Use examples of putting the theory into practice whether it has been in paid work or for family and friends. Make sure you research the employer to understand what their USP (Unique Selling Point) is and match up your abilities and skills in this area. Then you should look to introduce what skills you have gained on the course and how you wish to progress in your specialist niche. Make sure you keep referring to particular projects the employer has worked on and start to introduce specific skill-sets; it is also good to touch upon the software you may have been using and your general ability to pick up new software packages. As this is a personal statement I also recommend you talk about why it would mean so much for you personally if you were picked for the placement, don’t go over the top with compliments to them but get a balance of your respect for their work and genuinely why you want to work there. Conclude with a paragraph about how you see your career progression once you have graduated and gaining specific work experience will assist you in reaching your goals.

I am assuming you will be submitting your CV with your personal statement, therefore let the CV be the formal part of the application and allow a more personal feel to the statement itself. Good luck!

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