Sara Mahuron reports:
"Employers often ask for a personal statement because they want more insight into who you are and why they should hire you. The job application is standard and asks for objective facts and details that [allow] them to evaluate candidates against job requirements. A personal statement, though, gives applicants a chance to express themselves through essays and highlight anything in their background that is helpful for the employer to know but not obvious on applications...Envision your audience. Before you begin, take a moment to think about who will be reading your statement and what they might be looking for. Think about the job description and the industry for which you are applying. Review the company's mission statement and vision. Acquaint yourself with the company's culture...Write down a list of...achievements that are not evident anywhere else in your application and explain why these achievements are of value to this employer. Make a list of skills you have, including soft skills such as communication skills and people skills...Write down your career goals and why you want the job. Think of anything in your life that has been unique and has prepared you for this job...Answer any questions the employer asks you to address in your personal statement. Prepare answers that are specific and detailed. The employer will not assume anything in your favor, so be sure to specify exactly what you did or how long you have done something...Start writing the first draft of your personal statement and incorporate the achievements you have identified, your career goals and your answers to the employer's questions. Maintain an essay style and use the five-paragraph essay model, which includes a first paragraph as the introduction, followed by three paragraphs as the body and a final fifth paragraph as the conclusion -- unless you can justify making the letter longer. Use a consistent tone and make sure each paragraph focuses on one point and is backed by supporting evidence...Revise your personal statement. Ask a peer or colleague to edit it and provide feedback. Proofread it yourself. Evaluate the importance of each point you make. Analyze the essay to make sure it is easy to read and understand and that it supplements your resume appropriately...A personal statement should never reiterate your resume. The employer wants to know what else there is to know; they are not looking for another way of saying the same thing you have already told them."
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