Guest blog: How to write a personal statement

Guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers

Three keys for a successful personal statement in a job application:

1) Focus (on the job)

2) Structure (your statement)

3) Sell (yourself)

Some top tips…

 Carry out a self assessment

 Look at the requirements of the job description and person specification

 Match your experience, skills and abilities to the employer’s requirements

 Be enthusiastic!

The employer is looking to buy some skills and experience – you need to demonstrate that you have what they are looking for.

Opening and closing paragraphs are key. Work hard to present a positive and punchy introduction to grab the reader’s attention. Use your closing statement to stress the personal qualities that make you an asset to the organisation.

Don’t make random or unsubstantiated statements – You might very well have excellent presentation and negotiation skills but to state these as mere facts will not convince the reader. However, if you provide evidence and examples to back up what you say, this will. An example – Setting up and chairing monthly meetings for all factory staff to report on management/strategic developments has developed my presentation skills.

Personal statements should usually be approximately 1200 words. Some people will use an extremely small font and think they can squeeze more information in. This will not help your application. The reader will have had enough at 1200 words and will know to stop! Keep it easy to read.

Refrain from writing long winded sentences. If your sentences consist of more than 32 words or more, then for the reader’s sake, reduce them!

Starting too many paragraphs or sentences with ‘I’ is off-putting for the reader. Consider alternatives: My ability to… During… When… Although…, Whilst… An example of…etc

Structure is key to a good statement, you need to take the reader on a journey. Start with a solid enthusiastic introduction and say why the job appeals to you. Continue with how you match their requirements, providing examples and evidence to back up any statements. You will often find that the personal specification has a structure to it and you can follow this to ensure you cover all of the key elements in it. Bring your statement to a good strong conclusion that shows off your personal qualities and commitment.

Check it, then check it again and then ask someone else to check it! A spelling error or silly mistake will spoil all of your hard work!

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: or visit


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