One of the summer internships I recently applied for asked me to write a personal statement to accompany my resume, so I decided to do another Genre Challenge and earn some gameified , like I did for my resume.
After some research, one of the first things I realized is that the personal statement can be the critical factor in distinguishing you from the other applicants. It is for this reason that the statement should attempt to entertain and entice the reader, rather than bore him/her. Structure and writing style is also very important. Just because the statement is meant to be “personal” does not mean that all formal writing conventions should be left by the wayside. The personal statement falls under the category of professional writing; therefore, conciseness and preciseness are of the utmost importance. Although certain experiences you choose to share may be complex, they must be presented clearly and effectively. While the grades and test scores will highlight intellectualism, the personal statement will underscore one’s ability to communicate.
In order to begin the writing process for a personal statement, the statement instructions must first be carefully read and understood. Different companies may call for different types of statements, which is why one cannot just reproduce the same one and send it out to multiple employers. When getting started, it is helps to gather information about yourself in the form of past experiences, activities, personal challenges, and unique talents. It is then easier to recall more specifics from this broad list of occurrences and capabilities. When researching the resume, an important theme was showing the company how you would be able to benefit them. The same goes for the personal statement, as most employers are interested in what unique qualities applicants will be able to contribute. The personal statement is the opportunity to showcase deeper qualities than those on the resume.
An extremely important aspect of the personal statement is to keep the focus on you. The personal statement is all about you. While there may have been people or experiences that have been influential in your life, it is vital that the focus is kept on you and not on that special person or experience. An admissions board is not going to care about the accomplishment of someone else in your life, unless you focus on how that accomplishment influenced and affected you. Most importantly, be truthful. Readers can tell when someone is not being genuine, or simply exaggerating the truth.
As with any piece of writing, proofreading is always important and writing several drafts can always help. Just like any other piece of professional writing, the personal statement should be A+ work. One strategy I read about was writing a first draft, then waiting to review it until a little time has passed so that you essentially have a fresh pair of eyes. It also helps to have the statement reviewed by as many people as possible, including friends, family members, and letter of recommendation writers. Either way, it is essential that the statement be free of grammar, syntax, and spelling errors. While the statement may be personal, the tone and structure must remain professional.