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How to write a personal statement as a Graduate

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 2 Sep 2022

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Your personal statement is there to give a brief summary about you. It helps grab the employer’s attention and is something we add to CV’s and job applications to stand out from the competition. It’s required for university and apprenticeship applications, so chances are you have written one before. However, when it’s for your first job, the process of writing one is slightly different and can feel very daunting on the first try. This article talks about what why a personal statement can be so important for an application and how to go about writing one for your CV.

Why do graduates struggle with a personal statement?

The idea behind a personal statement is to sell yourself to whoever is reading it. You want to persuade them to keep reading your CV in an easy-to-read paragraph. Overall, the point behind a personal statement is to provide the employer with a summary of your skills and why you are good for the role.

People fresh out of university or college can find it hard to get started on a personal statement. Usually, it’s the first thing you write for your CV, so the pressure from staring at a blank page for too long can get to you.

However, most of the time, graduate engineers struggle because they feel they don’t have enough experience to start telling employers why they should have the role. My main bit of advice is to forget the idea that you have no previous skills. You are qualified, you have experience and whether or not it is experience in a workplace, it’s still relevant and meaningful to employers. Start thinking about why you want the role and what does make you a good candidate.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before writing a personal statement.

What should you be asking yourself?

Sometimes the hardest part of something is simply starting. Once you get going, the hardest part is over. So, write anything and everything down, you can edit and finesse it later.

Ask yourself

  • What do you want to tell the reader?
  • What skills do you have that set you apart from other candidates?
  • What are your career goals and how did your degree fit into this?
  • What do you know already?
  • What made you want to choose this field of work?
  • Why do you want this job in particular?

There are a lot of points here and it doesn’t have to be limited to this. Personal statements shouldn’t be too long but do need to pack in a lot of different bits of information. You can’t include everything, that’s why the rest of your CV is there. Only worry about adding in the best points and selling yourself.

The best way to get results is to personalise this for the different roles you apply for. You can keep a template and edit is as you apply for roles, but ensure you are taking parts from job specs and working them in. It can really help you stand out as a graduate job seeker.

How to write a personal statement

  1. You want to start with a strong opening sentence that gets the readers attention. Introduce yourself and mention where it is you have recently graduated from and what you studied.
  2. Next, add in some information about why you want this role. What skills can you bring and what makes your suitable for the job?
  3. Highlight skills you have that they have also mentioned in the job description. This will show them that you have taken the time to read it properly and shows you are a possible candidate for the job.
  4. Finish your statement with why you want the job. What are your career goals at this point in time and how does this role align with them?

It can feel hard to pack all of the information into one paragraph, but remember this is here to aid your CV. If you do feel like you have a lot more to share, then add this information into a cover letter.

As a graduate it can be nerve wracking to prepare your first CV and nothing is worse than staring at a blank page. Follow these tips and you’ll have a great personal statement ready to send in no time.