Making Money Monday: Writing the Perfect Personal Statement

Procrastination

Imagine the scenario. You’ve found a job opportunity which makes you heart sing. Everything about it seems perfect. You’re full of beans as you start the application process, until… it’s time to write the personal statement, or cover letter, telling your prospective employer exactly why you’re the right person for the job. If you’re anything like me, that’s the point where you down tools and head off to make a warm beverage.

Trouble is. Procrastination isn’t going to get you the job. What you really need  is to carefully craft your cover letter (or personal statement) so you get a seat in front of that interview panel. Here are my top tips…

  • In most cases a ‘Cover Letter’ will actually be a ‘Cover Email’ which accompanies your CV on an email, or when applying through an online portal such as Totaljobs.
  • Cover Letter Vs Personal Statement – A Cover Letter will generally be shorter and written in the traditional format of a letter or email. A Personal Statement may be a little longer and will be a piece of continuous prose. But remember – they are both an opportunity to sell yourself!
  • Before you put fingers to keyboard, revisit the Job Description, or Person Specification. Make a note of your skills and experience which show you’re truly the right person for the job.
  • Do a first draft, preferably in something like Word so you can do a spellcheck.
  • If it’s a cover letter/email remember to address the person correctly (‘Dear Mrs Employer’ for a letter, ‘Hi Mrs Employer’ may be OK for an email).
  • If you’re writing an actual letter, follow the normal business conventions (your address and contact details top right, the companies address below this aligned to the left (with the date below it), remember when you’re signing off its ‘Yours sincerely’ (unless you’ve addressed the letter to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, in which case it’s ‘Yours faithfully’ – although generally speaking if you want to work there, you should know who you’re addressing the letter to). Keep the letter to no more than one side of A4 and don’t forget to sign the it.
  • If you’re emailing, you can be less formal. Unless the advert specifies otherwise use your ‘cover letter’ as the main body of the email with your CV attached (if they ask for separate cover letter, save it in Word and email it across as an attachment).
  • Stay on topic – sell yourself to the max, by using some key points and relate these to the job spec, but don’t waffle on forever.
  • Tell them why you want to work for them and why you would be perfect for the job.
  • Group topics together. Don’t start talking about your IT skills – jump into people skills and then go back to IT – make sure it flows logically.
  • Make it easy for them to get in touch. Put your telephone number and email address at the foot of your email signature.
  • Check, check, check and check again… before you..
  • Hit send and keep your fingers crossed!

Good luck! x

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