Skip to content

Personal statements

An employer may ask you for this statement in addition to details about your background and experience.

Personal statements are typically used on application forms where they have not asked you competency-based questions about your skills. It is an alternative way to give the employer examples of how you meet all the requirements on the person specification.

After answering some initial questions about your education, contact details and previous work experience, you may be presented with a blank page and some very brief instructions on how to fill it, such as: ‘Please provide any other information in support of your application’. This type of question is often known as a personal statement or a supporting statement.

Sometimes, the employer will give you more guidance about what they are expecting you to write, for example: ‘Describe how you meet the person specification. You are advised to use the headings given on the person specification and explain how you meet each one, giving examples.’

Suggested structure

Firstly, explain your motivation and why you're interested in applying for this opportunity with this organisation. This may be your only chance to show the employer that you have done some research and that you really want the job.

Describe the relevant skills, qualities and experience or knowledge which you can bring to the role, giving evidence and examples to support your points – just as you would when answering competency questions, and the STAR approach can help you structure the examples you provide.

You'll also need to show that you have knowledge of the bigger picture. Conclude with a summary of the above, emphasising your interest in the opportunity and your enthusiasm and commitment.

A personal statement is not an account of your life. Your statement should be structured according to the skills, qualities and experience that the employer is looking for. Don’t structure your personal statement based on when things happened in your life.

Formatting your statement

Employers like well-structured text – the use of headings or clearly themed paragraphs closely aligned with the person specification can make it easier for someone to read at speed.

Under the headings you could use bullet points or prose, depending on your style. If you prefer not to use headings then use paragraphs, but make sure you use the opening sentence to refer to the part of the person specification you are addressing.

One to two pages is the typical length. Any longer and it is unlikely to be read. But be sure to adhere to the guidelines given about word count to determine the length of your statement.

Find out more

For advice on writing a personal statement, please contact us:

Careers and Employability