How to Write a Personal Statement

Writing about yourself as if you are the best thing since sliced bread is hard. However, it shows when someone either really does (or really doesn’t) believe it, so it is important to write something good and from the heart, that is both true and something you can easily talk about in an interview.

  • Make a list of what they want – at the end of the day, you could write an amazing personal statement but for the wrong job
  • Think about things you can do better than most, and make a list of them – if you spend a lot of time on your games console, you will become knowledgeable in this field. If you spend lots of time watching films, you will become knowledgeable in that subject: write what you know.
  • Get yourself a good work environment (read my blog on writing an essay for info on this)
  • Make your list of things you would like to cover using the list of what they want and what you can do – only include what is original, impressive and relevant
  • Set out a logical, detailed structure – a bad structure makes good writing crappy. A good test of sentence structure and paragraph flow is this: if you can’t read it out without mistakes, you shouldn’t be writing it. 
  • Start writing
  • Spell-grammar check – for obvious raisons.
  • Get a second opinion – your mind will naturally fill in words and stresses where they don’t actually exist; fresh eyes are the best thing for a fresh essay.
  • Submit it in PDF form – it is a universal format (not everyone has Word or Pages, fancy pants.

Here is an example:

Perhaps it would be more impressive to say my musicality came from seeing Swan Lake, but it was down to a tiny mouse in red shorts. Disney ignited my love for music. And if my years of education and teaching have taught me anything about myself, it is that my dreams to teach music grow ever stronger. Like Plato, I believe music is a gift we can all possess, and with excellent teaching, musical ability can be grown into a tool for higher level thinking. Music’s culture nurtures identity, instilling a belonging to a group that goes beyond class, gender and geography. It is vital it is taught in schools and taught well.

My music education began at 6, playing piano; the soundtrack of my youth was Fantasia and Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. At 8, I knew I wanted to teach music and I learnt to play the bass and saxophone. During adolescence, my fascination for the history of music from the 1900s grew: Brian Wilson’s harmonies moved me to study something so intrinsically beautiful and simple. Studying at City University provided me with skills in performance, theory and history – I trained in classical singing and have a vast knowledge of musical genre. My community is a tremendous influence on me. My father is a 4th generation musician; his grandfather led the Halle. I come from Italian-British decent and grew up in Hackney, a vastly diverse yet deprived area of England, where music is all around. I now live in Blackheath where music is embedded in the community. My experiences have prepared me for a challenging PGCE; I want to learn from the best how to inspire students to love music. Growing up in troubled East London, I observed the most vulnerable in society slip through the educational net. Working with young people has taught me the importance of supportive networks helping them feel safe and challenged: an environment tailored for learning. I strive to build on pupils’ self-esteem and communication so they see learning happens no matter your background or age. The pedagogy I had at Mossbourne furthered my desire to teach; my experiences began in the TEFL program. In 2007, I began tutoring on piano and continue to this day, teaching guitar, voice, theory and exam preparation. My experience as a rowing coach and Young Music Mentor at ARK has taught me to teach 1-to-1 and in groups; I feel at home in the classroom. My dream is to teach music and English; my dissertation explored the use of music in Forster’s novels. With my in-depth awareness of the curriculum and competence in many subjects, I can offer a well-rounded skill set to any classroom. My role teaching assistant role shows me classroom dynamics through the eyes of a student and a teacher; I have learnt a great deal about how children with ASD learn. My role was recently judged as exemplary and resources I created are used across the department. I learnt to use colour coordination, encourage lateral thinking in adolescent pupils and grow confidence in those with anxiety.

My further interests include practicing Tae Kwon Do, archiving compilations, reading English/American classics and performing. At school I was on the debating team, and am very keen to support a debate club. I want to develop my teaching skills by applying my knowledge of London schools’ pedagogical ethe, my music degree and teaching experiences to this course. I want to teach in deprived areas of London and provide a musical education that will inspire. Studying at a place with equal rigour will help me fulfil my dream in bringing this rigour to students who need it.

So, let’s talk through some of that.

The first line is always there to grab the attention, and then subvert your expectations. This is my favourite line in the piece.

Perhaps it would be more impressive to say my musicality came from seeing Swan Lake, but it was down to a tiny mouse in red shorts. Disney ignited my love for music.

The next section sets out personal ethos and statements without too much details. This is an opportunity to drop key and exciting imformation, quotes you really believe help communicate your message and set out your personal aims in your field:

And if my years of education and teaching have taught me anything about myself, it is that my dreams to teach music grow ever stronger. Like Plato, I believe music is a gift we can all possess, and with excellent teaching, musical ability can be grown into a tool for higher level thinking.

The next section goes into further detail of your history with the field or subject. This is a little reminiscent of films starting in the present day and then going back in time to tell the story.

My music education began at 6, playing piano; the soundtrack of my youth was Fantasia and Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty.

Use this as an opportunity to reflect on pasts jobs, experiences or difficult times, and how you dealt with them. This shows you are a reflective person who will learn from their mistakes and not repeat them ovr and ovr…and ovr and ovr.

Oh, I mean ‘over’!

With my in-depth awareness of the curriculum and competence in many subjects, I can offer a well-rounded skill set to any classroom. My role teaching assistant role shows me classroom dynamics through the eyes of a student and a teacher; I have learnt a great deal about how children with ASD learn.

The next section explores further interest, and how they may add to the richness of your knowledge and experiences. This is key to know that you are both an exceptional work and are not socially awkward about the office. No one wants a difficult person to work with around them all the time.

My further interests include practicing Tae Kwon Do, archiving compilations, reading English/American classics and performing.

I would like to end with a powerful statement. (Like that one!)

Studying at a place with equal rigour will help me fulfil my dream in bringing this rigour to students who need it.

Everyone has the potential to communicate themselves precisely and without waffle. Try these tips and hopefully you can prove me right.

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