PS Tip 58 : how to start a personal statement

Starting a personal statement can feel rather daunting, particularly if you don’t often write formal documents.

That first paragraph often eludes people for hours at a time – They want to appear erudite, insightful and enthusiastic, but the words just won’t come.

Well, I’ll be writing a bit later on about how to overcome the dreaded writer’s block, but for now I’ll settle for explaining a simple way to start your personal statement. You’ve already got your plan prepared, and have decided what your statement will include – hopefully you’ve even decided what you’ll be writing in each paragraph.

If that’s the case, and you’re really struggling to start your statement, this is my suggestion: Instead of trying to write a fancy introduction, simply introduce yourself whilst also covering off the content of your first paragraph.

You want to appear proactive and high achieving, so you might start by addressing the job directly and pointing out that you already have relevant experience and achievements. For example, a personal statement for a sales job might start with the line:

An award-winning salesman, I have consistently cleared £20k in sales revenue per quarter for the past three years, and have been personally recognised for exceptional performance on two occasions.

Rather than wasting time on a long introduction, this opening jumps right in at the deep end by addressing a common requirement for sales jobs (sales experience) whilst also introducing the writer as an award-winning achiever.

Of course this isn’t the only way to start a personal statement, it’s simply one of a great many options – Having said that, it is a strong choice if you’re struggling to get started. The really great thing about this method is that if you later get struck by inspiration and decide to write a different introduction, your existing intro can easily be rewritten to form part of the body text.

<< Tip 57 Personal statement opening lines >>

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