PS Tip 68 : Anything you’ve done is fair game

Always keep this in mind – Anything you’ve done is perfectly acceptable to include in your personal statement, so long as it improves your chances of success. Work and education will most likely make up the majority of your statement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include voluntary or unpaid work. In fact, even non-work activities can be used as evidence of your abilities if you can demonstrate how they have helped you to develop.

Voluntary organisations often have to make do with a relatively small number of staff, so if you’re involved with one you’ve probably gained experience that falls outside your normal working duties. If that experience is relevant, by all means include it – not only will most people respect you for giving your time away for free to a worthy cause, but it is significant to boot. Indeed, the experience or skills you’ve gained may be more relevant to the position you’re applying for than your primary job or previous courses/training/education.

And you can take this as far as you want – certainly much further than most people would expect. As you may have gathered from earlier tips, I’m something of a computer geek, and many of my friends are avid gamers. I know people who have successfully used their prowess in top-level multiplayer gaming as evidence of their ability to make quick decisions, lead large groups and conquer difficult challenges.

If you’re a talented musician, that could demonstrate your dedication, patience, manual dexterity and ability to concentrate for long periods of time. If you write stories in your spare time you probably have much more developed written communication skills than most people. If you play a lot of sports, or regularly go to the gym, you can legitimately say that you have excellent health, you avoid becoming stressed, and even that you have an excellent concentration span – Look it up if you don’t believe me.

So what have you learned in your spare time? Chances are it’s more than you think.

<< Tip 67 Consider personal traits/habits that they'll want

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