Tip 11 : Read The Question (RTQ)

My father drilled this into me as a child, and I'm sure your parents and teachers told you the same thing.

Want to write a quality personal statement that gets results? Read the spec for your desired job or course very, very carefully. And read it several times.

Make sure you know exactly what points you need to cover, and ideally which of those points are most important. If you're applying for a job, the advert or online job spec will often list 'essential' and 'desirable' criteria separately, which makes it very simple to know which areas to focus on. If you don't have this level of detail, you can usually infer the most important points from the way the job spec is written, or the order it's written in.

But no matter what you do in your personal statement, make sure you've read all of the information provided - It's remarkably easy to misinterpret a specification on the first run through, or even get distracted and miss something. The best way forward is to read it several times, and make notes in your own words as you go.

Tip 12 : What do they want?

Ok, so you've read the specification for your job or course. These specifications usually amount to a sort of 'shopping list', where the hiring manager or admissions officer has laid out everything they want from the successful applicant.

So what do they want? I find the easiest way to approach the process of working out what they want is to take a piece of paper, and write down each aspect of the specification - Essential criteria first, and then desired criteria.

Once you've done that, you're ready to ask..

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