Tip 7 : Think

Never blindly follow advice without taking the time to consider what you're being told.

Does it make sense? What reasoning has been given? Do you agree with it?

If no reasoning has been provided, question the advice. It's surprisingly common for recruiters, teachers and university advisors to give faulty advice, so don't be surprised if they can't give you a good reason to follow it.

If you are given advice that doesn't make sense, or that you don't intend to follow, it is of course best not to antagonise the provider. Simply thank them for their advice, and take your leave.

And I know that it's difficult to ignore the advice of teachers or recruiters, even when that advice doesn't make sense. But always remember - It doesn't matter if you're a student, a recent graduate, or a 30-year veteran in your industry. This is your future, not theirs, and the decision is yours.

So now you might be wondering... should you question my advice? Absolutely.

I'll provide a rationale for each of these personal statement tips, but it's still important that you think for yourself. If, after careful consideration, you decide to ignore something that I suggest.. more power to you.

Tip 8 : Don't be lazy

I don't want to sound patronising, but this is important. Some of the things I'm going to suggest in the coming pages are going to take time, effort and thought.

Don't be lazy.

If you want a job, a place at university, a scholarship, or anything else that requires a personal statement, you must want it enough to put effort into writing your personal statement. This, by the way, is where paying the numbers game simply will not pay off.

If you've applied for 20 different positions, you're probably not going to have the time or inclination to write a solid personal statement for each one. It may seem like you're giving yourself the best chance, but all you're really doing is wasting time. Pick a small number of positions that are genuinely interesting to you and which (ideally) you're well suited for, and put time and effort into writing a quality personal statement for each one.

Don't forget that it's not simply a case of demonstrating that you're a suitable candidate. You have to prove beyond a doubt that you are worthy of a place on a course, or in the case of job statements that you are the best candidate. If your personal statement really shines, you put yourself in a much better position to negotiate extras - a scholarship, a salary boost, flexible working arrangements.. the best rewards are reserved for the best candidates.

So don't be lazy.

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