On many application forms you have to complete a section at the end called ‘additional information’ or ‘personal statement’. After you’ve filled in the sections on personal details, education and employment, this large, empty box is your chance to really impress a future employer.
The form should include instructions, usually something like ‘please use this section to explain why you feel you are suited to this job and what you can bring to it’ or ‘please include any further information relevant to the person specification, such as which skills, knowledge and experience you have’.
The employer will have seen which qualifications and work experience you have in the previous sections on the form, so the purpose of this section is for you to show you’re motivated to do the job and that you have carefully considered why you feel you would be good at it.
You should provide answers for each of the points in the person specification. You might like to present them one by one with a heading, so the person reading it can clearly see to which point you’re referring.
It’s really important that you give examples because they provide clear evidence that you’ve got a skill and know how to apply it in real situations.
For example, instead of making a simple claim like, ‘I’m great with money and adding up’, it would tell employers much more if you put, ‘I’ve been in charge of the stationery budget for two years and have been responsible for cashing up at the end of the day’.
After providing an example, reflecting on the experience shows that you can learn from your experiences and are always trying to improve. For example, you could say that being in charge of the stationery budget taught you the importance of prioritising, planning ahead and keeping accurate records.
Even if you haven’t got the experience to show that you’ve got a particular skill, you could say how similar experiences and skills would help you approach this area. For example, ‘my experience of learning how to use a spreadsheet from scratch shows I can pick up software packages very quickly, so I’m confident I’d be able to pick up xxxx package….’
In addition to showing how you meet the person specification, you also need to show your enthusiasm for the job and what attracted you to the organisation. Try to use very positive language and describe what you could bring to the company.
It will also impress employers if you show some knowledge of the company, such as what they do, what their strengths are and any latest development that might have been in the news.