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How to Sell Yourself in Your Personal Statement - Creative Advice

How to Sell Yourself in Your Personal Statement - Creative Advice

The advertising industry understands the power of the right words in the right order – and that’s a power that can be very useful in putting your personal statement together.

To get you started, here are a few useful ideas for your personal statement that copywriters and marketing experts are using to engage, inform and persuade people every day.

1. Grab attention

Great magazine articles and news articles all have a fantastic intro to get your attention from the outset, and your personal statement should be no different. 

Your first sentence needs to pique some interest. You could get there through humour or a clever play on words but one of the most effective techniques is simply to be personal. Being authentic is the way forward in your personal statement, they can quickly see why you will be a great fit for them. 

You’re already unique and one-of- a-kind so be sure to highlight that immediately, whether it’s the personal story of why you’re so passionate about your chosen subject, or mentioning a specific area of interest that you’re enthusiastic about.

2. Benefits, not features

When you are writing for marketing then you have to get people to buy into the idea so they want it. They see the benefit in it for themselves, so make the admissions tutor see why you are beneficial to the course.

If you’re bilingual, explain how that makes you an incredible communicator. If you’re a sporting hero, don’t forget to emphasise that it gives you discipline and makes you a great team player. If you have volunteer experience in your chosen field then lead with this. 

When you are talking about your experiences and skills make sure you pull it back to why they are perfect for the course.

3. Structure your personal statement to sell

In the academic world, we often get into writing habits that aren’t a great fit for persuasion. 

Think about the structure of your coursework: you start with an introduction and then build gradually to your big conclusion. 

When someone is reading hundreds of applications a day then you can’t expect them to wait around to the end for the big conclusion, you have to grab them straight away.

A good rule of thumb for structure would be:

  • Start with why you’re the perfect fit for a place on your course

  • Mention the most important aspects of your relevant skills and experience early

  • Prove the points you’ve introduced – it’s here you’d talk about your current and previous studies, your skills, and your work experience

It’s your main message followed by the evidence; not the evidence slowly building to the message.

4. Remember you’re talking to a human

When you are writing your personal statement remember you are writing it for a person to read, not the institution. 

Think of your personal statement as a conversation with the tutor. Write how you would speak to someone you want to impress. Whilst you should be formal, make sure you make it more conversational by using I’m instead of I am and read it through out loud to make sure it flows.

Your tone of voice can also capture some of the points you want to get across without taking up any of your precious 4000 characters. For example, there’s no need to write about how passionate you are for your subject if you’re able to write passionately about it.  Aim to let your personality shine through in your choice of words.

Looking for more university application advice? Take a look here

Joe D

Joe D

19th Dec 2023