Internship Application Personal Statement
One of the hardest things you’re ever going to write about is yourself. So, it’s no surprise that writing a personal statement is at the top of nobody’s list of favorites.
But your personal statement is important in your application because here you can express your personal side and show your individuality.
Your statement is very different from a laundry list of experience on your resume. Here is where you can make a more personal connection.
Figuring out how and where to start is usually the hardest part.
Formatting your personal statement correctly gives it a nice flow and takes your reader all the way through.
Here are some tips:
Write an outline
Before you start writing your personal statement, create a rough outline of what you want to say. This will help you organize your thoughts and get a good handle on the flow of your statement. It’s also an early opportunity to work on that first paragraph hook that will make the reader want to learn more about you.
Often, they will ask you to answer or discuss a specific question in your personal statement. Answer the actual question as you tell your story. They are asking for a reason.
Typically, a personal statement outline looks like this:
- Opening paragraph (open with a story…more on this below)
- A few paragraphs on your skills and knowledge that relate to the application—and how that benefits the company
- Your life goals and how you see this job getting you there
- Closing statement which refers back to your story and wraps it all up
Open with a story
Storytelling is always a way to engage the reader and be memorable. Think of a story that relates to how you chose your career path, inspired you or taught you something. If you’re boring, into the trash you go.
A few ideas to get you thinking:
- A teacher or sports coach at school who taught you the value of research, hard work or pushing through
- A relative that taught you a specific skill
- A movie that made you decide to follow your path
- An event in your life that impacted you, such as moving to a new city or country, even something traumatic from which you learned how to bounce back
- A famous person who inspired you to pursue your career
Open your statement with a short paragraph about how and why this changed your life, then make references to it as you write the whole document.
The middle section
Write a few paragraphs on your skills and knowledge. Be specific. Use examples that relate to the job you are applying for. Talk about why you think the company will benefit from these talents.
Show a little enthusiasm for what you do and for what THEY do. This is the place to do that.
Read our post on steps you can take to prep your experience section
Like every story, there is a beginning, middle and end. Wrap up your story by referring back to your story from the first paragraph. You could quote from the person you wrote about, something like…”What my grandmother always said…” or “ I see the challenges of politics is like moving here from China…it’s like learning a whole new culture and language.”
Pay attention to the requirements
Most application statements come with a strict set of requirements or guidelines. For example, there might be a certain font size, minimum page count or word cap (e.g. 800 words max.). This is not the place to show off your creativity.
Talk to your people about you
You may be surprised at how others see you.
Your friends and fam just might have the insight you’re looking for. Talk to them, and find out what they see as unique about you. It can be hard to come up with a list of strengths on your own because you see yourself in a different way. What they say is true: we are all our own worst critics.
They can help you find those key traits that set you apart from other applicants and even give you the confidence you need to see yourself in a more accurate, praise-worthy light.
Tell the reader exactly why you should be chosen
Even if the topic you are given to write about is a bit abstract, let the reader know why you are the right candidate for the internship position. (You know what happens when you leave things open to interpretation.) Present yourself in a positive light.
Have someone else proofread your statement
This pearl of wisdom is an oldie, but still a goodie. Ask trusted friends, family members or your mentor read over your personal statement to check for flow and grammatical mistakes.
Things like poor grammar and misspellings are a sure way to have your application thrown directly into the rejection pile.
You want to hear the best piece of advice ever? Here it is: do NOT wait until the last minute to start! You’ll totally regret it if you do. Give yourself time to revise and revise until every word on that paper is perfect.
Internships are a valuable opportunity for a student to get professional work experience while they are at university. They usually take place in the summer and can last anywhere between 4–16 weeks.
The competition for the internships with the UK’s top employers is fierce. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has revealed that there were, on average, 40 applications for each internship last year.
If you are interested in doing an internship, it is crucial that you get the application right. Your CV is the first step of the application process and is the first point of contact with an employer.
A strong CV, tailored to the scheme on offer and the company that organises it, will help you stand out from the possible 40 other applicants.
Here is your essential guide to writing an outstanding internship CV. Read on for advice on how to structure your CV specifically for an internship application, what to include, and some useful tips that will have employers fighting over you like a pack of starving bears.
You can break up a CV into seven sections. These seven sections will ensure your CV is concise, focused, and includes all the information employers look for in a potential candidate.
1. Personal information
The first section of your CV should be personal information – your name and contact details. Yes, it sounds rather obvious, but you would be surprised by how many applicants send the wrong contact details or none at all.
Your name should be the title of your CV and not Curriculum Vitae. CVs that are titled with ‘Curriculum Vitae’ are ripped up quicker than a losing lottery ticket.
Below your name, put your phone number and email address. It’s best not to include your home address. Some employers will take the length of your commute into consideration when they look at your application.
A profile is a short paragraph that acts as an opening statement or introduction to your CV. It should be no longer than five sentences.
Your profile will explain who you are and why you are interested in this particular internship. It is important that you tailor your profile to the scheme you are applying for.
Just say, for example, you are applying for an internship in investment banking, and you describe yourself as a ‘Highly creative and methodical maths graduate, seeking work experience in the accounting sector,’ employers will be confused.
They will wonder, ‘is this fellow interested in accounting or investment banking?’.
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Avoid this confusion, and write a profile that is related to the internship on offer, the sector it resides in or the company that organises the scheme.
3. Key skills
If an employer receives up to 40 CVs and applications for an internship, they are unlikely to read all of them in great detail.
The general rule is that an employer will look at the top half of every CV, putting the best in one pile, and the rest in the trash with their half-eaten tuna sandwich.
If you want to avoid the tuna sandwich, your CV needs to make an impact, and fast. The best way of doing this is to list your key skills and strengths in bullet point form.
Focus on key employability skills, like organisation, verbal and written communication. You can look at the information provided in job vacancies for inspiration; often it will say, ‘the ideal candidate will have…’ or ‘soft skills required’.
Internship CV template
Put your most recent qualifications first!
Although the entry requirements for some graduate jobs and internships refer to GCSE grades, (normally passes in English/Maths), your higher level qualifications will be more relevant to the employer.
If you have a degree, put that first, then A levels, then GCSEs. This applies to equivalent qualifications in the UK, such as Scottish Nationals and Highers.
Employers are always looking for relevant experience and candidates that demonstrate significant interest in a sector or particular career. If you have completed any projects, coursework or modules that are relevant to the internship you are applying for, be sure to mention them!
If you are halfway through a degree, you can put a predicted grade, based on scores you have already received. Something like: ‘currently working towards a Ba (Hons) Environmental Science (2:1)’.
5. Work experience/previous employment
It is not all that important what you title this section; work experience and previous employment both work.
Furthermore, if you have already have fantastic work experience, you can put this above the education section.
The three key things to remember when outlining your previous experience are:
- Put your most recent employment/work experience first
- Give start and end dates (you don’t have to too specific)
- List your key responsibilities and successes
It is crucial that you list your key responsibilities and successes. How else is an employer going to know what specific experience you have and the areas you excel in?
You can also include any voluntary or unpaid work experience you have completed. Employers go bananas for voluntary work.
This section of your CV is an opportunity for you to reveal what you get up to when you’re not at work or university.
Employers are not looking for robotic interns. They want candidates who have personality, who are active outside of work hours and will bring something to the company they are working for.
Are you a member of any universities societies? Do you play for any sports teams? These are the sorts of things to include; interests that show you are sociable and comfortable in a team environment.
Also, try and mention interests which relate to the internship on offer. For example, if you are applying for work experience with a consulting firm, you could refer to your membership of the Consulting Society at university.
HINT: If you don’t partake in any extracurricular activities related to the field you want to work in, find some!
Choose references that backup your employment history.
The last thing you need when applying for a job is a former employer giving information that contradicts your CV or speaking to another former employer who has never heard of you.
You do not have to give the contact details of your references when first send your CV to an employer. If they are dazzled by your CV, they will contact you for the details.
Just write ‘References are available on request’.
This steps involved in this guide CV can also be used for writing a CV for a placement and even an apprenticeship application!
Internship CV template