• 28 May 2019
  • 9 min read

Claire's tips for writing your personal statement

  • Claire Carmichael
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

Your personal statement could be the make or break of you getting the job - but how do you stand out against other candidates? Claire shares her tips and tricks to help you get writing!

Play video: Claire shares some tips on writing the best personal statement that you can!

Hi everyone and welcome back!

So this is my top tips for writing those personal statements your job application as a qualified nurse.

So when you go online you'll have this important information section to fill out - this is where you write your personal statement for that job and really sell yourself.

Draft it up in a text document first

So firstly I would advise just writing this on word document first just because a word document can spell check it for you.

You can sort of adjust and edit it as you go along.

So I personally do mine on Word first and then I copy and paste from Word on to the personal statement.

Make sure you proofread it and get fresh eyes to proofread too!

Along with this get somebody to proofread.

Proofread, proofread, proofread.

You don't want to make the mistake of making spelling mistakes or saying the completely wrong thing that someone else reading it might not understand, that’s gonna be a little bit embarrassing.

I'm not gonna lie I've done that myself.

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I can't remember exactly what I said but I was trying to say that I had basically had cared for a lot of people with challenging sort of behaviours and aggressive behaviour to show that I was a naturally calm person and can handle myself in those sort of situations and I'm quite good at it and I work really well under pressure.

However, the sentence that I wrote which I didn't realise until after I'd submitted it was something like ‘I have challenging behaviours but I can manage these well’ or something so it sounded like I had the challenging, aggressive behaviours but it wasn't me, it was the patients!

The way it sounded, I just thought ‘oh my god why didn't I proofread this? Why didn't somebody proofread this for me?’ and, oh I was so embarrassed!

Don’t be repetitive

Make sure, in your personal statement, you want to include brand new information.

You don't want to repeat yourself from what's already on the application form.

Put in brand new sparkly information that they're gonna go ‘oh this is good!’

Play video: Where does Claire see herself in her future nursing career? Find out in this video!

Do you match the criteria?

Make sure you read the job description and person specification because you're going to need that to include that into this personal statement.

You're going to sort of show how you particularly meet these requirements that they're asking of you in your personal statement and show examples that just shows as well that you've actually read what they want from you and that you can meet those things.

Following on from that, you want to make every single personal statement completely separate from each other.

So if you're applying to quite a few jobs in different areas, you want to make sure that this isn't a generic personal statement.

You have to make it specific to that place that you're applying, which might seem like a little bit more work but you don't want a generic email just going out to everybody.

You want to make it specific and relevant to that particular place and that's going to just help you massively.

I think it just shows that you're taking the time out to be interested in that particular company as well. It's going to go in your favour!

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Sell yourself, sell yourself, sell yourself!

So this is something I get really awkward about, I get really embarrassed with but you know what? You have to go for it.

You have to put all of those feelings aside and just sell yourself because sometimes it is just down to your little bit of confidence that you might have and selling yourself that little bit more that gives you the position over the other person that's got the exact same qualifications as you.

So make sure you sell yourself and write anything that makes you stand out from everybody else because as a nurse you're going to have all the same qualifications or if you're student nurse you’ll have all the same qualifications and experience as your fellow student nurses.

So you want to put in there something extra about you that you've done through university, volunteering and anything like that.

That's going to make you stand out and make this person think ‘okay, she's got something a bit extra than that person’, so just do that, put all fears aside and just go for it!

Also, with this, you want to look into this person spec and have a look what's been listed on the essential or desirable parts.

So you want to cover all of the essential parts in there so that they know that you're meeting those targets.

You can also use subheadings and underline in bold parts just to make things stand out and make it easier for the person to read because if you've got a really long-winded piece of personal statement it might just get a little bit jumbled.

I personally use head little subheadings using the star technique.

So the star technique is something that I learned at University - just to help structure things a whole lot better and answer anything I'm trying to demonstrate out there.

It just helps to mould and keeps me on target of what I'm trying to say if that makes sense.

The star technique just means situation, task, action and then the result of the whole situation.

However I would not put the subhead and star technique with everything listed like that, please leave all that out and just in your mind using the star technique and then write it out nicely.

You could put it there as a draft but then delete it all and just make it flow nicely into a paragraph, but don't put that as a subheading!

So the ‘situation’ part is just explaining the situation briefly.

Then, the ‘task’ is just briefly explaining what you have to do in that situation.

So action is the most substantial part of it, around 50 to 70 percent of it is going to be the action.

This is where you can use examples of when, where, how and why all of that of helped you solve this problem or whatever they're asking you, just to provide an example of how you met that target.

Then the ‘result’ of your actions, you're just going to explain what the outcome was, what happened as a result of this basically, and that's pretty much it for the star technique.

It’s quite simple I think, if you sort of break it down and it just really helps you manage that.

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Why this job?

In your personal statement, you want to explain why you particularly want to work for the company that you are applying to or the area or the field that you're applying to why them specifically, and how you can be a benefit or use to them.

So, it's about what you've got to bring to them but also what they can bring to you and what sort of things stand out for you to actually want to work there if that makes sense.

I think that's going to look really good on a personal statement as well.

We're going to put in things like why you're applying for that job, why they should hire you over everybody else and again just using the job description to your advantage to help you do that.

Play video: Claire shares her tips for surviving the night shift!

Skills and qualities

Just a few skills and qualities that you can include in your personal statement could be including things such as team working and what you brought to that team.

So, working within the multidisciplinary team in the NHS or on your placements, wherever you've been and or whether you're currently a qualified nurse in a job.

What have you done to that team and what can you bring to this future team that you're applying to?

So all about assessing the complex needs of patients, because it's all about the patient.

You want to make sure that the patient's in there!

Care planning, implementing, evaluating and using appropriate nursing interventions.

You might want to put communication skills, so what sort of communication skills you have, and that you're exceptionally good at understanding confidentiality because we are high on confidentiality in the NHS and healthcare setting.

You might want to put something about, if you've done any, teaching or mentoring as you've gone along.

You could put in something about the NMC code of conduct and what you understand about it, you might want to put in about clinical governance safe medication management, things like that.

Also, probably a little bit about your continuous professional development, so what you've done, extra training and extra awareness days that you've gone to, events, congress conferences, any extra things that you've done to sort of update your own knowledge - put that in there.

Your passion for nursing

And lastly show your passion and enthusiasm around nursing through writing, if you can. Just make sure you put it all in there, make sure you sound amazing and make sure they want to interview you.

So that's it from me!

I hope some of these tips have been useful to you, let me know if you bagged that interview, let me know if you've got any other advice or tips for personal statements - drop a comment below and let somebody else know.

Let's help each other out, and good luck! 

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

I am a student nurse studying at Birmingham City University. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs not only to help other student nurses, but also to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Student Nurse and Vlogger

I am a student nurse studying at Birmingham City University. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs not only to help other student nurses, but also to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.