- 18 December 2018
- 5 min read
How to write a nursing personal statement for your first nurse job application
Your personal statement could be the difference between getting your first nursing job and just missing out, so make sure yours is as good as it can be.
So long as you pass your degree, very little consideration will be given to the classification you achieve by potential employers.
In fact, many employers will offer you a position before they even know what classification you will end up with.
This is because they know that how well you can write essays and take exams does not necessarily reflect the kind of nurse you will be.
While there are academic elements to being a nurse, it’s the hands-on patient contact that really makes a difference.
So if potential employers aren’t looking at your grades, what are they looking for?
The answer to that is your personal statement.
What is a personal statement I hear you ask?
It’s essentially exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a statement that you write about yourself to include in a job application, telling the employer why you’re right for the job.
Employers will usually have to read several personal statements in the course of recruiting for just one newly qualified staff nurse, so its vital that yours is well written to make you stand out from the rest.
Be sure to engage your reader right from the start to ensure they want to read your statement in full and get a thorough picture of who you are and how you could fit into the role they are recruiting for.
How to begin your nursing personal statement
Draw attention to your personal achievements, but avoid repeating things like your grades, as these will likely be included elsewhere in your application.
You would be much better off focusing on extra-curricular achievements at this point to show them you are good at much more than just academic things.
Mention the skills you have that are relevant to the job you’re applying for but try to avoid listing.
Anyone can list off qualities like ‘good people skills, hard working, good team player’ etc.
You’re much more likely to be successful if you can give examples of when you’ve put these skills into action.
For example, a time when your communication skills allowed you to deal with a particularly difficult situation, or when you played your role within a team effectively and got a good result.
Draw attention to relevant placements you’ve had as a student nurse and the learning outcomes you achieve that would benefit you working in this role.
Reflect upon how you overcame a particular challenge and state why this would benefit you in your future career.
Draft everything together
Once you have a rough idea of everything you want to include, get it down on paper.
Don’t worry about length or organisation of the statement at this stage, just get down everything you think you want to say.
Carefully read the job description to make sure you’ve highlighted how you fit those requirements.
If you’re applying for a job where you don’t quite meet all the requirements, explain how you’re going to ensure you are able to meet this element of the job if they give you the position.
Revise and edit
Your first draft is likely to be a mess as you include things as they spring to mind. So this is your opportunity to rework it into a more cohesive piece.
Make sure it flows and group similar talking points together so that you’re not jumping back and forth talking about different things.
Have an objective, experienced and motivated voice throughout.
Ensure that you sound confident and professional.
Make sure you’ve addressed all the essential criteria and any desirable ones that you fulfil. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you aren’t experienced just because you haven’t worked as a fully qualified nurse before.
You’ve just spent the last 2-3 years training and learning, so you do have some knowledge and experience.
Once you’re happy with it the next step is to proof read. Ask a friend or family member to do this for you if you can, as they’re more likely to spot mistakes that you might have missed.
Or you can always take a couple of days away from it, then come back to read it again with fresh eyes.
Be strict with yourself. Ask yourself if this is necessary and relevant to mention.
Chop out any unnecessary words or parts where you’re repeating a point you’ve already made.
Personalise your statement to the role
Unless you’re applying for multiple very similar roles, you should always seek to change up your statement for each application.
Even very similar roles might have slightly different criteria for different employers, so its worth checking that your statement is relevant for each job you are applying for.
Once its written it won’t take you long to tweak it each time for different roles.
It will be easy for employers to spot a generic personal statement that isn’t tailored to their role, and it doesn’t exactly display commitment to the role if you haven’t even bothered to re-write your personal statement.
To look at how to sharpen your CV for your job search, check out a blog I wrote on how to build your nursing CV. This will ensure you stand out amongst other candidates when applying for nursing jobs.