how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

How to write a personal statement when you have no work experience

Your personal statement is a key part of your UCAS application when you apply to university – this is your chance to show the admissions tutor who you are, what you’re interested in and why you deserve a place on the course you’re applying for. You’ve probably already researched how to write a personal statement and you know you need to include your skills, achievements and interests and demonstrate that you have the qualities that the admissions tutor is looking for. You’ll also know that admissions tutors like to hear about the work experience you’ve already gained, particularly for courses like Medicine, Nursing and Teacher Training. But what if you haven’t had the opportunity to gain any work experience?

Here at the University of Sunderland, we know it’s not always possible to gain the necessary experience before applying to university. Read on to hear our tips for how to write a personal statement when you have no work experience:

A student taking notes while also working on a laptop in the library

1. Demonstrate your passion, motivation and understanding of the course/role you are applying for

One thing to remember is that the admissions tutor isn’t expecting you to be an expert on the subject – after all, you’re applying to university so you can learn more and train for the role you want after you graduate. But what they will be expecting to hear from you is a sincere explanation for why you want to pursue the career path you’re on. Some people are driven by a vocation while others may experience life events that trigger their interest. It may simply be that you enjoy particular subjects at school and can see yourself working in a related sector. Whatever your motivation, make sure you demonstrate your understanding of the role as well as your enthusiasm.

Our Teacher Training team says, “Training to become a teacher allows you to understand how children or young people learn and develop. Your personal statement should clearly show your passion to make a positive change in a child's life. Work experience within a school is not an essential requirement when applying, however, for you to be able to make a decision on which sector you wish to teach in, we would recommend visiting or shadowing both primary and secondary sectors. There isn't one thing that we are looking for in your application; it's a mixture of passion and willingness to be the best teacher you can be after you graduate. Show us that you have been pro-active and researched the sector, as this will show your enthusiasm to learn and develop.”

Your personal statement should evidence a clear understanding of the course and show an informed choice of course and career. If the course you're applying for is vocational, demonstrate an insight of the opportunities and the demands and challenges of entering your chosen profession and a realistic insight into how you may develop.

One extra tip here – if you’re applying for two different courses/roles, consider writing a second personal statement and sending it to the admissions department at the university you are applying to. Make sure to include your UCAS application number and your full name so that the team can match your second personal statement to your application.

2. Reach out to practising staff or students 

An alternative to work experience is to reach out to staff and current students working in and studying your chosen profession. Remember, you will be spending several years at university, particularly if you are planning to study a course such as medicine, so you want to be sure that this is the right path for you. Staff and students are often keen to share their advice and support and can give you real insight into a profession. They can share with you the current challenges of the sector, the realities of the role and answer any questions you may have. Forums such as The Student Room are great for connecting with current and prospective students. You could also sign up to university Open Days , where staff and students are available to chat to.

By reaching out to practising staff, you may also find that you make connections with people who have their own private practice and may be in a better position to offer work experience.

3. Keep up to date with current affairs 

If the course you're applying for requires an interview as part of its entry requirements, it's likely you will be asked questions about current affairs in that sector, so it may be worth including some of your research in your personal statement (remembering that you only get 4,000 characters!). Consider researching topics such as the key challenges being faced in the sector, how the profession you are applying for has changed and adapted over time, and policy and guideline updates. Draw inspiration from news stories and research the relevant professional body as they will often keep their websites up to date with the latest information.

If you find a way to link the course you are applying for to current affairs, discuss what you have found interesting about that topic and explain how it has inspired your career choice. By doing this, you will be demonstrating your critical thinking, a key skill you will develop at university and will be useful to you upon graduation as it is highly valued by employers.

4. Do some further reading 

A simple way to gain more insight into the course/role you are applying for is to do some further reading around the subject, which will help you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding when you come to write your personal statement. This will show admissions tutors that you're well informed and passionate about learning more about the subject, which is a sign you will be a good student.

Your reading can include textbooks, newspaper websites, professional body websites, relevant forums and even subject-related content on social media. Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular medium for sharing and consuming information in an easy-to-digest format and could inform your further reading. Try to find ones where the host or guest is an expert in the field you are applying for – many podcast platforms will bring up a list of relevant podcast episodes if you search for a certain name.

Consider getting in touch with the university you are applying for and ask for some recommended reading, or speak to your teachers and careers advisors who should be able to direct you.

A student sitting on the floor of the library, reading and surrounded by books

If you need further advice or support with your personal statement, get in touch to arrange a 1-2-1 meeting with a member of our friendly and knowledgeable student recruitment team? Email us at [email protected]  

Published 11 December 2023

Published: 11 December 2023

Top tips for writing your personal statement

Don’t worry, writing your personal statement isn’t as difficult as it might seem when you’re staring at an empty Word document. Here are some top tips on how to write the perfect personal statement.

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How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

Lisa Freedland is a Scholarships360 writer with personal experience in psychological research and content writing. She has written content for an online fact-checking organization and has conducted research at the University of Southern California as well as the University of California, Irvine. Lisa graduated from the University of Southern California in Fall 2021 with a degree in Psychology.

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Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

The personal statement. It’s one of the most important parts of the entire college application process. This essay is the perfect opportunity to show admissions officers who you are and what makes you stand out from the crowd. But writing a good personal statement isn’t exactly easy. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to nail your personal statement, complete with example essays . Each essay was reviewed and commented upon by admissions expert Bill Jack. Let’s dive in!

Related: How to write an essay about yourself  

What is a personal statement? 

A personal statement is a special type of essay that’s required when you’re applying to colleges and scholarship programs. In this essay, you’re expected to share something about who you are and what you bring to the table. Think of it as a chance to reveal a side of yourself not found in the rest of your application. Personal statements are typically around 400 – 600 words in length. 

What can I write about? 

Pretty much anything, as long as it’s about you . While this is liberating in the sense that your writing options are nearly unlimited, it’s also overwhelming for the same reason. The good news is that you’ll probably be responding to a specific prompt. Chances are you’re applying to a school that uses the Common App , which means you’ll have seven prompts to choose from . Reviewing these prompts can help generate some ideas, but so can asking yourself meaningful questions. 

Below you’ll find a list of questions to ask yourself during the brainstorming process. For each of the following questions, spend a few minutes jotting down whatever comes to mind. 

  • What experiences have shaped who you are? 
  • What’s special or unique about you or your life story? 
  • Who or what has inspired you the most? 
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of? 
  • What are your goals for the future? How have you arrived at those goals? 
  • If your life was a movie, what would be the most interesting scene? 
  • What have been some of the biggest challenges in your life? How did you respond and what did you learn? 

The purpose of these questions is to prompt you to think about your life at a deeper level. Hopefully by reflecting on them, you’ll find an essay topic that is impactful and meaningful. In the next section, we’ll offer some advice on actually writing your essay. 

Also see:  How to write a 500 word essay

How do I write my personal statement? 

Once you’ve found a topic, it’s time to start writing! Every personal statement is different, so there’s not really one formula that works for every student. That being said, the following tips should get you started in the right direction:  

1. Freewrite, then rewrite 

The blank page tends to get more intimidating the longer you stare at it, so it’s best to go ahead and jump right in! Don’t worry about making the first draft absolutely perfect. Instead, just get your ideas on the page and don’t spend too much time thinking about the finer details. Think of this initial writing session as a “brain dump”. Take 15-30 minutes to quickly empty all your thoughts onto the page without worrying about things like grammar, spelling, or sentence structure. You can even use bullet points if that helps. Once you have your ideas on the page, then you can go back and shape them exactly how you want. 

2. Establish your theme 

Now that you’ve got some basic ideas down on the page, it’s time to lock in on a theme. Your theme is a specific angle that reflects the central message of your essay. It can be summarized in a sentence or even a word. For example, let’s say you’re writing about how you had to establish a whole new group of friends when you moved to a new city. The theme for this type of essay would probably be something like “adaptation”. Having a theme will help you stay focused throughout your essay. Since you only have a limited number of words, you can’t afford to go off on tangents that don’t relate to your theme. 

3. Tell a story

A lot of great essays rely on a specific scene or story. Find the personal anecdote relevant to your theme and transfer it to the page. The best way to do this is by using descriptive language. Consult the five senses as you’re setting the scene. What did you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell? How were you feeling emotionally? Using descriptive language can really help your essay come to life. According to UPchieve , a nonprofit that supports low income students, focusing on a particular moment as a “ revised version of a memoir ” is one way to keep readers engaged. 

Related: College essay primer: show, don’t tell  

4. Focus on your opening paragraph

Your opening paragraph should grab your reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your essay. In most cases, this is the best place to include your anecdote (if you have one). By leading with your personal story, you can hook your audience from the get-go. After telling your story, you can explain why it’s important to who you are. 

Related:  How to start a scholarship essay (with examples)

5. Use an authentic voice 

Your personal statement reflects who you are, so you should use a tone that represents you. That means you shouldn’t try to sound like someone else, and you shouldn’t use fancy words just to show off. This isn’t an academic paper, so you don’t have to adopt a super formal tone. Instead, write in a way that allows room for your personality to breathe. 

6. Edit, edit, edit…

Once you’re done writing, give yourself some time away from the essay. Try to allow a few days to pass before looking at the essay again with fresh eyes. This way, you’re more likely to pick up on spelling and grammatical errors. You may even get some new ideas and rethink the way you wrote some things. Once you’re satisfied, let someone else edit your essay. We recommend asking a teacher, parent, or sibling for their thoughts before submitting. 

Examples of personal statements 

Sometimes viewing someone else’s work is the best way to generate inspiration and get the creative juices flowing. The following essays are written in response to four different Common App prompts: 

Prompt 1: “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

When I was eight years old, I wanted a GameCube very badly. For weeks I hounded my dad to buy me one and finally he agreed. But there was a catch. He’d only get me a GameCube if I promised to start reading. Every day I played video games, I would have to pick up a book and read for at least one hour. At that point in my life, reading was just something I had to suffer through for school assignments. To read for pleasure seemed ludicrous. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about this proposed agreement. But I figured anything was worth it to get my hands on that shiny new video game console, so I bit the bullet and shook my dad’s hand. Little did I know that I had just made a life-changing deal. 

At first, the required hour of reading was a chore — something I had to do so I could play Mario Kart. But it quickly turned into something more than that. To my complete and utter surprise, I discovered that I actually enjoyed reading. One hour turned into two, two turned into three, and after a while I was spending more time reading than I was playing video games. I found myself captivated by the written word, and I read everything I could get my hands on. Lord of the Rings , Percy Jackson , Goosebumps — you name it. I was falling in love with literature, while my GameCube was accumulating dust in the TV stand. 

Soon enough, reading led to writing. I was beginning to come up with my own stories, so I put pen to paper and let my imagination run wild. It started out small. My first effort was a rudimentary picture book about a friendly raccoon who went to the moon. But things progressed. My stories became more intricate, my characters more complex. I wrote a series of science fiction novellas. I tried my hand at poetry. I was amazed at the worlds I could create with the tip of my pen. I had dreams of becoming an author. 

Then somewhere along the way my family got a subscription to Netflix, and that completely changed the way I thought about storytelling. My nose had been buried in books up until then, so I hadn’t really seen a lot of movies. That quickly changed. It seemed like every other day a pair of new DVDs would arrive in the mail (this was the early days of Netflix). Dark Knight, The Truman Show, Inception, Memento — all these great films were coming in and out of the house. And I couldn’t get enough of them. Movies brought stories to life in a way that books could not. I was head over heels for visual storytelling. 

Suddenly I wasn’t writing novels and short stories anymore. I was writing scripts for movies. Now I wanted to transfer my ideas to the big screen, rather than the pages of a book. But I was still doing the same thing I had always done. I was writing, just in a different format. To help with this process, I read the screenplays of my favorite films and paid attention to the way they were crafted. I kept watching more and more movies. And I hadn’t forgotten about my first love, either. I still cherished books and looked to them for inspiration. By the end of my junior year of high school, I had completed two scripts for short films. 

So why am I telling you all this? Because I want to turn my love of storytelling into a career. I’m not totally sure how to do that yet, but I know I have options. Whether it’s film production, creative writing, or even journalism, I want to find a major that suits my ambitions. Writing has taken me a long way, and I know it can take me even further. As I step into this next chapter of my life, I couldn’t be more excited to see how my craft develops. In the meantime, I should probably get rid of that dusty old GameCube. 

Feedback from admissions professional Bill Jack

Essays don’t always have to reveal details about the student’s intended career path, but one thing I like about this essay is that it gives the reader a sense of the why. Why do they want to pursue storytelling. It also shows the reader that they are open to how they pursue their interest. Being open to exploration is such a vital part of college, so it’s also showing the reader that they likely will be open to new things in college. And, it’s always fun to learn a little bit more about the student’s family, especially if the reader can learn about how the students interacts with their family. 

Prompt 2: “The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

I remember my first impression of Irvine: weird. It was foggy, stock-full of greenery and eucalyptus trees, and reminded me of my 5th grade trip to a “science camp” which was located in the San Bernardino mountains. Besides Irvine, that was one of the few places in Southern California where you’d find so many non-palm trees. 

Of course, perhaps my initial impression of Irvine was biased, motivated by a desire to stay in my hometown and a fear of the unknown. While that was true to an extent, Irvine was certainly still a little peculiar. The city itself was based on a “master plan” of sorts, with the location of each of its schools, parks, shops, and arguably its trees having been logically “picked” before the foundation was poured. Even the homes all looked roughly the same, with their beige, stucco walls almost serving as a hallmark of the city itself.

Thus, this perfectly structured, perfectly safe city seemed like a paradise of sorts to many outsiders, my parents included. I was a little more hesitant to welcome this. As I saw it, this was a phony city – believing that its uniformity stood for a lack of personality. My hometown, although not as flawlessly safe nor clean as Irvine, was where most of my dearest memories had occurred. From the many sleepovers at Cindie’s house, to trying to avoid my school’s own version of the “infamous” cheese touch, to the many laughs shared with friends and family, I shed a tear at the prospect of leaving my home.

Moving into the foreign city, remnants of the hostility I held towards Irvine remained. Still dwelling in my memories of the past, I was initially unable to see Irvine as a “home.” So, as I walked into my first-ever Irvine class, being greeted by many kind, yet unfamiliar faces around me, I was unable to recognize that some of those new faces would later become some of my dearest friends. Such negative feelings about the city were further reinforced by newer, harder classes, and more complicated homework. Sitting in the discomfort of this unfamiliar environment, it started to seem that “change” was something not only inevitable, but insurmountable.

As the years went on, however, this idea seemed to fade. I got used to my classes and bike racing through Irvine neighborhoods with my friends, watching the trees that once seemed just a “weird” green blob soon transform into one of my favorite parts of the city. While I kept my old, beloved memories stored, I made space for new ones. From carefully making our way over the narrow creek path next to our school, to the laughs we shared during chemistry class, my new memories made with friends seemed to transform a city I once disliked into one I would miss. 

Through this transformation, I have come to recognize that change, although sometimes intimidating at first, can open the door to great times and meaningful connections. Although Irvine may have once seemed like a strange, “phony” place that I couldn’t wait to be rid of, the memories and laughs I had grown to share there were very real. As I move onto this next part of my life, I hope I can use this knowledge that I have gained from my time in Irvine to make the most of what’s to come. Even if the change may be frightening at first, I have learned to embrace what’s on the other side, whether green or not.

One huge plus to writing an essay that focuses on a place is that you might have it read by someone who has been there. Yet, what’s really helpful about this essay is that even if someone hasn’t been there, a picture is painted about what the place is like.  Admission officers have the hard task of really understanding what the student sees, so the use of adjectives and imagery can really help.  It’s also really clever to see that the green that’s mentioned at the beginning is mentioned at the end.  It’s a nice way to bookend the essay and tie it all together.

Prompt 6: “Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?”

I like getting lost. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Whether it be in the story of a love song by Taylor Swift, or in the memories brought back by listening to my favorite childhood video game’s background music, I’ve always appreciated music’s ability to transport me to another place, another time, another feeling. 

Alas, I cannot sing, nor have I practiced an instrument since my middle school piano class days. So, perhaps Kurt Vonnegut was right. As he puts it, “Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.” While I cannot speak for others, I have certainly not debunked his theory. Writing allows many, including myself, to attempt to mimic the transformative power of music – even if our singing voices aren’t exactly “pleasant.” Just as you can get lost in music, you can do so in a story. Whether it is in George Orwell’s totalitarian Oceania, or Little Women’s Orchard House, the stories outlined in novels can provide an amazing look into the lives and worlds of others, and an escape from the worries and problems of those in your own.

While I am certainly not claiming to have the storytelling abilities of the Orwells or Alcotts before me, I’ve had fun trying to recreate such transformative feelings for others. When I was nine, I attempted to write a story about a little girl who had gotten lost in the woods, only managing to get a couple pages through. As I got older, whenever I was assigned a creative writing assignment in school, I wrote about the same pig, Phil. He was always angry: in my 8th grade science class, Phil was mad at some humans who had harbored his friend captive, and in my 9th grade English class, at a couple who robbed him. 

Thus, when I heard about a writing club being opened at my school in 11th grade, I knew I had to join. I wanted to discern whether writing was just a hobby I picked up now and then, or a true passion. If it was a passion, I wanted to learn as much as possible about how I could improve. Although my high school’s writing club certainly wasn’t going to transform me into Shakespeare, I knew I could learn a lot from it – and I did. The club challenged me to do many things, from writing on the spot, to writing poetry, to even writing about myself, something that’s hopefully coming in handy right now. 

From then on, I started to expand into different types of writing, storing short ideas, skits, and more in appropriately-labeled Google Drive folders. At around the same time, I became interested in classic literature, which largely stemmed from a project in English class. We had been required to choose and read a classic on our own, then present it to the class in an interesting way. While my book was certainly interesting and unique in its own right, nearly everyone else’s novels seemed more captivating to me. So, I took it upon myself to read as many classics as I could the following summer.

One of the books I read during the summer, funnily enough, was Animal Farm, which starred angry pigs, reminiscent of Phil. I had also started going over different ideas in my head, thinking about how I could translate them into words using the new skills I learned. While the writing club helped reaffirm my interest in writing and allowed me to develop new skills, my newfound affinity for classics gave me inspiration to write. Now, I am actually considering writing as part of my future. In this endeavor, I hope that Phil, and the music I inevitably listen to as I write, will accompany me every step of the way.

Admission officers might read 70 (or more!) essays in one day. It’s not uncommon for them to start to blend together and sound similar. This essay might not make you laugh out loud. But, it might make the reader chuckle while reading it thanks to the subtle humor and levity. Being able to incorporate a little humor into your essay (if it is natural for you to do… do not force it), can really be a great way to shed additional light into who you are. Remember, the essay isn’t merely about proving that you can write, but it should also reveal a little bit about your personality.

Prompt 5: “Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.”

I learned a lot of things during the summer I worked at Tropical Smoothie. I discovered the value of hard work. I figured out how to save money. I even mastered the art of the Mango Magic smoothie (the secret is lots of sugar). But most importantly, I learned the power of perspective. And I have Deja to thank for that. 

Deja was my shift supervisor, and one of Tropical Smoothie’s best employees. She was punctual, friendly, and always willing to lend a helping hand. She knew the store from top to bottom, and could handle pretty much any situation thrown her way. She made everyone around her better. On top of all that, she was four months pregnant! I was always impressed by Deja’s work ethic, but I gained an entirely new level of respect for her one day.

It was a Friday night, and Deja and I were working the closing shift together. It was very busy, and Deja and I were the only ones on shift. We managed to get by, but we were exhausted by the end of the evening. After wiping down the counters and mopping the floors, we closed up shop and went our separate ways. I was eager to get home. 

I walked a couple blocks to where I had parked my car. Well, it wasn’t my car actually. It was my dad’s ‘98 Chevy pickup truck, and it was in rough shape. It had no heat or A/C, the leather seats were cracked beyond repair, and the driver’s side door was jammed shut. I sighed as I got in through the passenger side and scooted over to the driver’s seat. The whole reason I was working at Tropical Smoothie was to save up enough money to buy my own car. I was hoping to have something more respectable to drive during my senior year of high school. 

I cranked the old thing up and started on my way home. But soon enough, I spotted Deja walking on the side of the road. There was no sidewalk here, the light was low, and she was dangerously close to the passing cars. I pulled over and offered her a ride. She got in and explained that she was on her way home. Apparently she didn’t have a car and had been walking to work every day. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was complaining about my set of wheels, while Deja didn’t have any to begin with.

We got to talking, and she confessed that she had been having a tough time. You would never know from the way she was so cheerful at work, but Deja had a lot on her plate. She was taking care of her mother, her boyfriend had just lost his job, and she was worried about making ends meet. And of course, she was expecting a baby in five months. On top of all that, she had been walking nearly a mile to and from work every day. The whole thing was a real eye opener, and made me reconsider some things in my own life. 

For one, I didn’t mind driving my dad’s truck anymore. It was banged up, sure, but it was a lot better than nothing. My mindset had changed. I appreciated the truck now. I began to think about other things differently, too. I started making mental notes of all the things in my life I was thankful for — my family, my friends, my health. I became grateful for what I had, instead of obsessing over the things I didn’t. 

I also gained more awareness of the world outside my own little bubble. My encounter with Deja had shown me first-hand that everyone is dealing with their own problems, some worse than others. So I started paying more attention to my friends, family members, and coworkers. I started listening more and asking how I could help. I also gave Deja a ride home for the rest of the summer. 

These are all small things, of course, but I think they make a difference. I realized I’m at my best when I’m not fixated on my own life, but when I’m considerate of the lives around me. I want to keep this in mind as I continue to grow and develop as a person. I want to continue to search for ways to support the people around me. And most importantly, I want to keep things in perspective.

Too often we can be focused on our own problems that we fail to realize that everyone has their own things going on in their lives, too.  This essay showcases how it’s important to put things in perspective, a skill that certainly will prove invaluable in college… and not just in the classroom.  Another reason I like this essay is because it provides deeper insight into the student’s life.  Sure, you might have mentioned in your activities list that you have a job.  But as this essay does, you can show why you have the job in the first place, what your responsibilities are, and more.

A few last tips

We hope these essay examples gave you a bit of inspiration of what to include in your own. However, before you go, we’d like to send you off with a few (personal statement) writing tips to help you make your essays as lovely as the memories and anecdotes they’re based off of. Without further ado, here are some of our best tips for writing your personal statements:

1. Open strong

College admissions officers read many, many essays (think 50+) a day, which can sometimes cause them to start blending together and sounding alike. One way to avoid your essay from simply fading into the background is to start strong. This means opening your essay with something memorable, whether an interesting personal anecdote, a descriptive setting, or anything else that you think would catch a reader’s attention (so long as it’s not inappropriate). Not only might this help college admissions officers better remember your essay, but it will also make them curious about what the rest of your essay will entail.

2. Be authentic

Perhaps most important when it comes to writing personal statement essays is to maintain your authenticity. Ultimately, your essays should reflect your unique stories and quirks that make you who you are, and should help college admissions officers determine whether you’d truly be a good fit for their school or not. So, don’t stress trying to figure out what colleges are looking for. Be yourself, and let the colleges come to you!

3. Strong writing

This one may seem a little obvious, but strong writing will certainly appeal to colleges. Not only will it make your essay more compelling, but it may show colleges that you’re ready for college-level essay writing (that you’ll likely have to do a lot of). Just remember that good writing is not limited to grammar. Using captivating detail and descriptions are a huge part of making your essay seem more like a story than a lecture.

4. Proofread

Last but not least, remember to proofread! Make sure your essay contains no errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. When you’re done proofreading your essay yourself, we would also recommend that you ask a teacher, parent, or other grammatically savvy person to proofread your essay as well.

Final thoughts 

With those in hand, we hope you now have a better sense of how to write your personal statement. While your grades and test scores are important when it comes to college admissions, it’s really your essays that can “make” or “break” your application. 

Although this may make it seem like a daunting task, writing an amazing personal statement essay is all about effort. Thus, so long as you start early, follow the advice listed above, and dedicate your time and effort to it, it’s entirely possible to write an essay that perfectly encapsulates you. Good luck, and happy writing!

Also see:  Scholarships360’s free scholarships search tool

Key Takeaways

  • It may take some people longer than others to know what they want to write about, but remember that everyone, including you, has something unique to write about!
  • Personal statements should be personal, which means you should avoid being too general and really strive to show off what makes you “you”
  • Time and effort are two of the most important things you can put into your personal statement to ensure that it is the best representation of yourself
  • Don’t forget to ask people who know you to read your work before you submit; they should be able to tell you better than anyone if you are truly shining through!

Frequently asked questions about writing personal statements 

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How To Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out

How To Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out

Table of contents

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

Laura Jane Bradbury

A personal statement is a chance to highlight your unique qualities, skills, and experiences, all while showcasing your personality.

But whether you're applying for university, a job, or funding, it can be daunting to write about yourself. To increase your chances of getting accepted, it's important to know how to create an effective personal statement.

In my six years as a copywriter, I’ve written many personal statements that get results. In this article, I’ll guide you through what to include, what to avoid, and how to tailor a personal statement based on your application type.

Key Takeaways

  • A personal statement is an opportunity to share your unique qualities, experiences, and skills.
  • It should always relate to the course, job, or funding you are applying for.
  • Include accomplishments and experiences that demonstrate how suited you are to the position or course you are applying for.
  • Use clear and simple language to ensure your points are understood.

Your personal statement should be concise and demonstrate how you fit the position or opportunity you’re applying for. It’s important to keep information relevant, rather than listing all of your skills and accomplishments.

Follow these steps to accurately write and tailor your statement.

Understand your prompt

Before you start, make sure you understand what's expected of you. Are there specific instructions, keywords, or phrases that stand out in your prompt? Read through it thoroughly and note the requirements. You can then brainstorm ideas for each point.

Let's say I'm applying for a university journalism course. I've been asked to write a statement that shares why I'm interested and why I would be a good fit. I can use columns to plan my content:

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

Putting your ideas together first makes it easier to stay on track. Otherwise, you might lose focus and include irrelevant information. 

Show, don't just tell

Once you’ve listed your experiences, skills, and accomplishments, consider how you can demonstrate them with examples. Take a look at the list you created during the previous exercise and organize your points so you have clear examples and proof.

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

This technique helps you demonstrate your experiences and how they tie in with your application.

When telling anecdotes, use engaging stories that demonstrate your skills. For instance, a story about how I handled a fast-paced news internship proves I work well under pressure. 

Start strong

Recruiters, application tutors, and funders read lots of personal statements. You can make yours stand out with an engaging introduction.

Examples of a strong opening include:

A meaningful statistic

This draws readers in and increases credibility: 

"Communication is the key to marketing success, according to Business Marketing News. With five years of experience communicating and delivering campaigns to global clients, I have the skills and passion to add value to your team."

A personal story

Anecdotes connect the reader with the author’s real-life experience: 

"My first exposure to microbiology was during my time as a research assistant for a microbiologist. I was fascinated by the complex and intricate processes within cells."

An alarming statement

This piques the reader’s interest by making an issue seem urgent:  

“ The fashion industry churns out clothes at an alarming rate, causing mass production of synthetic fibers and harsh chemicals which have a detrimental impact on the planet. Funding my sustainability initiative is vital to mitigating this environmental impact." 

Avoid cliches such as "From a young age, I have always loved...." and "For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for..."

Pro tip: Use Wordtune Editor 's Shorten feature to cut unnecessary fluff and make your intro sharper. Simply type in your sentence and click Shorten to receive suggestions.

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

Get Wordtune for free > Get Wordtune for free >

Admission committees and employers appreciate sincerity and authenticity. While it may be tempting, avoid exaggeration. You can better emphasize your skills and personality by being honest. For instance, rather than claiming I read every type of newspaper in my journalism application, I can focus on my dedication to reading The New York Times.

Your writing style should also feel genuine. Instead of trying to impress with complex language and fancy words, keep sentences simple and direct . This makes them more effective because they’re easier to read. 

Address weaknesses

Addressing weaknesses can show your willingness to confront challenges. It also gives you a chance to share efforts you have made for improvement. When explaining a weakness, exclude excuses.

Instead of saying "I didn't achieve my expected grades due to work commitments impacting my studies," try “While I didn't achieve my expected grades, I am now working with a tutor to help me understand my weak areas so I can succeed in your program.”

Wordtune’s Spices feature can help you develop counterarguments to weaknesses. In the Editor, highlight your text, click on Spices, and then Counterargument . Here’s an example:

Wordtune Editor’s Spices feature can provide a counterargument to help you address weaknesses in a personal statement.

Using Wordtune’s suggestion, I can highlight my eagerness to learn and provide examples to support my argument.

Highlight achievements

This is your chance to shine! A personal statement should highlight your best qualities — provided they relate to your prompt.

Ask yourself:

  • What are your skills and strengths? Identify both academic and non-academic abilities such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork.
  • What challenges have you faced? Reflect on how you have overcome significant challenges and how these experiences have helped you grow. For example, completing a course, learning a new language, or starting a business.
  • What are your unique selling points? Consider what sets you apart from other applicants. For example, you may have a unique set of technical skills or experience learning in a different country.
  • How have your achievements shaped your goals and aspirations? Sharing your goals shows that you think long-term and have taken the time to make sure you’re applying for the right opportunity.

Connect with the institution or company

Tailor your statement to the specific institution or company you're applying to — this shows you understand their values and have carefully considered where you want to seek opportunities.

To do this, head to the company or institution’s website and look for the About page. Many organizations include a mission statement on this page that conveys its purpose and values.

Princeton University’s “In service of humanity” page highlights that they value supporting society and giving back.

For example, universities often include their values under “Community” or “Student Life” sections. Here, Princeton University’s “In Service of Humanity” section highlights how they value using education to benefit society. Applicants can engage with this by explaining how they interact with their communities and seek to use their education to help others.

You can also research a company or institution’s social media. Look for similarities — maybe you both prioritize collaboration or think outside the box. Draw upon this in your personal statement. 

End with a strong conclusion

A strong conclusion is clear, concise, and leaves a lasting impression. Use these three steps:

  • Summarize the main points of your statement. For example, “My experience volunteering for the school newspaper, along with my communication skills and enthusiasm for writing, make me an ideal student for your university."
  • Discuss your future . Share your future ambitions to remind the reader that you’ve carefully considered how the opportunity fits into your plans.
  • Include a closing statement. End on a positive note and offer the reader a final explanation for why you would be a great match. For instance, “Thank you for reviewing my statement. I am confident my skills and experience align with the role and your company culture.”

Tip: Learn more about writing an effective conclusion with our handy guide . 

Different types of personal statements

Now you know how to write a personal statement, let’s look at what to focus on depending on your application type.

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

The length of your personal statement will vary depending on the type. Generally, it should be around 500 words to 650 words . However, a university application is often longer than a statement for a job, so it’s vital to determine what is expected of you from the beginning.

Whatever the length, it’s important to remove and edit content fluff , including any repetition or copy that does not relate to your prompt.

Personal statement checklist

Use this checklist to ensure that your statement includes: 

  • An engaging introduction.
  • Clear examples of your experiences, skills, and expertise. 
  • A commitment to improvement, if required.
  • Any applicable achievements. 
  • A direct connection to the company or institution’s values.
  • A strong conclusion that summarizes information without adding new content.
  • Authentic, simple language.

Personal statements are an opportunity to delve deeper and share who you are beyond your grades or resume experience. Demonstrate your ability with anecdotes and examples, address any weaknesses, and remember to use genuine and simple language. This is your place to shine, so follow our tips while displaying your unique personality, and you’ll be sure to stand out from the crowd.

Want to get started and create a powerful introduction? Read our step-by-step guide .

What is the difference between a cover letter and a personal statement?

A cover letter expresses your interest in a position and introduces you to an employer. It’s typically shorter and focuses on your qualifications, skills, and experience for a particular role. A personal statement, however, is common for a job, internship, funding, or university application. It explores your background, goals, and aspirations, as well as your skills and experience.

What is the purpose of a personal statement?

A personal statement is an opportunity to stand out by detailing your background, experiences, and aspirations. It should explain why you are interested in and a good match for the company or institution you are applying to.

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Academic Personal Statement Guide + Examples for 2024

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You have a bright future ahead of you in academia and you’ve already found the program of your dreams.

The only problem? 

You have to write an impressive academic personal statement that sets you apart from a sea of applicants.

We know that writing about yourself might not come naturally. And when the academic program you have your sights set on is on the line, it doesn’t make it any easier.

But there’s no need to worry!

We’ve prepared this guide to help you write your academic personal statement and secure your spot in your program of choice.

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • What Is An Academic Personal Statement?
  • 7 Steps to Writing the Best Academic Personal Statement
  • An Example of a Stellar Academic Personal Statement

Let’s dive in.

academic cv

You’ll need an academic CV alongside your personal statement. Create one with ease with Novorésumé !

What Is an Academic Personal Statement?

A personal statement is an essential part of the academic application process.

Much like a motivation letter , your academic personal statement serves to demonstrate why you’re the right candidate for the course and sell yourself as a capable student.

Your goal is to show the admissions committee that they’ll benefit from having you in their university as much as you’ll benefit from joining the program.

Academic Vs CV Personal Statement

The term ‘personal statement’ can mean different things depending on your field.

In the world of job hunting, a personal statement usually refers to a few sentences that go at the top of your CV . This paragraph is meant to convey your top skills, relevant experiences, and professional goals to a hiring manager from the get-go and increase your chances of getting an interview.

However, in the world of academia, a personal statement refers to a more in-depth description of you as a candidate. 

In a nutshell, an academic personal statement shows the admissions committee your academic achievements so far, as well as what motivated you to apply and pursue this position.

Personal statements are also often required when applying for certain jobs, much like writing a cover letter . If you’re looking at a position as a faculty member in a university or other academic institution, for example, you might be asked to provide an academic personal statement.

7 Steps to Write an Academic Personal Statement

Preparation is the key to success and this is exactly where our guide comes in handy.

So just follow these steps and you’re sure to secure your spot:

#1. Read the Brief (Carefully!)

Academic personal statements aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all piece of writing. 

Typically, every institution has its specific requirements on what candidates should include in their academic personal statement.

To make sure you’re on the right track with your academic personal statement, read the brief carefully. Consider taking notes and highlighting important points from your program’s brief as you go through it.

Pay attention to any specific question the university wants you to answer. If you don’t address everything the admissions board expects, your personal statement will look sloppy and you’ll be considered an inattentive candidate.

Be sure to re-read the brief after you’ve finished writing your academic personal statement, too. This way you can make sure you’ve answered everything adequately and you’ll have the opportunity to correct any slips.

#2. Research the Program

Make sure you do your homework on the academic program you’re applying to.

You can’t write a good academic personal statement without research, let alone a great one. Much like researching your employer , taking the time to learn more about your desired school and personalizing your application can make a huge difference.

For example, you can dive into how your values align with that of the school you’re applying to, and how your experience and interests relate to specific things about the program. The more you focus on how you’re the right fit for this specific position, in this specific program – the better.

Carefully read through the school and program’s official pages since everything you would need to know is probably on the school’s official website. You can also ask current and former students for help but remember that whatever they say should never replace official information when crafting your academic personal statement.

#3. Plan Your Statement

An academic personal statement is meant to explain your academic interests and shouldn’t contain irrelevant details about your personal life.

Focus on why you want to study the course you’ve chosen and provide any information about your achievements so far.

Ask yourself the following questions to get the ball rolling on what to write:

  • Why do you want to study (or work) in this program? How will it benefit you?
  • How do your skills match the position?
  • What makes you stand out from other applicants?
  • What are your exact career aspirations?
  • How can you and your work benefit the institution you’re applying to?
  • If you changed fields, how did you decide to apply in this direction?
  • What insight can you bring thanks to your different experiences?
  • How will this change of field help your future career?

Write down your answer to these questions in the first draft of your academic personal statement.

#4. Look at Example Statements

Don’t hesitate to read other people’s academic personal statements online. They’re a great source of inspiration and can help get rid of any remaining writer’s block.

If you’re struggling to understand how to meet the language and formatting requirements for your academic personal statement, seeing actual examples is the best way to learn.

But be careful – don’t copy any lines you read, no matter how impressive you think they are. 

Most universities run every academic personal statement through intensive plagiarism checking, and even a paraphrased sentence could lead to your application being rejected for plagiarism.

So pay more attention to the overall structure of the academic personal statements you read, rather than copying the exact wording.

#5. Structure the Contents

There should be a cohesive argument that your entire essay follows. Each sentence and paragraph should complement and build on the one that comes before it.

The structure of your personal statement should include:

An intriguing introduction to you as a candidate

The introductory paragraph should grab the admission committee’s attention and keep them engaged.

Here you should be sure to avoid cliches like saying how you’ve “always dreamt” of graduating from this university or of studying this exact program. Instead, give an example of what really influenced you to pursue this dream.

Here’s an example:

  • I’ve always loved reading and since I was a child, it’s been my dream to graduate from Oxford University and contribute to the world of literary analysis. That’s why I spent the past year volunteering at my local writers’ society and giving constructive feedback during workshops and book discussions.
  • It wasn’t until I failed my first essay assignment in secondary school that I realized the depth that lies beneath each sentence in a given text. I began to delve into the rich layers of literary texts and the intricacies of literary analysis became my passion. Although initially challenging, the depth of understanding that this field offers about human emotions, cultural contexts, and narrative structures enthralled me. I found myself questioning the narrative structures and character motivations that I had previously taken for granted, and I was eager to understand how the subtle and often overlooked elements within a text could have a profound impact on its overall interpretation. This need to fundamentally understand a given author’s work has stayed with me since and led me to pursue literary analysis as a postgraduate student.

An engaging body

The main part of your academic personal statement should detail your interests, experience, and knowledge, and how they make you suitable for the position.

This is where you should expand on your motivation and use the following tips:

  • Why this university? Provide strong reasons for your choice, related to your future career or the institution’s reputation.
  • Mention your relevant studies and experience. This includes projects, dissertations, essays, or work experience.
  • Give evidence of key skills you have, such as research, critical thinking, communication, and time management, and explain how you can contribute to the department with them.
  • Say what makes you unique as a candidate and provide an example.
  • Explain who have been the main influences who put you on this path and why they’ve influenced you.
  • Mention other relevant experiences, such as memberships in clubs related to the subject, awards you might have won, or impressive papers you’ve written.
  • Talk about your career aspirations and how the program ties into your goal of achieving them.

Depending on the guidelines of the specific university, you could also divide your academic personal statement’s body with subheadings, such as:

  • Academic background
  • Research interests
  • Methodological approaches
  • Research experience
  • Personal experience
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Relevant skills
  • Career aspirations

A logical conclusion

Your academic personal statement needs a conclusion that ends on an enthusiastic note.

Make sure the conclusion reiterates the main points from the body of your text.

Your relevant accomplishments and desire to attend this specific program should be clear to any reader.

#6. Pay Attention to the Language

When writing the first draft of your academic personal statement, pay attention to the language and tone you’re using.

An academic personal statement is also a formal text, so your writing should reflect that. Colloquialisms aren’t appropriate, as they would take away from the well-mannered impression you want to give the admissions committee.

However, you also want your personal statement to be straightforward and avoid any complex jargon from your field of study.

For example, your opening sentence shouldn’t be overly complicated. You should communicate everything as clearly as possible, and be inclusive to those outside of your field of study since they might be on the admissions board that’s reading your academic personal statement.

Make sure that the tone throughout your text is positive and conveys your enthusiasm for the program. Your academic personal statement should show the admissions committee that you really want to be there, and why that’s beneficial to everyone involved.

#7. Proofread Your Statement

This step probably isn’t surprising to you but it’s worth paying attention to.

Your academic personal statement is a very formal document and it should be spotless. 

So, make sure it adheres to academic writing conventions . For example, contractions like “I’m” instead of “I am” are informal, and should be avoided.

Mistakes like these are very common when writing about yourself, particularly when you’re used to describing yourself in informal environments.

Carefully proofread your academic personal statement, then run it through a grammar checker like Grammarly or Quillbot, then proofread it again.

The tiniest grammar mistake or typo could make the admissions board reject your application.

Academic Personal Statement Example

Ever since my first encounter with the enchanting worlds spun by Flaubert, Balzac, and Proust, my intellectual pursuits have gravitated toward French literature. With an undergraduate degree focused on French Language and Literature, I have been fortunate to explore my passions both theoretically and empirically, embedding them within broader themes of cultural theory and comparative literature. It is with great excitement that I apply for the postgraduate research position in the French Literature program at Kent University, with the aim of contributing novel scholarly perspectives to this captivating field.

Academic Background and Research Interests

During my undergraduate studies, I delved deeply into the realms of 19th-century Realism and Naturalism. My senior thesis, which examined the dialectics of morality and social structures in Balzac's "La Comédie Humaine," was not merely an academic exercise; it served as a crucible where my theoretical understandings were rigorously tested. This research experience intensified my interest in the complex interplay between literature and societal norms, a theme I am eager to further explore in my postgraduate work.

Methodological Approaches

My academic approach is fundamentally interdisciplinary. I strongly believe that literature should not be studied in a vacuum; rather, it should be contextualized within historical, sociological, and psychological paradigms. During a semester abroad in Paris, I took courses in cultural anthropology and French history, an enriching experience that complemented my literature-focused studies. This holistic approach will enable me to contribute a multifaceted perspective to the research endeavors at Kent University.

Previous Research and Scholarly Engagements

My scholarly activities have also extended beyond the classroom. Last summer, I participated in an international conference on French Literature and Post-Colonial Theory, presenting a paper on the depictions of colonial landscapes in Dumas' adventure novels. The opportunity to engage with academics from various disciplines provided me with fresh insights and underscored the importance of collaborative research. Further, I've had the honor of having a review article published in the Sheffield Journal of Contemporary Literary Explorations, where I critiqued a groundbreaking new translation of Verne's works.

Extracurricular Contributions and Skills

In addition to my academic achievements, I have sought to enrich my department’s intellectual community. I served as the editor of our departmental journal and organized a series of seminars featuring guest speakers from the worlds of academia and publishing. My strong organizational skills, combined with proficiency in both written and spoken French and English, make me a versatile candidate capable of adding value to the French Literature program’s broader objectives.

To summarize, my deep-rooted passion for French literature, fortified by rigorous academic training and interdisciplinary methodologies, makes me an ideal candidate for the postgraduate research position in your esteemed program. The prospect of contributing to academic discourse at Kent University is an opportunity I find deeply compelling. I am especially excited about the potential for collaborative research and interdisciplinary inquiries, which aligns perfectly with my academic philosophy. I am fully committed to leveraging my skills, experiences, and enthusiasm to make a substantive scholarly contribution to the study of French Literature. Thank you for considering my application; I am keenly looking forward to the possibility of furthering my academic journey in this vibrant intellectual community.

FAQs on Academic Personal Statements

If you’re wondering anything else about academic personal statements, check out the answers to the most frequently asked questions related to them here:

#1. How do you start a personal statement for an academic job?

Applying for an academic job is different from applying for a position as a student. First, you need to establish your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role immediately.

Start by explaining your current status, for example, as a postdoctoral researcher or an experienced member of the faculty, and specify the position you are applying for. Then follow up with your research interests or personal philosophy towards teaching.

You can add a personal anecdote or compelling fact that summarizes your academic journey so far, or your passion for the field. After that, your academic personal statement can go deeper into the qualifications from your academic CV and how you’re a great fit for the position.

#2. How do I introduce myself in an academic personal statement?

The introduction of your academic personal statement is the key to grabbing the attention of the admissions committee.

Start by stating the field or subject that interests you, and why. You can share a specific personal anecdote or observation that led you to this academic pursuit and set the stage for the detailed explanation in your main body.

The goal of your introduction is to give the reader a sense of who you are, what drives you, and why you would be a valuable addition to their department.

#3. Is an academic personal statement like an essay?

Yes, an academic personal statement can be considered a type of essay.

Both essays and academic personal statements are structured forms of writing that are meant to deliver a coherent argument and are divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion. They provide supporting evidence to prove the point and maintain a logical flow to guide the reader to the final conclusion.

However, essays tend to be objective and explore a specific topic or question in depth. Academic personal statements use similar techniques but they present the candidate’s qualifications, experiences, and aspirations in a way that’s meant to persuade the admissions committee.

#4. How long is an academic personal statement?

Typically, an academic personal statement is between 500 and 1000 words long.

The exact length of the text varies depending on the university and program you’re applying to. You should always check the specific requirements for your desired program, and stick to the guidelines you find.

However, if the university you’re applying to doesn’t specify a word count, you should aim for one to two pages.

#5. What do I avoid in an academic personal statement?

Since your personal statement is a crucial part of your academic application, it’s important to avoid any common mistakes.

Make sure the content of your academic personal statement isn’t too generic. Its goal is to give insight into you as an individual, beyond what can be read in your CV . 

You should also avoid cramming too many points in your text. Your academic personal statement should follow a logical flow, and focus on the relevance of what you’re sharing about yourself and how it relates to the academic program you’re pursuing.

Key Takeaways

And that concludes our guide to writing an academic personal statement!

We hope you feel more confident when crafting your application for that academic program or faculty position you have your sights set on.

Now let’s recap what we talked about so far:

  • Academic personal statements are very different from CV personal statements. While CV personal statements are brief paragraphs at the top of the page, an academic personal statement is an in-depth text that details why you’re interested in a given position, and what makes you a good candidate.
  • The guidelines on academic personal statements vary according to the institution you’re applying to. Read the brief very carefully, and pay attention to what it says about word count and questions your personal statement should answer. Any mistakes here could result in rejection.
  • There are differences between applying for a postgraduate program and applying for a faculty position. But in both cases, you should research the exact place you want to apply to and adjust your application accordingly to match the institution’s values.
  • Always proofread your academic personal statement before sending it, even if you’re sure there are no errors.

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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

  • Ruth Gotian
  • Ushma S. Neill

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

A few adjustments can get your application noticed.

Whether applying for a summer internship, a professional development opportunity, such as a Fulbright, an executive MBA program, or a senior leadership development course, a personal statement threads the ideas of your CV, and is longer and has a different tone and purpose than a traditional cover letter. A few adjustments to your personal statement can get your application noticed by the reviewer.

  • Make sure you’re writing what they want to hear. Most organizations that offer a fellowship or internship are using the experience as a pipeline: It’s smart to spend 10 weeks and $15,000 on someone before committing five years and $300,000. Rarely are the organizations being charitable or altruistic, so align your stated goals with theirs
  • Know when to bury the lead, and when to get to the point. It’s hard to paint a picture and explain your motivations in 200 words, but if you have two pages, give the reader a story arc or ease into your point by setting the scene.
  • Recognize that the reviewer will be reading your statement subjectively, meaning you’re being assessed on unknowable criteria. Most people on evaluation committees are reading for whether or not you’re interesting. Stated differently, do they want to go out to dinner with you to hear more? Write it so that the person reading it wants to hear more.
  • Address the elephant in the room (if there is one). Maybe your grades weren’t great in core courses, or perhaps you’ve never worked in the field you’re applying to. Make sure to address the deficiency rather than hoping the reader ignores it because they won’t. A few sentences suffice. Deficiencies do not need to be the cornerstone of the application.

At multiple points in your life, you will need to take action to transition from where you are to where you want to be. This process is layered and time-consuming, and getting yourself to stand out among the masses is an arduous but not impossible task. Having a polished resume that explains what you’ve done is the common first step. But, when an application asks for it, a personal statement can add color and depth to your list of accomplishments. It moves you from a one-dimensional indistinguishable candidate to someone with drive, interest, and nuance.

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

  • Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and associate professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and the author of The Success Factor and Financial Times Guide to Mentoring . She was named the #1 emerging management thinker by Thinkers50. You can access her free list of conversation starters and test your mentoring impact . RuthGotian
  • Ushma S. Neill is the Vice President, Scientific Education & Training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She runs several summer internships and is involved with the NYC Marshall Scholar Selection Committee. ushmaneill

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Writing a Personal Statement for a subject I've never studied before

Posted in: Faculty of Engineering , Personal Statements , Undergraduate

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

So you've chosen the course you want to study for the next 3/4/5 years...WELL DONE! For me, that was one of the most difficult challenges when applying for university. But now schools and colleges are on your back asking whether you have written your Personal Statement and are throwing tips and ideas at you from every corner. Overwhelming right?

Writing a Personal Statement for a subject that you haven't studied before can seem really scary. However, it is really just like writing a regular personal statement. Almost everyone applying for the course will be in the same position and the Admissions Office will be aware of this. Take your time and hopefully, the following tips will make the task of writing a personal statement a little less daunting, especially if you have never studied the subject you are applying for.

Making a list of why you want to study the subject you are applying for is a really useful first place to start. And it is often a lot more difficult than it first appears. Generally, people have very different reasons for choosing to study a particular course and a unique Personal Statement can really help you to stand out from all of the other applicants. Reasons will differ from person to person but may include specific career prospects, a project that involved elements related to the course or even reading an article or book that is linked to the course and inspired you.

If you are struggling to pinpoint a reason, it may be useful to think about why you are choosing this specific course over the 100's of others available to you. For example, I chose to study Chemical Engineering after reading several articles by 'Engineers without Borders' and combining this with my passion for the sciences.


Place your cursor in this picture to check out the Chemical Engineering laboratory facilities at Bath

Now you have a clearer list of motives for studying the course, you can begin to draw on any experience you have gained that relates to the particular course. Don't panic. Universities recognise that it's extremely difficult for some students to gain specific work experience or be involved in projects related directly to their chosen course, especially if you are opting to study a brand new subject.

Think about any experience you have had and how you could make it relevant to the course you are applying for. And if you have had any directly related experience - definitely add that in. The team reading your Personal Statement want to be able to see that you have a major interest in the subject. If you are studying an EPQ or Welsh Bacc qualification and have written about a topic relating to your course definitely discuss this.

If you have no experience relating to the course whatsoever and are finding it difficult to relate any experience you have had, then it might be a good idea to talk about a specific article or book.

Photo of the FutureLearn web page entitled How to Succeed in your EPQ : The Nuts and Bolts of Completing your Project. There is an image of a large white nut and bolt on a green background at the bottom of the photo. The top half of the photo is mainly black and white writing while there is pink writing in the top tool bar. The black Future Learn logo is in the top left hand corner which is a combination of the words with a pink line drawing of some stairs.

You now have a list of reasons for studying the course and also a list of experience/hobbies/extracurricular activities you have that you can relate to the course. It's time to start writing!

This link is really useful and includes tips and what to avoid when writing your personal statement:

A few top tips:

  • The general rule for Personal Statements is that they should be 80-85% academic and only about 15-20% should talk about hobbies etc
  • Write 'reflectively', keeping the course at the forefront of your mind. The majority of your statement should directly relate to your chosen course
  • Make sure your writing is concise and succinct, a Personal Statement is actually quite short (approx. 500 words)!
  • Have a clear structure, and make a plan before writing the statement 
  • Avoid chatty language. Technical/subject-specific language will make your Personal Statement sound better 
  • Avoid using words like 'passionate'...these are generic and appear on every other statement. Use a thesaurus!
  • Read Personal Statement examples on the internet to get an idea of the type of statement you should be aiming for. Be careful not to copy it though! (This will also help to make your statement different as you can begin to spot generic statement patterns!)

Ultimately, your Personal Statement needs to be a reflection of you and needs to showcase your capabilities and interests. The key to a good Personal Statement is to make it personal!

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StandOut CV

Write a CV with no experience

Andrew Fennell photo

When you’re looking to land your first job, your CV needs to impress employers.

If you have little or no work experience, this can be tough.

But, with the right structure and approach, anyone can write an interview-winning CV.

This detailed guide, which includes a CV example, will show you how to write a CV with no experience, that will still impress recruiters, and take you one step closer to landing that first job.

  • CV examples
  • Structuring and formatting your CV
  • Writing your CV profile
  • Your education
  • Vital skills for your CV

CV templates 

CV with no experience example – 1

CV no experience

CV with no experience example – 2

Student CV no experience 2

The CV examples above show you the basic format of a CV, and the type of content you can include when you have no experience.

I will now walk you through how to produce your own effective CV.

You can watch the video below, or read trough the rest of the guide on this page.

    Top tips for writing a CV with no experience

  • Although you may have no formal work experience, be creative and fill your CV with anything that can demonstrate your workplace skills
  • Use hobbies, interests, after-school clubs, sports teams and volunteering to highlight transferable skills
  • Head your CV with a punchy profile to sell yourself to employers and explain why they should hire you
  • Make your hard skill such as languages, IT software and written communication highly visible
  • Provide lots of detail on what you have learnt in school to make up for your lack of experience

CV structure & format

The key to getting recruiters to notice your CV, is having a structure that enables ease of reading and allows them to quickly navigate your educational background and relevant skills.

Using sections to clearly identify your transferable skills, assisting you in securing an interview.

This infographic will support you in creating a simple-but-effective format and show you what sections to include in your CV

Writing a CV with no experience

Formatting Tips

  • Use bold headers, bullet points and sections to break up information and support recruiters in easily navigating your CV
  • Don’t over-design your CV with imagery such as company logos or headshots and instead keep to a subdued colour pallet and a clear font
  • Maintain a CV length of 2 sides of A4, don’t look to add irrelevant information to fill space and be comfortable with submitting a CV that is 1 to 2 sides

Structuring your CV

Highlight essential information within your CV by breaking up large blocks of text and working to a format that focuses on your relevancy for the sector you’re looking to apply to.

Stick to the below format when putting together your CV:

  • Contact details – Make your contact details easily accessible at the top of the page
  • Profile – Start your CV will a short paragraph summarising your skills and qualifications, engaging recruiters to read further
  • Education – Display your qualifications, especially those most applicable to the industry you’re looking to apply to
  • Work experience –   If you have any, detail voluntary experience or any part time employment
  • Interests and hobbies – Look to add hobbies that document your transferable skills, providing added value to your CV

You can always use a CV template , if you want to make the structuring process easier and quicker.

CV contact details

CV Contact details

Keep your contact information to the top of your CV, allowing recruiters to easily reach you.

Stick to the essential information as seen below:

  • Phone number
  • Email address

Remove supplementary information such as marital status, profile pictures or date of birth that aren’t required in your application.

Quick tip: You can save space and add some design flair to your CV by adding some icons to symbolise the contact details in your header.

Start your CV with an attention-grabbing introduction, summarising why you’re the ideal candidate for the positions you are applying to – in a punchy profile (or personal statement )

Give recruiters an insight into your background and core skills, making your educational history a focal point, displaying your interest into your preferred field – give them some good reasons to consider you.

CV profile

These tips will support you in producing your CV profile :

  • Research your chosen industry prior to creating your profile, making yourself custom-fit to the sector, adopting sector specific keywords
  • Your profile should be between 5-10 lines, you’ll be able to elaborate elsewhere in your CV
  • Avoid cliché and overused statements such as “I am punctual” or “I am hardworking” and instead, try to include key requirements from the job adverts you are applying to

What to include in your CV profile?

  • Qualifications – Make your education a focal point, considering qualifications most imperative to the industry you’re pursuing
  • Core skills – Document any transferable or marketable skills you’ve acquired in school or university, reflecting on strengths such as interpersonal skills , problem solving , or any skills that can translate into the workplace
  • Passions – Why are you interested in pursuing your chosen career? What makes you a good fit?

Core skills & achievement section

Underneath your personal profile, add a skills section that consists of your core skills, using two to three columns of bullet points to list these strengths.

Allowing recruiters at first glance to establish your most applicable soft and hard skills, which relate to the industry you’re pursuing.

Core skills section CV

Before putting together this section, look to research the industry you’re applying to, adding keywords that make you custom fit to that sector.

Student CV education section

When you’ve limited or no work experience , use your educational history as a focal point of the CV.

Represent the qualifications you have achieved as well as describing examples of coursework completed and including any specific accomplishments from your educational history.

Break up this information by clearly heading the type of qualification achieved, such as GCSE’ s, A Levels, Degrees or vocational training, the dates obtained and the school or college you attended.

Use bullet points to list the qualifications you secured.

Clubs and Memberships

Within your education section look to incorporate the clubs you were part of and your role within that group.

For example, whether you were the captain of a football team or a prefect at school, even considering adding any charity work you may have done.

When writing about these; try to draw out relevant skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication etc.

See also: Graduate CV – School leaver CV  – Skills based CV

Work experience

Although you may have no formal work experience – be creative and add anything that could be demonstrate workplace skills, such as:

  • Big school projects
  • School work experience placements
  • A Saturday job
  • Volunteering
  • Club or sports team membership

Quick tip: If you have no work experience, pick up a volunteer role so that you have something impressive to add to the CV.

Structuring your roles

If you have anything you could add as work experience – add to your CV like the below example.

Structure the information within your roles, by breaking up large blocks of text and using bullet points, and defined sections.

Role descriptions

Give an overview of your voluntary position, what were your duties or what skills you obtained from this experience.

“Working in a busy café supporting the kitchen and front of house staff to ensure customers have a clean and safe environment .”

Key responsibilities

Use bullet points to document any duties you had within a position.

  • Interacting with the waiting and kitchen staff to collect dishes and cutlery
  • Supporting kitchen preparations during opening and closing of the café

Key achievements

Document any key achievements whilst in these positions, add relevant examples integrating any facts and figures to verify these where applicable.

  • Achieved employee of the month, 2 months in a row

Interests and hobbies

Hobbies and interests

When you have no experience, your hobbies could help boost your application , documenting your transferable skills gained within them.

Emphasise involvement in any clubs or teams, describing the contribution you had and providing any result driven examples.

Impressive hobbies for your CV could include:

  • Being in a sports team
  • Being a member of a club (book club, chess club)
  • Writing a blog
  • Building models or machines
  • Running a marathon
  • Taking part in school schemes (e.g. Duke of Edinburgh Award )

Hobbies and Interests for cv

Look to display your personal pursuits, even if these interests don’t directly correlate to the industry you’re applying to, reveal how you can use the experience or skills gained within the industry you’re pursuing.

For example, if you’re looking to gain employment in technology then exhibit your passion for working with computers and the skills you’ve gained such as the ability to solve problems and work methodically.

Essential skills for your CV

Portray the skills you have obtained throughout your experience in education, placements or extra curriculum activities, explaining how these can transition into a work environment.

Look to include these fundamental skills:

Communication – the ability to speak with people of a variety of levels, whether teachers, professors, customers or colleagues

Organisational Skills – the ability to juggle studies whilst taking on voluntary work

Team Work – the capacity to work within a team to overcome obstacles and achieve common goals, whether in a school project or extra-circular team

Commitment and Drive – showcase your passion and commitment towards your chosen career path

Customer Service – a talent for putting customers first and going the extra mile

Writing your CV with no experience

When you have no work experience, your CV is your first impression in the recruitment process and your opportunity to display what makes you an ideal candidate.

Highlighting all aspects of your educational background as well as the skills that make you applicable for the industry you’re looking to transition into.

By using this guide, you’ll be able to produce a well-structured CV that will assist you in obtaining your dream career.

G ood luck in your next application!

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Writing a Personal Statement

Wellesley Career Education logo

Preparing to Write

Brainstorming, don't forget, sample prompts.

A personal statement is a narrative essay that connects your background, experiences, and goals to the mission, requirements, and desired outcomes of the specific opportunity you are seeking. It is a critical component in the selection process, whether the essay is for a competitive internship, a graduate fellowship, or admittance to a graduate school program. It gives the selection committee the best opportunity to get to know you, how you think and make decisions, ways in which past experiences have been significant or formative, and how you envision your future. Personal statements can be varied in form; some are given a specific prompt, while others are less structured. However, in general a personal statement should answer the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your goals?
  • How does this specific program/opportunity help you achieve your goals?
  • What is in the future?

A personal statement is not:

  • A variation of your college admissions essay
  • An academic/research paper
  • A narrative version of your resume
  • A creative writing piece (it can be creative, though)
  • An essay about somebody else

Keep in mind that your statement is only a portion of the application and should be written with this in mind. Your entire application package will include some, possibly all, of the materials listed below. You will want to consider what these pieces of the application communicate about you. Your personal statement should aim to tie everything together and fill in or address any gaps. There will likely be some overlap but be sure not to be too repetitive.

  • Personal Statement(s)
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Sample of written work
  • Research proposal

Preparing to Write A large portion of your work towards completing a personal statement begins well before your first draft or even an outline. It is incredibly important to be sure you understand all of the rules and regulations around the statement. Things to consider before you begin writing:

  • How many prompts? And what are they? It is important to know the basics so you can get your ideas in order. Some programs will require a general statement of interest and a focused supplementary or secondary statement closely aligned with the institution's goals.
  • Are there formatting guidelines? Single or double spaced, margins, fonts, text sizes, etc. Our general guideline is to keep it simple.
  • How do I submit my statement(s)? If uploading a document we highly suggest using a PDF as it will minimize the chances of accidental changes to formatting. Some programs may event ask you to copy and paste into a text box.
  • When do I have to submit my statement(s)? Most are due at the time of application but some programs, especially medical schools, will ask for secondary statements a few months after you apply. In these instances be sure to complete them within two weeks, any longer is an indication that you aren't that interested in the institution.

Before you start writing, take some time to reflect on your experiences and motivations as they relate to the programs to which you are applying. This will offer you a chance to organize your thoughts which will make the writing process much easier. Below are a list of questions to help you get started:

  • What individuals, experiences or events have shaped your interest in this particular field?
  • What has influenced your decision to apply to graduate school?
  • How does this field align with your interests, strengths, and values?
  • What distinguishes you from other applicants?
  • What would you bring to this program/profession?
  • What has prepared you for graduate study in this field? Consider your classes at Wellesley, research and work experience, including internships, summer jobs and volunteer work.
  • Why are you interested in this particular institution or degree program?
  • How is this program distinct from others?
  • What do you hope to gain?
  • What is motivating you to seek an advanced degree now?
  • Where do you see yourself headed and how will this degree program help you get there?

For those applying to Medical School, if you need a committee letter for your application and are using the Medical Professions Advisory Committee you have already done a lot of heavy lifting through the 2017-2018 Applicant Information Form . Even if you aren't using MPAC the applicant information form is a great place to start.

Another great place to start is through talking out your ideas. You have a number of options both on and off campus, such as: Career Education advisors and mentors ( you can set up an appointment here ), major advisor, family, friends. If you are applying to a graduate program it is especially important to talk with a faculty member in the field. Remember to take good notes so you can refer to them later.

When you begin writing keep in mind that your essay is one of many in the application pool. This is not to say you should exaggerate your experiences to “stand out” but that you should focus on clear, concise writing. Also keep in mind that the readers are considering you not just as a potential student but a future colleague. Be sure to show them examples and experiences which demonstrate you are ready to begin their program.

It is important to remember that your personal statement will take time and energy to complete, so plan accordingly. Every application and statement should be seen as different from one another, even if they are all the same type of program. Each institution may teach you the same material but their delivery or focus will be slightly different.

In addition, remember:

  • Be yourself: You aren’t good at being someone else
  • Tragedy is not a requirement, reflection and depth are
  • Research the institution or organization
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread
  • How to have your personal statement reviewed

The prompts below are from actual applications to a several types of programs. As you will notice many of them are VERY general in nature. This is why it is so important to do your research and reflect on your motivations. Although the prompts are similar in nature the resulting statements would be very different depending on the discipline and type of program, as well as your particular background and reasons for wanting to pursue this graduate degree.

  • This statement should illustrate your academic background and experiences and explain why you would excel in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (UMass Amherst - M.S. in Civil Engineering).
  • Describe your academic and career objectives and how the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies can help you achieve them. Include other considerations that explain why you seek admissions to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and your interests in the environmental field (Yale - Master of Environmental Management).  
  • Please discuss your academic interests and goals. Include your current professional and research interests, as well as your long-range professional objectives. Please be as specific as possible about how your objectives can be met at Clark and do not exceed 800 words (Clark University - M.A. in International Development and Social Change).
  • Write a 500- to 700-word statement that describes your work or research. Discuss how you came to focus on the medium, body of work, or academic area you wish to pursue at the graduate level. Also discuss future directions or goals for your work, and describe how the Master of Fine Arts in Studio (Printmedia) is particularly suited to your professional goals (School of the Art Institute of Chicago - MFA in Studio, Printmaking).
  • Your statement should explain why you want to study economics at the graduate level. The statement is particularly important if there is something unusual about your background and preparation that you would like us to know about you (University of Texas at Austin - Ph.D in Economics).
  • Your personal goal statement is an important part of the review process for our faculty members as they consider your application. They want to know about your background, work experience, plans for graduate study and professional career, qualifications that make you a strong candidate for the program, and any other relevant information (Indiana University Bloomington - M.S.Ed. in Secondary Education).
  • Your autobiographical essay/personal statement is a narrative that outlines significant experiences in your life, including childhood experiences, study and work, your strengths and aspirations in the field of architecture, and why you want to come to the University of Oregon (University of Oregon - Master of Architecture).
  • Personal history and diversity statement, in which you describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may refer to any educational, familial, cultural, economic or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education (U.C. Davis - M.A. in Linguistics).
  • A Personal Statement specifying your past experiences, reasons for applying, and your areas of interest. It should explain your intellectual and personal goals, why you are interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary degree rather than a more traditional disciplinary one, and how this degree fits into your intellectual and personal future (Rutgers University - Ph.D in Women’s and Gender Studies).
  • Your application requires a written statement to uploaded into your application and is a critical component of your application for admission. This is your opportunity to tell us what excites you about the field of library and information science, and what problems you want to help solve in this field. Please also tell us how your prior experiences have prepared you for this next step toward your career goals and how this program will help you achieve them (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill - Master of Science in Library Science).
  • After watching the video, please describe what strengths and preferences as a learner you have that will facilitate your success in this innovative curriculum. What challenges in our curriculum do you anticipate and what strategies might you use to address these challenges? (MGH Institute of Health Professions PT - They recently redesigned their curriculum)
  • Your personal goal statement should briefly describe how you view the future of the field, what your goals are to be part of that future, and what brought you to pursue an advanced education degree in your chosen field. You may include any other information that you feel might be useful. (Northeastern PT)
  • Personal Statement: In 500 words or less, describe a meaningful educational experience that affected your professional goals and growth and explain how it impacted you. The educational experience does not need to be related to this degree. Focus on the educational experience and not why you think you would be a good professional in this field. (Simmons PT)
  • Personal Statement (500 word minimum): State your reasons for seeking admission to this program at this institution. Include your professional goals, why you want to pursue a career in this field and how admission to this program will assist you in accomplishing those goals. (Regis College Nursing)
  • “Use the space provided to explain why you want to go to this type of program.” (AMCAS)
  • Address the following three questions(Though there is no set limit, most statements are 1–2 pages, single-spaced.): What are your reasons for pursuing this degree? Why do you wish to pursue your degree at this institution? How do you intend to leverage your degree in a career of this field? (Boston University MPH)
  • Please submit a personal statement/statement of purpose of no more than 500 words for the department/degree of choice. Professional degree essays require a clear understanding of the _______ field and how you hope to work within the field. Be sure to proofread your personal statement carefully for spelling and grammar. In your statement, be sure to address the following: what interests you in the field of _____ what interests you in a specific degree program and department at this institution and what interests you in a particular certificate (if applicable). Please also describe how you hope to use your ________ training to help you achieve your career goals. (Columbia PhD in Public Health - Epidemiology)
  • Because each Home Program requires significant original research activities in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, we are interested in obtaining as much information as possible about your previous research experiences. Those who already have such experience are in a better position to know whether they are truly interested in performing ______ research as part of a graduate program. Please include specific information about your research experience in your Statement of Purpose. You may also use the Statement to amplify your comments about your choice of Home Program(s), and how your past experiences and current interests are related to your choice. Personal Statements should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced). Make sure to set your computer to Western European or other English-language setting. We cannot guarantee the ability to access your statement if it is submitted in other fonts. (Stanford Biosciences PhD)
  • Your statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the Department of ____ at ___ University. It would be helpful to include what you have done to prepare for this degree program. Please describe your research interests, past research experience, future career plans and other details of your background and interests that will allow us to evaluate your ability to thrive in our program. If you have interests that align with a specific faculty member, you may state this in your application. Your statement of purpose should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced). (Stanford Bioengineering PhD)
  • Statement of purpose (Up to one page or 1,000 words): Rather than a research proposal, you should provide a statement of purpose. Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at this institution and your relevant experience and education. Please provide an indication of the area of your proposed research and supervisor(s) in your statement. This will be assessed for the coherence of the statement; evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study; the ability to present a reasoned case in English; and commitment to the subject. (Oxford Inorganic Chemistry - DPhil)

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How To Write A Personal Statement (With Examples)

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Whether you want to apply to colleges, graduate programs, or competitive jobs, writing a persuasive personal statement will give you a leg up over the other applicants. A personal statement gives you a chance to express your qualifications, motivations, and long-term objectives in a way that gets hiring managers and admissions boards excited to meet you.

No matter why you’re writing a personal statement, we’re here to help you stand out from the crowd.

Key Takeaways:

To write a personal statement, first brainstorm, then narrow down your ideas, and start with an intro that leads into your qualifications.

Make sure to proofread your personal statement before submitting.

Personal statements describe your interests, skills, and goals, with a particular focus on your passion.

Personal statements are typically found in academia, however some professional organizations may also request one.

How To Write A Personal Statement (With Examples)

What Is a Personal Statement?

How to write a personal statement, tips for writing a strong personal statement, questions to ask yourself when writing a personal statement, when do i need a personal statement, academic personal statement examples, professional personal statement example, personal statement faq.

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A personal statement is a written work that describes your skills, areas of interest, accomplishments, and goals. It is typically included with a college or scholarship application, and sometimes used as part of job applications as well.

Personal statements are a chance for you to show an admissions board or a hiring committee what makes you special outside of your resume . Think of it as an in-depth cover letter where you get to detail not only your skills, but why you’re so passionate about the subject.

Short of an interview, it’s the best way to show your personality in a way that (hopefully) convinces someone to hire or admit you.

When you’re ready to write your statement, there are a few ways you can approach it. We’re going to go over a seven-step process so you can keep your thoughts organized and work through a process. Feel free to switch up the method, so it works for you.

Understand the prompt. Before you put pen to paper, make sure you understand the prompt and what is being asked of you. If there’s a specific set of questions you need to respond to, make sure you frame your thinking that way instead of just choosing a topic.

Brainstorm. Think of some ideas and an outline before you start writing. Consider how you can answer the prompt you’re given and what unique experiences you can bring to the table. The more options you have, the better off you’ll be.

Narrow it down. An excellent way to pick your final approach to draft a statement would be to jot down a few sentences for each idea you had. This helps you tell what topic is easiest to write about or what you feel most confident. No matter how you narrow down your ideas, you need to settle on the strongest one to convey your qualifications.

Start with an intro. Once you’re ready to write, you’ll want to write your opening paragraph first. This is a chance for you to introduce yourself and let people know who you are. Try to keep this paragraph short since it’s just an intro, and you’ll have more space to get into your qualifications in the next paragraph.

Write about your qualifications. When you write about your skills, make sure you align them with the job description or the program’s goals or university.

You can expand this section to a few paragraphs (if word count allows) and be sure to cover your achievements, qualifications, skills, talents, goals, and what you can bring to the program or organization.

One to three body paragraphs should suffice, with scholarship and graduate school personal statements being the longest of the bunch, and job personal statements being the shortest.

Sum up your argument. Your statement is a persuasive argument for why the committee should pick you. It should be a compelling summary of your qualifications, and it should show that you have a clear desire to work for the company.

Proofread. Look for any spelling or grammar errors and check to make sure your writing is clear and concise. Cut out anything that doesn’t fit or help paint a good picture of what kind of student or employee you are. You might want to show your draft to a few people to ensure everything sounds right.

No matter what approach you take to writing your statement, a few things hold. We’ll give you some tips to make your statement stand out from the rest.

Write to your audience. Chances are you have a good idea of who will be reading your application and personal statement, so try to gear your writing toward them. Think of what will persuade or impress them and incorporate that into your writing.

Stay truthful. It might be tempting to exaggerate the truth or smudge a little bit, but make sure you stay truthful. If you claim to have skills or experience that you don’t have and land the job, it might be pretty easy to tell that your writing doesn’t exactly align with your experience.

Tell a story. If you can, try to weave your narrative into a story. Not only will it be more engaging for your reader, but it will also show if you can use your skill to create a story. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but tying everything together into a narrative will impress your readers.

Use your voice. To make your statement more personal and unique, you should write in your voice. Don’t try to copy examples of statements you find or let your editor drown out what makes you unique. Make sure you keep your personality and qualifications front and center since it’s a personal statement.

Get specific. Instead of generally talking about skills you have, find ways to show your reader when you used those skills. Being specific and giving examples will make your argument more compelling and show your reader that you’re a master.

Use simple language. Since personal statements are so short, it’s not the time for long and complex sentences. Keep it concise and easy to read. You don’t want to risk confusing your reader since committees usually have a few minutes to consider your candidacy, and you don’t want to lose their attention.

Sometimes, especially during the brainstorm process, it can help to ask yourself questions to get your mind focused. These questions can help realize what you want to write in your personal statement.

Some questions you can ask yourself include:

“Why am I interested in this application? What about it makes me want to apply?”

“What are my strengths and weaknesses?”

“What type of work gets me excited and deeply engaged?”

“What is my life story and how does it relate to this application?”

“Where do I want to go?”

“Who do I want to be?”

“What have I learned from my past?”

“How can I explain my past experiences?”

“How would my friends and family describe me to a stranger?”

“What obstacles have I overcome and how does it make me who I am today?”

Asking yourself questions like these will open up your mind to new ideas on how to write your personal statement.

You may need to write a personal statement for a university, scholarship, or job application.

University application. When you’re writing a personal statement for a school application, you’ll usually have a few paragraphs to get your point across. These prompts tend to be more open-ended and give you a chance to explain why you want to attend that school, how you align with their program, and why you are an excellent fit for the school’s culture.

A personal statement for a graduate program needs to be much sharper and more focused. At this point in your education, you’re expected to know precisely where you’d like to turn your academic focus and be able to communicate that efficiently.

Scholarship application. When you need to write a personal statement for a grant or scholarship application, you want to make sure you align your values and purpose with the providers. These can be tricky to write, but they’re like a careful balance between personal statements for school and work.

Job application. For work-related personal statements, you’ll want to focus on your skills and qualifications more than your personality. Employers are more concerned with how you can meet their skill requirements. Professional personal statements tend to be shorter, so there’s less space to talk about anything but your qualifications.

Here are two examples of shorts personal statement for graduate program applications:

From the moment I stepped into the lab, smelled the clean scent of fresh lab coats, and saw the beakers glistening under the light, I felt an excitement to learn that hasn’t left me since. Each time I enter the lab, I feel the same flutter of my heart and a sense of purpose. I want to continue to chase this feeling while contributing to a broader scientific knowledge catalog, which I know the Graduate Biology Program at City University will allow me to do. I want to continue the research I started in college on communicable diseases while gaining a critical education. City University’s program emphasizes in-class and hands-on learning, a perfect combination for my learning style.
As a graduate of State University with a B.S. in Biology, I have the foundation to build my knowledge and experience. While at State University, I worked in a lab researching the efficacy of a new flu vaccine. There, I managed other student researchers, worked as a liaison between the professor running the lab and students and managed the data reports. I am ready to bring my extensive experience to City University classrooms while learning from my peers. I am eager to begin the coursework at City University, and I believe I am uniquely prepared to contribute to the campus culture and research efforts. I look forward to stepping into City University’s lab in the fall and feeling the familiar excitement that drives me to pursue a graduate program and learn more about public health.

If you need to write a professional personal statement, here’s a sample you can model yours after:

As a recent graduate of State University with a B.A. in Communications, I am prepared to take what I have learned in the classroom and bring my work ethic and go-getter attitude to ABC Company. I believe that I have the skills and experience to excel as a Marketing Coordinator from my first day. My classes in Digital Communication, Social Media Marketing, and Business Management and my work as Outreach Chair of the university newspaper have prepared me to take on responsibilities as I learn more about the field. I also believe that my dedication to animal welfare aligns with the ABC Company’s goal of finding loving homes for all of their foster pets and makes me especially interested in this position.

What do I write in a personal statement?

A personal statement should include an introduction, your relevant skills/experiences, and your goals. You want to keep your personal statement relevant for the program or job in question. Make sure to show your passion and indicate what you’d like to do with the degree or opportunity.

How do you start off a personal statement?

Start your personal statement by introducing yourself. Give a brief snapshot of your background that also describes why you’re passionate about this field or area of study in particular. Another powerful way to start off a personal statement is with a significant accomplishment that immediately speaks to your relevant skill set and experience.

What exactly is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a brief statement that sums up your qualifications. A personal statement is a brief written document that university admissions boards, scholarship programs, and sometimes hiring managers require from applicants. A personal statement’s purpose is to show the reader that you are qualified, fully invested in the aims of the program, and have plans for what you would do if granted the opportunity.

How do you write a 500-word personal statement?

To write a 500-word personal statement, start by writing without worrying about the word count. If your personal statement is too long, look for sentences that include skills, experiences, or qualifications that aren’t strictly related to the requirements or aims of the program/job you’re applying for and remove them.

If your personal statement is too short, go back to the program, scholarship, or job description. Make note of the preferred experiences and required skills. For example, if you’ve included a skill in your personal statement without experience to back it up, consider adding a brief story that shows you putting that skill into action.

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Amanda is a writer with experience in various industries, including travel, real estate, and career advice. After taking on internships and entry-level jobs, she is familiar with the job search process and landing that crucial first job. Included in her experience is work at an employer/intern matching startup where she marketed an intern database to employers and supported college interns looking for work experience.

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If you’re looking for how to write a summary for your resume with no work experience , you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to walk you through exactly what to do, and then we’ll look at resume summary examples for entry-level job seekers, students and fresh graduates. 

How to Write a Summary For Your Resume With No Experience:

First, a resume summary is different than an objective . And it’s much better. Putting an objective on your resume is outdated and unnecessary. Resume objectives are useless because they don’t share anything the hiring manager doesn’t already know (such as “my goal is to obtain a position in the ___ industry”). So what we’re doing here is better and will help your resume stand out from people who simply put an objective. Whereas, the resume summary gives a quick highlight reel of your qualifications, education, and more. If you’re not sure what a resume summary actually is, check out this article on 10 resume summary examples . And while it’s easier to figure out what to put if you’ve built up some work experience, you can still write an effective resume summary with no work experience whatsoever.

So in this article, I’m going to show you how. What should go into your summary when you don’t have any work experience? 

1. Put academic accomplishments and leadership

What did you study? Did you just graduate with a degree? Mention that. If you took a leadership role in your class projects, or clubs/groups at your school, you can mention that too. Leadership doesn’t need to be in a job to get the hiring manager’s attention! Taking a leadership role in a sports environment is impressive as well. You’re not going to mention specific accomplishments in your resume summary usually (you can do that later in your resume), but you can say things like “proven leadership” or “natural leader”, etc.

2. Put your interests and passions

Are you passionate about startups and technology? Great, put that. Want to make a difference in the world, and focus your career on social impact? Mention that. This can include the grades you received, but also leadership positions you led, and clubs/groups you participated in.

3. Put “hard” skills

If you’re proficient in any tools, technologies, etc… you can include that in your resume summary. Don’t list 20 things. That’s what your “Skills” section is for. But pick the three or four things that are most relevant for the job you’re applying for.

Coming up in this article, we’re going to look at two resume summary examples for people with no experience. .. and in the second example, you’ll see how this would look.

4. Include soft skills

Are you great at analytical thinking? Do you love working as a part of a team? Are you great at multi-tasking and handling a fast-paced team environment? While these shouldn’t be the main focus of your resume summary section, they can be worth mentioning. It’s especially good to include soft skills that you see mentioned in the job description.

For example, if you see they mention wanting someone who’s great at multi-tasking in a fast-paced environment, and you feel that describes you well, then your resume summary is the perfect place to include this.

5. Put statements that will grab the employer’s interest and make them want to ask you questions!

If you mention leadership they’ll want to ask you more about your leadership experiences. That’s a good thing. Remember, whatever you put, they’ll probably ask you about. So as you write your summary for your resume, try to think about what you want them to discuss with you, and what you want a chance to talk about. And try to “tailor” your resume to fit the companies you’re applying to. If you’re applying to large corporations don’t start your summary by saying “Startup enthusiast”.

3 Resume Summary Example for Students, Fresh Graduates and Entry-Level Job Seekers:

In this section, I’m going to share three examples of how to write a summary for your resume with no experience. You can use these resume summary examples as a student, entry-level job seeker, or any job search where you don’t have experience:

Resume Summary with No Experience – Example #1: Economics Student

Enthusiastic, highly-motivated Economics student with proven leadership capabilities, who likes to take initiative and seek out new challenges.

In this example above, you’re showing that you completed your Economics degree and have an interest in the subject, and you’re mentioning leadership and making the reader want to learn more about this. You’re also making yourself sound ambitious and motivated at the end, which is always a good thing (I’m referring to the part that says “who likes to take initiative and seek out new challenges). Notice the format too. This is how I recommend phrasing it. Don’t say “I am a ___”. Just start with the descriptive words.

This is a simple yet effective resume summary example for students OR recent graduates.

Resume Summary with No Experience – Example #2: Fresh Graduate in Computer Science

Computer Science graduate passionate about data engineering and machine learning. Highly-capable leader, having led multiple Senior class projects to completion. Proficient in a range of modern technologies including Python, Java and Scala.

This is another good example of a student or fresh graduate resume summary that still shows your skills and academic focus, even if you have no formal work experience.  In this entry-level resume summary example, you’re highlighting accomplishments and leadership as a student and you’re also showing that you’re passionate about your work. Saying you’re passionate about data engineering is much better than just saying, “Looking for a job in data engineering.” They’ll know you’re looking for jobs because you applied. Taking up space to say it is a bad use of this area of your resume, and is why I never recommend having a resume “Objective” section. The summary exists instead of an “Objective” and is much better.

The example above also included some great programming keywords (Python, Java, Scala) to help get past any automated application systems and grab the hiring manager’s attention very quickly when they first look at your resume. If you work with any tools or technologies that have names like these, you can include it in your entry-level resume summary if you’d like. Other examples of tools/technologies: Photoshop, MS Excel, etc.

If you decide not to include these on your resume summary, make sure to include them elsewhere such as your Education or Skills section .

Resume Summary Example with No Experience #3: Math Student Graduating Soon

4th year mathematics student passionate about statistics and data analysis. Proven project leader. Active member of Boston University’s Mathematics Club. Speaker at 2018 “New York Young Mathematicians Conference.”

This resume summary example for students shows how you can list accomplishments even if you’ve never formally worked before. Did you participate in any clubs at school? Have you led any class projects? These are impressive pieces you can add to your resume summary with no experience formally working. 

How to Write a Resume Summary For Students/Fresh Graduates – Quick Recap

  • Skip buzzwords like “hard-working” and put real academic accomplishments instead, like projects you produced and tasks you led
  • Include what you’re interested in and passionate about to show them why you are applying for this position
  • Mention hard skills like “Java Programming” or “Excel,”  especially if they’re listed on the job description
  • Include soft skills as well like, “excellent at multi-tasking”, especially if you saw these keywords anywhere on the job description
  • Include statements in your resume summary that will catch the employer’s interest and make them want to talk with you and ask you more. Remember – the entire goal of your resume is to get invited to interview. So if you did anything unique like giving presentations, working in an internship , participating in a school club, etc., you can include this in your entry-level resume summary.

If you follow the tips above, you’ll have a great entry-level resume summary that will stand out and catch a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s attention so you can get more interviews.

After you write your entry-level resume summary, here are two more articles that may be helpful when job searching with no experience:

  • The best times of year to job search
  • How to create a great elevator pitch for job hunting

Biron Clark

About the Author

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More Resume Tips & Guides

Crafting the perfect resume for teens (template & expert advice), how to beat applicant tracking systems with your resume, what do recruiters look for in a resume, what happens when you lie on your resume 10 risks, don’t say you’re a quick learner on your resume, guide to resume sections, titles, and headings, 12 resume formatting tips from a professional, how artificial intelligence (ai) is changing resume writing, 22 resume bullet point examples that get interviews, are resume writers worth it, 7 thoughts on “resume summary with no experience: examples for students and fresh graduates”.

This site was pretty helpful in guiding me throughout my school resume, would love other tips would do well.

This is a great guide. If only schools were actually interested in teaching children real life skills like this.

Hi, I am a student who has been finding it very difficult to make resumes due to the lack of working experience. I am currently trying to find a job while studying at the same time. I am in University completing a certificate and will soon be applying for a BA in Psychology and Criminolgy. However, I wish to apply for a part time job in the fashion industry. Can you please leave me some tips about what I can do to ensure that I can find a job without needing experience.

Your page has really helped, Thank you.

Hi, I’m a job seeker with 2 years experience working as a cart collector at grocery store and an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems, is this a good professional summary?: “Reliable team member with a keen interest in information technology and other applications. Capable of handling multiple projects within deadlines. Eager to apply my professional and academic background as an Administrative Assistant at Bogdan Contracting.”

I’ve been job seeking since October 2018, I’m hoping I can start a career in tech support as soon as possible.

Hi Marcais,

I think it sounds pretty good. My least favorite part is the first word, though. “Reliable” sounds pretty average/boring. Sure, you show up, do your job, etc. That’s what I think when I hear “reliable”. But not much more.

I’d look for a better word to lead off with.

I would like to say thank you for making this article about writing a summary for a resume. For the past couple of months, I have been struggling to find someone who can help me with that because I don’t have a lot of experience in my field (i.e. engineering). I do have one question though. Is it appropriate to use first-person nouns in the summary section? I have seen people do that, but I find it quite odd.

Please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you.

Hi Frances,

I’d avoid saying, “I” if that’s what you’re asking.

Just say “Led team of 7 people to accomplish ___”

Just start without a pronoun.

Another example: “Highly-accomplished accounting professional who has ____”

Comments are closed.

Home › University › How To Write A Personal Statement? 10 Tips + Student Questions Answered › How To Write About Work Experience In Your Personal Statement

How To Write About Work Experience In Your Personal Statement

  • Published October 25, 2021

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Table of Contents

We get it – you’re dying to include your work experience in your personal statement, but how do you write about work experience in your personal statement ? Work experience is an essential component of your personal statement . It shows that you are passionate and knowledgeable about your chosen course. Some courses require prior work experience before you can apply.

So if you’re looking for a way to showcase your work experience, this blog post is just what you need. Learn how to write about work experience effectively in your statement to help you stand out from the crowd and get into the university of your dreams.

Female writing on notebook and in front laptop

Check The Course Requirements For Work Experience

Some courses require you to have work experience before applying (e.g. medical courses.) You may need to complete a certain number of working hours before you’re eligible. It’s best to check out the course requirements before writing your work experience personal statement. If you’re thinking of applying to medicine then check out our medical personal statement advice , likewise with our how to write a law personal statement .

With that said, other courses don’t require work experience. But it does elevate your personal statement if you have relevant work experiences to share.

Examples Of Work Experience

Man and woman passing donation box

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to writing your work experience personal statement is determining whether an activity counts as “work experience” or not. Here are examples of work experience you may need to include:

  • Extracurricular Activities

These are activities that are not included within your formal curriculum. Being a member of the sports team, debate club, Red Cross, or theatre group are good examples.

  • Formal Work Placements

Formal work placements are exposures to real-world experience. These are often required as part of your curriculum.

  • Volunteer Work

There are tons of volunteer work you could’ve participated in. Maybe you helped out at animal shelters, environmental conservation activities, or feeding programs.

  • Part-Time Jobs

Part-time jobs are significant for your work experience personal statement. Working as a customer service agent, freelance writer, or salesperson at a local store demonstrates a sense of responsibility on your part. Mention what’s relevant to the course you’re applying for! Competitions. Look out for competitions in areas that interest you, for example, design, writing, maths, or business.

  • Personal Projects

Your personal projects reflect what you love doing. That’s why there’s a high probability they’re related to the course you’re applying for.

If you love coding, you may have built websites. Love writing? Maybe you’ve set up your own blog! Write them down in your work experience personal statement.

  • Leadership Positions

If you occupied leadership positions in your organisations relevant to your chosen course, mention them! Universities are on the lookout for motivated individuals willing to take responsibility.

The list of work experiences to include in your personal statement hopefully helps, but make sure to check out our what not to put in a personal statement .

Writing down your leadership positions can take your work experience personal statement up a higher notch.

State Your Work Experience

Woman talking to manager at work

You now have a solid idea of relevant work experience you need to include in your personal statement. But how will you present it? Here are questions to eliminate writer’s block:

Make good use of these starters to kick off your writing. Brainstorm all relevant details of your work experience. We’ll sort them out later. And, if you’re wondering how to start a personal statement then wonder no more!

Discuss What You Learned, And Why It’s Essential

After stating the facts about your work experience, it’s time to get to the heart of the matter. You are writing your work experience personal statement not to brag about your achievements, but showing why you’re serious about your course .

That’s why discussing what you learned is essential. Beyond your role, share what insights you’ve gained that helped shape your character.

If you’re not sure how to start, let these questions unknot your ideas:

  • How did this position impact you?
  • What are the primary skills you’ve gained that are relevant to your course?
  • How does this experience influence your decisions in pursuing your study goals?
  • How does this experience relate to your general ability to succeed in your course?
  • What are the major lessons you’ve learned that are helping you grow as an individual person ?
  • What is your biggest takeaway from this position?
  • Are there significant interactions that impacted your desire to take the course?

After answering these questions, craft a powerful paragraph that demonstrates how deep your understanding is.

The more interesting facts you share about yourself, the better. Bring your work experience personal statement to life with vivid details that convey essential ideas about who you are.

Ideas For Essential Skills

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

You may be unaware of skills you possess that are relevant and essential for your course. To make sure you won’t forget to mention them, here are skill ideas common across fields:

  • The ability to communicate to higher-ups, colleagues, and clients
  • Perseverance amidst challenges
  • A sense of duty and obligation
  • Eagerness to serve the community, especially the marginalised
  • Critical thinking skills to overcome setbacks
  • Initiative to work independently
  • Knows how to work in a team setting
  • Shows energy and enthusiasm to
  • Motivation to work hard and do well

These are some of the common skills valuable across several fields of study. Among these, which describes you most? Go ahead and write about it!

Demonstrate Understanding Of The Course You’re Applying For

Your work experience should deepen your understanding of the course you’re applying for. Dig deeper and reflect on these points:

  • How is your course making a positive change in the world? If you’re eyeing health-related courses, explain how health workers significantly impact people’s lives. Do you want to apply for education-related courses? Relay a story of how significant educators in your life changed you for the better.
  • Mention the gaps and problems you see in the field. Do you see a severe lack of health facilities? Perhaps you’ve witnessed the challenges teachers and professors experience in the education system.
  • What do you plan to do about it? Demonstrate that you’re applying for your chosen course because you want to help solve the problems that you see. Convince the admissions board that you’re the person for the course by writing about your desire to be an agent of change!

Reach Out To People Who’ve Been Where You Want To Be

To enhance your work experience personal statement, reach out to people who’ve been where you want to be. University students and practising staff are the perfect individuals you can approach.

Set appointments with them and ask them about their experience. What is it like to be in their position? What are the challenges that they see? What are they doing to improve their field of study?

Best of all, solicit advice on how to write your work experience personal statement. What skills do the admissions boards search for?

Then go back to your personal statement and write about your new connections. Mention how their insights and advice shed greater light on how your work experience will help you succeed in your course.

Do this, and you’re guaranteed to show a richer work experience personal statement.

Read Up On The Current Situation Of Your Chosen Field

Soak up knowledge on the current challenges and breakthroughs of your chosen field. Read journal articles, news websites, and featured stories. You can also visit blogs written by practitioners or university students.

Make sure to cite authoritative sources and figures when discussing the status quo. Then weave the information back to your work experience.

Do you have similar experiences with the figures you’ve mentioned? Have they discussed situations you experienced yourself? How are you making a difference in the field? Will your perspective matter?

What a perfect way to build credibility for your work experience personal statement!

Check Out Work Experience Personal Statement Examples

You now have a rich draft of your work experience personal statement. But you’re unsure of how to word and structure it.

Why not check out work experience personal statement examples on the web? Examine how they presented their experiences and insights. Make sure to read as many examples as you can.

Choose your top 3 favourites and save them in your documents. If you’re short of ideas, go back to them. Don’t forget to highlight paragraphs, sentences, and words that inspire you.

Be Authentic And Vulnerable 

Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable in your work experience personal statement. The admissions board needs to know if you are genuinely passionate about this course or not, so don’t hold back!

But remember to stay authentic. Don’t overdramatise mundane events. State events as they happened, and share your realisations as they are. Authenticity is a precious factor!

Action The Above To ‘Work’ On Your Personal Statement

With the suggestions mentioned above, you’ll be able to craft a more compelling and impactful work experience personal statement. Understand that this is YOUR story. Don’t copy others’ work experience personal statements.

Make your own angle and spin, and rest assured that the admissions board will want to read about YOU in your chosen course!

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Craft A Standout CV with No Work Experience: Examples & Tips

9 minutes to read

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

  • 01. How to Write A CV With No Experience
  • 02. CV Examples For Students With No Experience
  • 03. CV Structure: What to Include
  • 04. References
  • 05. CV Format and Layout
  • 06. Tailoring Your CV to the Job
  • 07. Proofread and Edit

Looking for jobs with no qualifications? This article will help you learn how to write a CV without experience. It is still possible to get a role without some experience – you have to start somewhere, right? Many employers will be willing to consider people without qualifications if they can prove their work ethic and skills.

It can be tricky writing a CV when you don’t have any professional work experience to include. There are several sections you can focus on instead to help you stand out and land your first job.

Highlight relevant skills and use examples like CV work experience, no qualification jobs, and no experience CV. Discover tips for writing a CV with no experience, including CV examples for students in the UK. Creating a compelling document highlighting your skills, education, and other relevant experiences is still possible, as we explore.


How to Write A CV With No Experience

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you to create a top CV. Remember these tips when you are looking to create a CV with no experience.

  • Start with a solid personal statement or objective: Begin your CV with a summary of your career goals, skills, and what you hope to achieve. Highlight your enthusiasm, motivation, and willingness to learn.
  • Emphasise your education: Since you lack work experience, focus on your educational background. Include the institution's name, degree or qualification earned, dates of study, and any relevant coursework or projects. Highlight any achievements or honours you received.
  • Showcase relevant skills: Identify and highlight skills applicable to your target job or industry. These can be soft skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, problem-solving) or technical skills (e.g., proficiency in specific software or programming languages). Provide examples of using these skills in your education or other activities.
  • Highlight extracurricular activities: Include any extracurricular activities, clubs, or organizations you were involved in during your education. Focus on leadership roles, teamwork experiences, or projects demonstrating your skills and abilities.
  • Volunteer or internship experience: If you have volunteered or completed any internships, include them in a separate section. Highlight the tasks you performed, skills you gained, and any accomplishments during these experiences.
  • Include relevant coursework: If you've taken any courses relevant to the job you're applying for, list them separately. Mention specific projects or assignments that showcase your skills and knowledge in those areas.
  • Highlight personal projects: If you've undertaken any personal projects, such as building a website, creating artwork, or developing an app, include them in a dedicated section. Briefly describe the project, your role, and any outcomes or achievements.

The one holding a pencil. The elbow is resting on the table and the person is writing on a piece of paper in front of them.

  • Showcase certifications and training: If you have obtained any certifications or completed training programs, list them along with the issuing institution, dates, and any notable achievements.
  • Tailor your CV to the job: Analyse the job description and identify the skills and qualities the employer seeks. Customise your CV by aligning your qualifications and experiences with those requirements.
  • Format and layout: Keep the CV clean, well-organised, and easily read. Use clear headings, bullet points, and a professional font. Keep the document concise, ideally within one or two pages.
  • Proofread and edit: Before finishing your CV, thoroughly proofread it to correct any spelling or grammatical errors. Make sure the information is accurate and up to date.
  • Use a CV template or sample: To get started, search for CV templates or samples online designed for individuals with limited work experience. These templates can provide a structure and guide you through the process

CV Examples For Students With No Experience

Remember, even without work experience, you can still highlight your skills , education , and other rele vant experiences to showcase your potential to prospective employers.

Find part-time , easy jobs near you that don't require a CV. Overcome the lack of experience by showcasing previous skills and work experience in your CV. Explore opportunities like unqualified teaching assistant jobs or unqualified nursery assistant jobs.

Here are a couple of examples of student CVs that you can take as inspiration for layout, format, and elements to include:

University Student CV Example

CV example

Sixth Form Student CV Example

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

CV Structure: What to Include

Now that you've seen several sample CVs, let's look in detail at how to format your CV and what to include. Firstly, you should work out the structure from a practical standpoint. Where is information included?

Usually, you should include contact details at the top , underneath your name. Then, the personal statement, work experience if you have it to offer, and other aspects like education, personal skills, and possibly references.

In terms of the actual information to include, and the sections of the CV, we recommend considering the following. Most people use the following structure when creating a CV for a role if they don't have relevant work experience to put at the top of the CV:

Personal Statement

The first section of any CV should be a personal statement tailored to the role you’re applying for. Suppose you’re applying for a job as a receptionist. In that case, your personal statement should be completely different to if you were applying for a role as a sales assistant in your local supermarket. Ensure you edit this section each time before sending your CV out.

With a personal statement, you want to answer any introduction questions a recruiter may have: Who are you? What do you offer to our company? What are you aiming for in your career?

Here are some do's and don'ts to remember while writing a personal statement.

As the job you’re applying for will be your first or one of your first, focus on your skill set rather than your limited work history. Showcase what you know and what you can bring to the company , especially modern skills that young people may more commonly possess.

Try to go into detail as much as possible when listing relevant skills. For example, if you list IT skills, name the programs you’re good at.

A laptop, notebook, pen and coffee cup are placed on a table. Ready to be used.

As well as specific qualifications and hard skills, it’s also good to include soft skills such as confidence in public speaking, a positive attitude and time-keeping skills. Giving examples of times when you’ve used these skills can help back up the points you’re trying to get across.

School tables

You should include all your education achievements from GCSEs onwards . Giving an overview of the subjects you took and your grades is a good idea.

Employers respect high grades and hard work.

If you’re still awaiting the results, including the mock exams you’ve sat or your expected results . Make sure you list your results in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent events at the top of the section.

Image by Rubén Rodriguez

Hobbies & Interests

On CVs, a hobbies section is always optional. However, if you haven’t any work experience to include, then listing your hobbies and interests can be a great way to get your skills and personality across.

Opened book on birds with binoculars on top.

Make sure any hobbies you list are not too generic. Hanging with friends or watching Netflix isn’t going to impress the recruiter. Completing a sailing course or becoming a black belt in karate shows you have the determination and a get-up-and-go attitude and a level of dedication.

A good question to ask yourself when writing this section is: "Will adding this information help me get the job? "

Employment History

We're exploring the top tips when making a resume for students with no experienc e, so, if you have no employment experience, you can always skip this section.

However, if you’ve done some work experience at school or participated in a volunteering project , this can also be included, even if it was only for a few days. It shows that you have a willingness to work and some experience at least. Here are some examples of things you could add to this section with minimal work experience:

  • tutoring experience
  • internships
  • working in schools or as a teaching assistant
  • volunteer experience
  • student ambassador
  • student council member
  • peer mentor
  • event organiser
  • work experience placement/experience days
  • library assistant
  • sports team captain or coach

Once you've done a brainstorm on all the different types of relevant experience you could add to your CV, check out this helpful podcast for useful tips for writing a CV from scratch:

If you have no work experience, your school teacher or a family friend is an excellent reference option. Some employers will ask for references directly in the job advert. However, if this isn’t specified, then it’s perfectly fine to state that they are available upon request.

CV Format and Layout

A well-organised and visually appealing CV can leave a positive impression on employers. Consider the following formatting tips:

  • Use clear and concise headings for each section (e.g., "Education," "Skills," "Volunteer Experience," etc.).
  • Use bullet points to list your achievements, responsibilities, and skills. This makes it easier to read and scan.
  • Choose a professional font that is professional and easy to read, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman.
  • Maintain consistency in formatting, spacing, and indentation throughout the CV.
  • Keep the document clean and uncluttered . Avoid excessive use of fancy fonts, colours, or graphics unless you're applying for a creative field where visual elements are expected.

Two people reading and pointing at a laptop.

Tailoring Your CV to the Job

To make your CV stand out, it's important to customise it for each job you apply to. Carefully review the job description and identify the key skills, qualifications, and experiences the employer seeks. Then, highlight the relevant skills and experiences that align with those requirements. Use similar language and keywords from the job description to make it easier for employers to recognise your suitability for the role.

If you still have trouble creating a personal statement for CV with no experience, look at this list of 5 questions you must ask when writing your personal statement.

Proofread and Edit

Before submitting your CV, proofread and edit it for any errors or inconsistencies. Here are some steps you can follow:

  • Read the entire CV, focusing on grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Pay attention to details such as verb tenses and subject-verb agreement.
  • Use grammar and spell-checking tools to catch any obvious mistakes.
  • Review the content for clarity and coherence. Ensure that the information is presented in a logical and easy-to-follow manner.
  • Consider also asking a friend, family member, or mentor to review your CV. Fresh eyes can often catch errors or provide valuable feedback.

Our how to write a cv with no qualifications examples should help you to provide something that still looks professional.

By tailoring your CV to a specific job, paying attention to formatting and layout, and thoroughly proofreading it, you can increase your chances of making a positive impression on potential employers. Remember to showcase your enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and any transferable skills you possess, as these qualities can make up for the lack of work experience.

Get started on your journey today and improve your CV, even without a history in the workplace.

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating!

how to write a personal statement if you have no experience

Ben is a writer from the UK with a passion for all things relating to learning and tuition, especially music, arts, entertainment, and sports.

Frequently asked questions

📃 what to include on a cv without work experience.

If you have no experience in a workplace, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great CV! Include your education, as well as other personal achievements and things you are involved in within the community, such as clubs you are involved in. Any positions of responsibility you’ve held can be useful, too.

🕵🏻‍♂️ Where to find CV examples for students with no experience

Fortunately, we have provided an example above, or there are plenty of others available out there for people who want to see what others have done. If your school has a careers department, you can also ask them, they may have CV examples for students.

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  1. Writing personal statement with no work experience

    Here at the University of Sunderland, we know it's not always possible to gain the necessary experience before applying to university. Read on to hear our tips for how to write a personal statement when you have no work experience: 1. Demonstrate your passion, motivation and understanding of the course/role you are applying for.

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    1. Customize your statement. You don't have to completely rewrite your personal statement every time you apply to a new college, but you want to make sure you tailor it as much as possible. For instance, if you talk about wanting to take a certain class or study a certain subject, make sure you adjust any specifics for each application. 2.

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    A logical conclusion. Your academic personal statement needs a conclusion that ends on an enthusiastic note. Make sure the conclusion reiterates the main points from the body of your text. Your relevant accomplishments and desire to attend this specific program should be clear to any reader. #6.

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