As part of the assessment process, many degree apprenticeship programs include a personal statement stage, but these are more similar to cover letters for a job rather than a UCAS personal statement. Whilst UCAS personal statements primarily focus on supra-curricular activities around the subject you want to study, an apprenticeship personal statement should focus on showing off your workplace related transferable skills, through examples of volunteering, work experience, and extra curriculars.
1. Brainstorm: As a starting point, it can be a good idea to create a list of everything you need to include. It’s easy to forget key elements as you get stuck into it, so this can act as a checklist to ensure you haven’t cut out any key information in the drafting process. Be conscious of not repeating information - your word count is likely limited, and a lot of times details such as your academic record will likely be asked for elsewhere in your application.
2. Stick to the brief: Different employers will be looking to assess you on different criteria, so it’s important you alter your personal statement accordingly for each application to highlight the most relevant elements. It’s okay to re-use certain sections of your personal statement instead of starting from scratch each time, but don’t assume that just because those applications are to the same industry they are looking for identical things.
3. Emphasise how your experiences are relevant: When applying to apprenticeships, especially as a school or sixth-form leaver, it’s possible that you have none or very limited experience that is relevant to your field. Don’t worry about what you haven’t done and instead choose to emphasise how the experiences you’ve had have led to you developing transferable skills – whether playing a sport helped you become a better team player, or a part time job led to better time management skills.
4. Get the basics right: Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctation are all perfect. These are things you can easily check yourself using autocorrect or websites such as Grammarly, but it also means when you ask someone to proof-read for you, they won’t have to point out these obvious errors and can spend more time focusing on the structure and content. Also, ensure you’re sticking to any word count, font, file type etc requirements.
5. Add the personal touch: Recruiters read countless personal statements for a single job posting. What will really put you over the edge is being memorable – whether that’s the books you’ve read, the examples you use, or simply the passion that comes across through your words. Don’t try to follow an overly prescriptive structure, and instead focus on answering the questions of the personal statement in an authentic but polished way.
The most important thing to keep in mind when writing your personal statement is not to try cut corners! It is an iterative process, and you need to give yourself enough time to write a few different drafts, refine them, and get different people to proofread before you land on your final version.