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Writing a personal statement - word counts etc

(10 Posts)
PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sat 29-Aug-09 17:27:28

I have always gone on the basis of 500 words max for personal statement/why you want the job/competencies, OR, keeping it to one page.

However DH is completing one for a pretty good job and he is struggling to be able to evidence all the personal specification with adequate examples in this amount of words, or keeping it to one page.

It is typed, written in font size of 12.

I am editing it and cannot see how to cut it down any, as it is the bearest he could right without omitting essential information. I have adjusted the print margins etc to maximise the space on each page.

Is better to make it 10/11 and keep it on one page, or is it better to have it cover over into 2 pages and keep it readable at 12?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sat 29-Aug-09 17:36:03

Scrap that, we have decided it has to be a minimum of 12. Anything less is too small and is not recognised by the Plain English Society. Given the need to recognise diversity in this role, not a good idea to potentially exclude many people immediately!

I cannot read it well in 11, I got bored, so we presume it will get tossed aside by those shortlisting.

So, that only leaves 2 pages. Is that ok given the good level of role (manager level)?

If not, how on earth do we reduce it? I have looked elsewhere in the application to see if any information if duplicated elsewhere and have already removed anything that can be seen as a skill/competency/relevant experience elsewhere.

hatwoman Sat 29-Aug-09 17:39:47

as long as it's all relevant and tightly worded I think 2 pages is ok. Have you tried different fonts though? calibri and arial are much more readable than Times Roman so you might feel you could get away with 11.

llareggub Sat 29-Aug-09 17:40:21

Which sector? I recruit within local government and no one keeps their personal statement. I remember one particularly dire statement that waffled on for 12 pages.

2/3 pages is about average, and perfectly acceptable.

hatwoman Sat 29-Aug-09 17:40:49

also - has it got subheadings? imo it's better divided up. 2 pages of continuous text would be a bit much, iyswim.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sat 29-Aug-09 17:55:16

llred it is voluntary/charity sector, working on a collaboration with local govenment organisation so that is very useful info, thank you!

hatwoman the problem with sub-headings is 1) it takes up a lot of valuable space 2)there are too many potential headings to split it in that way.

hatwoman Sat 29-Aug-09 18:47:43

but hasn't he in effect already decided which way to structure it, albeit without explicit subheads? I've been on recruitment panels in the voluntary sector and I would much rather have 2 or even 3 pages of text that's subdivided, (preferably by required skills - possibly, where the skills are similar, grouped together) than a page and a half of solid text. Also, it can actually keep word counts lower - if not actual space - having a subheading "Communication, language and writing skills" can mean you cut some of those words from the text.

tethersend Sat 29-Aug-09 19:05:32

I would use arial, 10pt, single spaced, but with space between each 'section', whether or not there are subheadings.

Arial is perfectly readable at 10pt IMO

llareggub Sat 29-Aug-09 19:44:16

I agree with Hatwoman. If it is well spaced it will be much easier for the recruiters to read.

I'm afraid I can't agree with the suggestion to use pt 10. As Pavlov mentioned earlier, 12 is the minimum font size and in my organisation point 14 is used for any communication with the public.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sat 29-Aug-09 21:26:18

hatwoman - yes he has grouped together his skills into paragraphs - skills/experience = example, but it does flow more than say seperately sectioned blocks.

The thing is, he does not want to mess around with the layout too much, as he had a job interview for the last job at this place, and they liked him, said he was too skilled for that job and they want him to re-apply but for this job, so they do like the structure of his personal statement. But agree as you said 2 pages of text is harder to stomach than 1, so I will approach him with the suggestion.

He has decided, after playing around, that anything less than 12 point size would not be appropriate. He would be dealing with volunteer sector and groups of people who may well have literacy problems so smaller text would not necessarily look very accommodating, although ironically the organisation has sent all the email correspondance in 11 point!

So, if 2 pages is fine, he will do 2 pages, and will be able to answer some of the points more fully. He says he does not want to go over 2 pages under any circumstances as he does not want them to get bored!

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