Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 August 2009
This is a written exposition of your background, abilities, experience, interests, and potential serving to significantly amplify the contents of your resume. The statement usually should be no longer than a single page.
There are several reasons that mandate preparation of a personal statement:
It is a standard requirement for many positions, including applying for a residency appointment, as well as for a fellowship.
It allows you to elaborate beyond the concise factual information outlined in your resume.
It offers you the opportunity to emphasize in greater detail important special assets you may have, relative to the position that you seek.
It can make you stand out from other applicants competing for the appointment by making you especially appealing by virtue of your described assets and achievements.
Preparing a personal statement can be a trying and time-consuming experience. Thus individuals may procrastinate before undertaking this important task. The reasons for this may be:
Innate modesty. Many people take themselves for granted. They erroneously assume that others have talents greater than theirs. One should recognize that because all individuals come from different backgrounds and life experiences, each person becomes molded into a unique individual, with their own special talents and potential.
Self-praise difficulty. Putting down on paper your own attributes, irrespective of the valid reason for doing so, may for some prove unappealing because it seems to be an exercise in egotism.
Comparison impeding. There is a natural tendency to compare yourself to others in your situation who are also seeking a residency appointment. Those others tend to be individuals like yourself, and it is irrational to view them as being superior to yourself or think that you are not as appealing as a nonexistent idealized candidate.