The ‘Skills Development’ section of the
application form is the really key bit and your chance
to sell yourself to the employer. The other sections of
the application form have been quite limited and
have asked for basic information, but this is the
chance to elaborate on why you are the best person
for the job!
Remember the ‘Person Specification’ (PS) we mentioned above? This is
where you will need it the most. You should aim to address every point
you can on the PS in a concise and effective manner.
Also, make sure you read the instructions given by the employer. Many
organisations will now give very helpful guidance on how to fill in their
particular application form. They may want to you to refer to other things,
not just the person specification so always take the time to know exactly
what they want.
Everything you say should be backed up by an example. Just as in an
essay you would find sources and evidence to support your theories,
back up your statements by providing explicit examples.
Remember! Don’t just recite the PS word for word. All that shows is that
you are capable of mastering copy and paste.
A common mistake that is made is just making blanket statements e.g., ‘I
can work with a wide range of individuals’. This won’t get you very far.
What you need to do is explain why think or know you are good at
something, with an example. Instead, say something more along the lines
of, ‘I have demonstrated in my previous job roles that I am able to build
relationships with different people quickly and effectively. An example of
this is when I…..’
You should also try to use different examples – it gets boring if you refer to
the same job you had over and over again. It may have been a job
which is similar to the role you are applying for or something you have
done outside of the workplace e.g. helping at a kid’s camp, but using
different examples shows you have wider experience, can adapt to
different situations, and that you recognise your own transferable skills. If
you only have only had one job, and therefore can’t refer to other past
jobs, then use other examples. If you are still struggling, have you thought
about volunteering or work placements as a tool to increase your
experience? If you have, come and visit us at Volunteer Central.
Whatever happens, don’t highlight inexperience and NEVER say that you
can’t do something or aren’t very good at it!
The best personal statements will also not only give examples of how you
can do something but will detail the outcome of your input. So, as a
result of you demonstrating initiative in a certain way, the outcome was
that there was a specific improvement or benefit.
GOLDEN RULE : USE EXAMPLES!
The below statement is from the person specification, read on to see how to make it apply to your experience.
Experience in the area of frontline customer service
✔ Good examples:
- My time working at my local pub has given me a wealth of frontline
customer service experience in busy, high pressure environments. My
welcoming and helpful approach towards customers at all times ensured
I received a number of positive reviews on customer surveys. This resulted
in me being awarded employee of the month.
- I have developed strong customer service skills from my time working in
a receptionist role, in which I was the first point of contact for all
customers, and would represent the business to the public. I dealt with a
wide range of customers and queries and would need to use my
initiative in finding out information I didn’t automatically know. For this
reason, I decided to develop a document of FAQs to ensure I could help
customers more quickly and effectively, which other members of staff
have since utilised
✘ Bad examples:
- I have experienced in the area of frontline customer service.
- I will be great at frontline customer serives because I think I will really like it as I am friendly.
- I don't have any customer service experience.
- I think I would be good at customer service or I wouldn't be applying for this job (yes,
we have seen that more than once!)