Personal statement, cover letter, recommendation letter
Application Essay,Personal Statement, andStatement of Purpose – What Are They?
Application Essay• Application Essay, Admissions Essay, and Admission Essay (three interchangeable terms)• Range from 100 to 1,000 words• Have a very specific questions (vary wide depending on the specific school) - Why do you want attend our school? - Write your autobiography - Describe a time when you failed on something. What did you learn? - Questions may have multiple parts, and you need to address everything in your response• Commonly found on college and MBA applications.
Personal Statement• The PS is a general type of admission essay mostly on applications to medical schools, residencies, graduate programs, and law schools• Range from 500 to 1,000 words, line limit is 47• It’s about You and shall cover a broad overview on: - where the interest in the field of choice developed - how skills and experience have been built in that field - Goals/plans for the future• Many universities don’t interview applicants, so the PS gives the only information about you• Avoid covering information that is included elsewhere in your application such us: grades, employment history, test scores
Statement of PurposeWhile the terms “personal statement” and “statement of purpose” aresometimes used interchangeably, there is technically a difference betweenthese types of admissions writing.A personal statement provides a broad overview of an applicant, coveringelements from the past, present, and future.A statement of purpose is usually more tightly focused on the future. In astatement of purpose, applicants have the chance to detail their plans forstudy in a given field along with their short- and long-term career goals.Range (like a personal statement) in the 500-1,000 word range.Tip: When writing about goals, use language that emphasizes your readiness to accomplish thosethings. Instead of saying, “I hope to do X” or “I plan to do X,” pick a specific skill that you have orwill earn and use it to present the goal: “With the finance abilities I build through my internship, Iwill be ready to do X.”
Aim of the personal statement: many schools don’t have set GPA and standardized test scoresbecause they look beyond these numbers. They look for applicants who:- can demonstrate that they have taken fullest advantage of opportunities- care about their community- have developed special talents in other fields beyond their academic studies.Personal statement should reflect following qualities: Motivation to enter particular field Maturity and stability Intellectual potential Leadership qualities Love of learning Strength of character Special abilities or talents Achievements Diligence and dedication Integrity and honesty Sense of fairness Compassion
What are admission people look for?1. Do we want this student on this course?2. Do we want this student at this university?- Is the student suited to the course that they are applying for?- Does the student have necessary qualifications and qualities for the course?- Is the student conscientious, hardworking and unlikely to drop out?- Will the student do their best and cope with the demands of the course?- Can the student work under pressure?- Will the student be able to adjust to their new environment at university?- What are their communication skills like?- Are they dedicated to this course and have they researched it well?- Do they have a genuine interest in the subject and a desire to learn moreabout it? You need to answer these questions in your PS.
What do you want to study at university and why• Specific aspects of the courses that interest you• Examples of coursework you have completed• Practical work you have enjoyed• Books, articles, etc. you have read related to the subject area• Work experience or voluntary work in this area• Conferences you have attended• Personal experiences that lead to the decision to take this subject• Where you hope a degree in this subject will take you in the future• Experiences that show you are a reliable and responsible person• Part-time job• Business enterprise• Community and charity work• Helping out at school events and open days• Student clubs, Awards, Debate Clubs, etc. and what you have gained from these experiences
Your Interests and Skills• What you like to do in your free time• Sport and leisure activities• Subjects you study that are not examined• Musical instrument(s) you play• Languages you speak• Prizes you have won or positions achieved in your interests
What is the most important part of the personal statement• A good first sentence will get the reader interested and ensure they actually read your statement rather than skim it.• A good ending will ensure the reader remembers your personal statement, though it also helps to have a good middle section as well.• The first line is generally the most important piece of the statement.
The difference between the Personal statement and Admission essay• In the personal statement or admission essay, you are required to provide information about yourself that is not presented in your application form or recommendations letters.• An essays require you to answer a specific question and relate a personal experience to gauge your opinion on a particular matter. This is how the admission panel gets to know the applicant. In this way, an admission essay is limiting.• A PS doesn’t have a specified topics and it should provide all the information the admission people needs in the assessment and evaluation of your application. This gives you more coverage in writing a statement as compared to answering an admission essay
For EmploymentCover letter, covering letter, motivation letter, or letter ofmotivation- it is a letter of introduction attached to anotherdocument such as resume or CV. There are three categories ofcover letters:- application letter- prospecting letter- networking letterApplication materials usually consist from:• Cover Letter• CV or Resume• Employment Application• Recommendation Letters
Structure of Cover Letter• Usually one page• Header. Cover letters use standard business letter style, with: - Senders address and other information - Recipients contact information - Date sent after either the senders or the recipients address - Optional- reference section (e.g. "RE: Internship Opportunity at Global Corporation") - Optional transmission note (e.g. "Via Email to firstname.lastname@example.org"). - Salutation (e.g., "Dear Hiring Managers").• Introduction. Brief statement on the specific position desired, and should be designed to catch the employers immediate interest.• Body. - Highlights material in the resume or job application - Explains why the job seeker is interested in the job and would be of value to the employer - Discussed skills, qualifications, and past experience. - Special things to note such as availability date.• Closing. A closing sums up the letter and indicates the next step the applicant expects to take: - Contact the employer - Look forward to hearing from or speaking with the employer - A valediction (e.g. "Sincerely") - Signature line - Optionally, the abbreviation "ENCL" may be used to indicate that there are enclosures.
Cover Letter TemplateSalutationDear [insert name of hiring manager],BodyFirst paragraph: Mention the job you’re applying for and where you found the job listing.Middle paragraphs: Discuss your qualifications. These paragraphs should be specifically tailoredto requirements posted in the job listing. You might also consider including why this specificcompany interested you in the first place. Limit this section to two to three paragraphs.Final paragraph: Discuss the next steps. If you are going to follow up in one to two weeks,mention a specific date. If you would prefer to wait for their reply, say that you look forward todiscussing your qualifications further. Also provide your email address and phone number. Don’tforget to thank them for their time.CloseSincerely,[insert your name]
Recommendation Letter versus Reference LetterA Recommendation Letter and a Reference Letter are primarilyused to introduce a person, his/her skills, abilities, integrity,character, and interests, but there is a significant difference.A recommendation letter is usually given to a person applyingfor a job, entrance to college or university or scholarship. Theinformation is more specifically related to skills, abilities andqualifications than it is to personal characteristics.A reference letter is usually more general in nature and refersmore to the overall character of a person. The information ismore related to an individual’s personality and character than itis to their skills and abilities.
Recommendation LetterA “Recommendation Letter” or “Letter of Recommendation” hasan assessment of qualifications, skills, abilities, interests, andcapabilities of the person being recommended in terms of thatindividual’s ability to perform a particular task or function.“Recommendation Letters” are usually requested by someone,and are therefore addressed to that particular requester.Recommendation letters are typically related to employment,college admissions, or scholarship eligibility.Letter of recommendation - (especially American English) aformal letter or statement saying that someone would be asuitable person to do a job, take a course of study and etc.
Reference LetterA “Reference Letter” or “Letter of Reference” has a generalassessment of the qualities, interests, attitude, integrity,community involvement, and personal characteristics of aperson.Reference letter also is used to assess an individual’s characterand confirms details about an individual’s situation orcircumstances.Reference letters are general in nature and usually addressed to“Whom It May Concern”. If the name of the recipient is known,you should address the letter to that person specifically.
Requesting a Reference Letter• Ask for a reference letter from people who know you and your capabilities, such as former employers, teachers, coaches, community or corporate leaders, influential friends who have known you a long time.• Be sure to give the people you ask enough time to write the reference letter—a week to 10 days should be sufficient.• Tell them about your goals and what they could write that would help you to achieve those goals. Dont be shy, it is time to present your accomplishments!• If you dont receive your reference letters within 10 days of your conversations with the prospective writers, you may need to contact them to confirm that each is aware of your deadlines.• Once you receive your reference letters, send the writers thank-you notes. You should also let each writer know about your subsequent success and how much their letters helped you to attain your goal.
How to Write a Reference Letter• Explain how you know the applicant and how long you have known him/her.• List the applicants exceptional qualities and skills, especially those that are related to the applicants field of interest or job search. Give specific examples.• List the requesters competency in a specific field and/or prior experience, organizational and communication skills, academic or other achievements, interaction with others, sound judgment, reliability, analytical ability, etc.• Omit weaknesses. If you cant write a positive letter of reference, you should diplomatically decline at the first request.• State your own qualifications. Why should the reader be impressed with your reference letter?
How to Write a Reference Letter (continued)• Emphasize key points that you want the reader to take note of on the resume or application (dont simply restate what he/she has already written).• Do not refer to the applicants race, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender, or marital status.• Make every word count: a letter of reference for employment should be one page; a letter of reference for school admission should be one to two pages.• List your own contact information if you are willing to receive follow-up correspondence or answer questions.• Make the ending strong without overdoing it (don’t be biased or insincere).• Proofread! The letter of reference represents both you and the applicant.
Reference Letter Tips• Appearance• Specifics: be specific when you refer to his/her skills, attitude, personal attributes, contributions, performance, growth, etc. during the time period you have known the candidate.• Word usage: positive adjectives: honest, articulate, effective, sophisticated, intelligent, observant, significant, expressive, creative, efficient, cooperative, imaginative, dependable, reliable, mature, and innovative.• Avoid adjectives and adverbs such as: nice, good, fair, fairly, adequate, reasonable, decent, and satisfactory.
Reference Letter Tips (continues)• Attributes (by the National Association of Colleges and Employers):ability to communicate flexibilityintelligence interpersonal skillsself-confidence self-knowledgewillingness to accept responsibility ability to handle conflictInitiative goal achievementLeadership competitivenessenergy level directionImagination appropriate vocational skills
Intangible QualitiesList of following intangible qualities important when evaluatingjob applicants:• empathy• native intelligence• a divergent, abstract thinking style• a high level of commitment• the ability to be a "self-starter"• a high energy level• the potential ability to lead