Written by Nicolina Andall
This week, NEDonBoard is pleased to share insights from senior Solicitor, trustee and public appointee, Nicolina Andall, who attended our co-event with the Department for Education on 18th August. In this blog, Nicolina shares a few tips for writing persuasive personal statements. As her wise friend and former City colleague Bola Oladimeji always says “Lift as you Climb” – so she sets out here 5 key tips to make your personal statements and application forms really stand out from the crowd.
Solid due diligence on the role and organisation pays dividends
The more you know about the role and the organisation, the better you will be able to tailor your application to exactly what they are looking for. Really work at getting into their psyche. Tick their boxes – make it a no-brainer that they will want to see you for interview. Write your application from a really informed perspective. Side benefit of this is that it helps you do the sanity check that you’re SURE you want the role.
Open with a powerful statement that states why you are the perfect candidate
Tailor it to precisely to what they are looking for. Be specific about the qualities YOU have, don’t just list a load of generic points. For example “I am a 19 year Qualified Solicitor with experience of making senior level appointments through being an Independent Panel Member with the Ministry of Justice”. Now is not the time to hide your achievements! I haven’t been recognised by the Queen, nor do I have an MBE (one day?)… But you might! Use what YOU have got in your toolkit to make you stand out from the crowd so you can survive the sift and make it to interview.
Clearly address how you fulfill the criteria for the role.
Boards are looking to fill a specific skills gap. Take each criteria in turn and clearly articulate how you satisfy it. Don’t make people hunt for the information. Generic applications will definitely not cut it. As Delroy Beverley shared in his interview with Elise Perraud on 18th August: “Keep it short, relevant and succinct. Think elevator model – I want to know everything about you in 3 minutes”. Wise words.
Consider using the STAR technique for crisp succinct answers!
Situation, Task Action, Result. Helps keep you on track and on point. It also demonstrates that you are able to be concise, relevant and succinctly to the point! Key skills for senior level roles.
Get someone you trust to review it for you and provide constructive feedback.
Genuinely – out of love – I’m going to break it to you gently that you really can’t see your mistakes. A second pair of eyes will help you deal with any grammar issues, typos and maybe even help you choose better STAR examples. Humbling experience… but worth it!
I know this takes a long time – but imagine the excitement you will feel when you find out you’ve survived the sift, got an interview and you’re halfway to your dream role!
Best wishes with your written applications. Hope this helps….
NEDonBoard takes this opportunity to thank our guest writer, Nicolina Andall for sharing her tips with our members.
If you are a first-time NED, we invite you to visit our NED Accelerator Programme by NEDonBoard course page. The NED Accelerator Programme is a uniquely designed programme combining fundamental governance knowledge and experience-based advice to secure NED roles confidently and successfully. You may also want to attend our complimentary webinar “How to secure your first NED role”. Register your attendance now at this link for the next session.