“Personal Statement” and “Reflective Account” are phrases used interchangeably but they mean the same thing in NVQs, so I will be using ‘personal statement’ for the purpose of this article.
What is a personal statement?
You can split the phrase into two words, “personal” and “statement”. Let’s then take the words one after the other. Simply put “personal” means pertaining to a particular person, relating to or affecting an individual. On the other hand “statement” means an account, a report, an utterance, an explanation, a declaration.
In my own words therefore, I will simply define personal statement as “a report of an individual.”
To write a good personal statement for your NVQ, you have to understand that this is all about you and your past work experiences. Your statement should contain situations that you have encountered whilst doing your work. This may be within a week period, a month period, a year period and you can even include experiences from your past jobs as long as this is within reasonable period of time, say-within three years.
When you are asked to write a personal statement by your assessor, the first thing you need to understand is the particular area you are required to write on. If you are not sure, make sure you ask your assessor about this. This is very important so that you will not waste a lot of time writing and at the end, getting feedback that you have not produced a good work. You have to remember that it is very easy to write a personal statement and not cover the required standards or write a personal statement that is knowledge focused only without showing any performance.
Is a personal statement the same as a job description?
The answer is NO! Candidates often times submit job description as personal statement. There is a difference between the two. However, a job description can be turned into a personal statement if worded properly. For instance:
Job description from a candidate (example 1)
“As an administrator, every Monday I receive incoming calls from clients and I also handle all other queries and requests. I also sort out posts and process all necessary paper work. I do all these to the required standard by adhering to all policies especially data protection/ confidentiality. Another task I do is organise departmental meetings. I also prepare all necessary documents to be used during any meeting and send emails to remind team members…”
The above job description can be turned to a personal statement, see example 2 below.
Personal Statement (example 2)
“As an administrator, last week Monday, I received incoming calls from clients, and I also handled all other queries and requests. I sorted out all posts and I processed all the necessary paper work for the day whilst making sure I adhere to all policies especially data protection/confidentiality. As I had to organise the departmental meeting that day, I prepared all the documents needed and I sent email communications to members of the team to remind them of the meeting. This is a procedure I have to follow prior to any meeting. At a point I was not sure of where some files which are to be used in the meeting were placed so I went to my manager to ask…”
From the above two examples, you will agree with me that there is a difference.
Example 1 is a job description and it only shows that the candidate has knowledge of what he/she is supposed to do at work. This is only knowledge based and does not show any performance.
On the other hand, example 2 is a personal statement which described typical examples of actual performance, which actually showed the candidate completed the tasks.
I have made some suggestions below as to the key points to remember when writing a personal statement.
- It will be a good idea first to introduce yourself, your job title and then explain briefly what your job entails. This will form an introduction to your statement. It will also give your assessor knowledge of your job role and what to expect in your writing.
- Your personal statement should read like a story and show examples of actual performance of your job role as I have explained. Use the word “I” throughout the statement. This is about what YOU did; YOUR involvement etc and you should be able to prove that the situation occurred.
- Select a job role or situation you are going to write about, set the scene and then tell the story.
- You might want to include in your writing the date (when the event you are talking about took place) and location (where the event took place).
- When you make mention of people in your statement, it may be a good idea to ask for a witness statement for authenticity. In example 2 above, it will be the candidate’s manager.
- In your writing, remember to explain meanings of technical terms as your assessor, internal verifier and external verifier might not easily understand terms specific to your job role.
- Show application and understanding of knowledge by linking what you did to any relevant policy, theory and regulation (“the reason I did this was…”)
- You can also show the thinking behind your actions by adding why you did what you did (“I decided to do this because…”)
- If you mention that a record was made, show the original record to your assessor. Again this will prove your account and will also provide very useful additional evidence.
- If you mention any work you did that is recorded electronically, it might be a good idea to do screen shots or print screen the records and then paste on or attach to your statement. You can then reference this to particular points in your personal statement. (For example you can say, see appendix 3 after describing a situation). This will save you time and resources of having to print out all supporting documents.
- When writing a personal statement, remember that your assessor is assessing what you did in your job – not your grammar, spelling or presentation.
I hope this article will be of help and will guide you to write good personal statement which will cover as many performance criteria as possible across your chosen NVQ units.
Check other related articles via the links below:
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