A background statement is your opportunity to explain who you are and what skills and achievements you have. There are a variety of reasons for why you may need to prepare a background statement, from a college application to a job, but it is written the same way despite the purpose.
- Reflect on yourself. This is an important step; although it is very difficult to analyze yourself, this is what employers and admissions staff will be looking for. Consider who you are, and what your objectives are. This will allow you to produce an insightful, revealing statement.
- Produce a plan. Write down what makes you you. What is distinctive about you, and your life so far? Consider your past achievements, the people you have met, and what motivates you. What has helped you to become who you are and have the objectives you have? Then consider the field you are applying for. What, in particular, interests you about the field? How did you get into it, and how have you learned about it? Finally, consider what skills you have, and how you developed and demonstrated these skills. Why should the reader pick you?
- Organize your plan. You may need to give yourself time to think of anything you have forgotten and clear your mind before you begin to analyze what you have written. Is there anything you don’t want to include? Is there something that seems to link everything to it, such as an experience or a problem? Try to establish links to hold the plan together.
- Detail your plan on a new piece of paper. Choose an angle to start from. For example, if you are applying for a course or career in law, you may wish to start with what piqued your interest in law. What experiences have you had that have led you to this choice? Then move on to your second point. This could be personal skills that the experience gave you or that you demonstrated during the experience. Once you have finished, you should have a basic idea for each paragraph, linked with the paragraphs before and after.
- Write your background statement. Follow the paragraph plan, and keep your tone positive throughout. Do not be tempted to write what you think the reader wants to hear, because this will be very obvious. Instead, write an honest and accurate account, ensuring that you justify any points you make. This is much more convincing than just writing a list of skills you think you have.
- Check over your statement. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and to make sure the statement flows. If you have word limits, check that you are within these. Ensure that the statement gives off a confident and enthusiastic vibe, and avoids any obvious cliches. Ask friends and family to read through the statement too. They may be able to suggest changes or spot mistakes that would go unnoticed otherwise.
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