How to write a personal statement for internship: 5 winning strategies
Applying to anything can be such a stressful experience. But writing a personal statement really shouldn’t be—after all, it’s all about the writer themselves! Still, people can find it intimidating. The following five strategies can help writers de-stress and put their best foot (and writing) forward when writing a personal statement for an internship application.
- Be authentic.
- Don’t qualify your statements.
- Don’t get too personal.
- Make an outline.
- Edit and proofread.
This is undoubtedly the most important thing you can do to make a personal statement stand out. Being authentic means being oneself. Not crafting a new identity that fits what the writer thinks that the organization is looking for in an intern. No matter how well this is done, it’s always obvious.
If the writer is going to talk about their strengths, they should own them. Not write things like “I’m pretty good at—“… No. If the writer is good at something, they should simply say they’re good at it. If they aren’t, don’t bother including it unless asked.
Personal means “about the writer,” not “about all of the writer’s most intense emotions.” Steer clear of religious awakenings, lofty feelings, and delving too deeply into trauma. If some of those things have affected the writer’s life in a way that’s meaningful in terms of the internship, they can be included, but only in the context of how they have changed the writer’s life in a practical sense. That doesn’t mean the writer has to be devoid of emotion, but they should keep it at a professional level.
There’s a tendency for students to think that things like personal statements don’t require the same attention to structure and organization as a formal essay. Nothing could be more untrue! Take the time to make an outline, a detailed one. Choose some themes that you can base your essay on. Make sure each paragraph has a main idea. This type of structure will up the impact of your whole essay. It’s worth it.
Another mistake too many prospective interns make is not editing and proofreading. Aside from the fact that it’s just unprofessional and undermines everything in the statement, it’s a really bad idea because interns are often tasked with document preparation. It’s literally one of the most common things that interns are asked to do.