Pharmacy Residency: Personal Statement Tips
Pharmacy Residency Preparation Specialists
Crafting a personal statement for your residency application is vital – it sets you apart from others and allows program directors to get to grips with your personality. Here, we will work through some tips for ensuring that your personal statement is as effective and professional as it could possibly be.
Grammar and spelling
It might seem obvious, yet many applicants still fail to perfect their grammar when writing their personal statement. Poor grammar or spelling is easy to prevent or correct, and will have an immediate negative impact on anyone that reads your work. If you know that you struggle particularly with your grammar or spelling in general, then you should consider going to extra lengths to ensure that the work you hand in is strong – this could mean hiring an application specialist, for example. In general, you should ensure that you run the entire document past a number of others before handing it in, each time – although this might get a little tiring for them! Nonetheless, try to ask a mixture of both faculty members and friends or family to review, whenever possible – they will be able to offer valuable feedback and help correct minor errors.
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Personalise the document each time
You must avoid providing each program with the same, copy-pasted statement. This will show a lack of effort on your part, and thus a lack of motivation for the particular program. Instead, consider the particular strengths or stand-out features of each program, and tailor your writing towards them. Through doing so, you show that you are genuinely interested in the program – which will make them feel much more confident about the idea of having you as a resident – and thus much more likely to interview you.
Don’t include too much personal information
Including too much personal information – like your relationship status, religion, or your political beliefs – should be avoided wherever possible. Personal information reduces the professionalism of the document, and is likely to make you seem less mature. That means – if for example, a program asks you to cover a particular professional challenge in your personal statement – that you should remain firmly in the professional realm, and avoid giving away too much information about your personal life. Throughout, you should ensure that you keep the focus firmly on your professional life, professional goals, and the attributes that you have that best fit with Pharmacy.
Link the program to your professional goals
You must ensure that you outline why the program is a good fit for your broader career trajectory. You could focus on specific research projects that are underway there, or what current residents have said about the program and how it fits with their career goals. You might also want to focus on particular achievements of the program or its current or previous faculty, for example – just ensure that your reasons stand out and are clearly a significant, and very real, motivator.
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Be succinct with your writing. Anything beyond one page is likely to not be read properly, or show that you struggle to keep your ideas to a concise, professional length. That doesn’t mean using bullet points – this is not the place for that format – but rather it means avoiding overly long sentences, or sentences that simply do not add to the document.
For many students, this is the most difficult part of the personal statement. You need to promote yourself, but do so in a way that doesn’t come across as boastful, or that tells rather than ‘shows.’ It’s advisable to consider one or two top achievements that you will have in your personal statement, and work to integrate them thoroughly with the rest of the text. Ensure that you reflect on them adequately. They will serve to set you apart from other applicants, and are therefore vital – without them, you are simply stating that you wish to apply for the position, rather than that you are an exceptional candidate for it. Focus on real, specific details of your accomplishments that will serve to say more about you in a few words than you could say in many more words of flowery description – one prestigious named award, for example, will say more about your academic quality than a whole paragraph of less-specific writing.