Your audience, of course, is that narrowing strait of employers and/or academic committees empowered to consider you a candidate valid enough to grant interviews resulting in employment or entry into an institution of higher learning. In order to swim that channel during the screening process, your resumes and cover letters must not only be rich in keywords and bring your accomplishments to the forefront; they must speak to the hiring authority. And while not the vehicle for keywords, personal statements or essays must achieve a similar goal. While the prevalence and diversity of Internet job boards coupled with employers’ dependency upon talent acquisition software makes it difficult to discern the exact nature of your audience, you can be guided by the very fact that the hiring authority is, for all intents and purposes until the actual interview, anonymous.
If you are an IT professional, for example, assume that the majority of your readers — recruiters and human resource managers — are not very technical. As these are the individuals you must impress in order to achieve interviews with the technical manager, ensure that your career synopsis highlights your accomplishments vis a vis the impact of your efforts upon productivity, accuracy, and efficiency. The majority of recruiters and HR managers cannot comprehend language that is solely technical; remember and capitalize upon that by using a “voice” that they can understand and appreciate.
Should you, for instance, be seeking entrance into a college or university, consider the best voice to use in getting the academic committee to hear you and subsequently, welcome you into their hallowed halls. High school students desiring to access undergraduate programs should not prepare personal statements that appear to have been written by older, more experienced candidates. Because you are young, you should compose essays that include missteps in your path and what you have learned from them. Conversely, if you are a mature employee hoping to embark upon a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. program, ensure that your statement reflects the tone of a professional with genuine accomplishments and who wishes to attain further career progression via the degree.
Find your voice and you will find a receptive audience!
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