Creating personal mission statement pieces for resumes, cover letters, interviews, journals, and other lifestyle needs can be a difficult process. Your mission statement should be caught between where you see yourself currently and where you would like to see yourself in the future. It should play between your realistic and idealistic selves. It should give yourself grace for where you are now, and enhance your motivation to get to where you want to be.
When you’re applying for a job, you’ll need to create a personal mission statement to work into your application. A personal statement is a short few sentences, usually affixed to the top of your resume, which gives your hiring manager a good idea of how you think of yourself and how you might fit in with the company. Before we dive into tips for creating your personal mission statement, let’s take a look at what a personal mission statement is, and how you might incorporate yours into job applications and your life as a whole.
The stories that we tell have incredible psychological power. Stories shape the way that we view and interact with the world. When you’re looking for a new job, employers will look at how you tell stories about yourself, others, and the world. Your personal mission statement will make your story loud and clear.
Creating Your Personal Mission Statement
What is an Individual Mission Statement?
An individual mission statement communicates who you are, where you’re going, and why you’ll succeed with a company. Most importantly, it needs to do all that in just a few short sentences. Listening to tried-and-true tips can help you make the most of your individual mission statement.
Personal mission statements are a bit like lawns. You want to trim them to keep them short, but not get entirely carried away. Trim all the grass to the same length, but don’t start ripping up massive portions of grass just to reduce the total amount of grass on the lawn. If you need a little more than a few sentences or a single paragraph, and there is no extra fluff, that can still work. While the ultimate goal is to have a concise individual mission statement, use the extra real estate if it makes your statement sound more natural.
There are all kinds of individual mission statements. Personal statements should always work to compliment your resume and strengthen the overall job application. Read your statement in the context of all your application materials to make sure that it makes sense and flows cohesively.
Your personal mission statement should be an expression of your fundamental beliefs about yourself and the world. Anything less, and the mission statement won’t be a valuable tool for yourself. Therefore, it is imperative that the language you use speaks directly to your intended goal. On the same token, keep time-and-place in mind; you may have to adapt your language and express your feelings in ways which are work-place appropriate. Nonetheless, your essence should remain at the forefront of the statement.
How to Write a Personal Mission Statement
One of the best tips for creating your personal mission statement is to take your time with it. If you write your personal mission statement in a day, it is likely not at its fullest potential. A genuine, well-worded statement needs time to reach its final state. Creating personal mission statement language and flow will require a few drafts. You should write it in a day, and then come back to it every couple of days until the language and message sing like you want them to.
Consider the following tips when composing your personal mission statement:
- A personal statement should be about a paragraph long, consisting of only a few sentences.
- Personal statements seek to show why you should be one of the better people for the job.
- You should quickly list off your qualifications for the job that you’re applying for as they relate to your personality, past experiences, job history, and special skills.
You may also need a couple of different personal mission statement drafts. You want something that is about a paragraph long to entice employers at the top of your resume, and probably another extended, one-page piece that you can adapt into a natural cover letter.
Personal Mission Statement Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to tips for creating your personal mission statement, there are some general guidelines which will steer you in the right direction without taking away your individualism:
- Use around 100-200 words to describe who you are and why you’re a fit for the job
- What you hope to accomplish in your career in the short-term future
- Use unique language which helps your personal statement stick in the minds of people who read it
- Read, reread, and rewrite; sit on your personal statement for at least a week and make edits during this time to make sure that it’s good
- Keep it brief and keep it lighthearted
- Use positive language
- Use cliches to communicate
- Describe yourself by contrasting with negative language
- Give out too much information or information that is too personal
Your Personal Mission Statement and Cover Letters
Cover letters can be extremely difficult to write. We’ve all sat down at a blank page and forced out words that just don’t feel right. Reading your statement back to yourself might suggest that you are a robot who was created to apply for jobs, instead of the vibrant personality that you actually are.
Applying for jobs is difficult. Writing a stand-out cover letter is difficult. Using your personal mission statement in your cover letter, or at least as inspiration for your cover letter, can help you compose language that feels much more natural and simplistic. Having a clear goal can make you feel like a real candidate instead of that application robot.
If you need help with the application process, staffing agencies can be a great resource to offer tips and help you to search for jobs. Staffing agencies can link you to direct hire jobs, and can also help you land a great entry-level position that aligns with your personal mission statement.
Creating a Personal Mission Statement for Resume
When you’re updating your resume, consider updating your personal mission statement to give a more-defined glimpse into your goals and character.
Be open and honest. Hiring managers have seen so many different types of explanations and excuses come across their desks. Be as honest as you feel that you can be, and then be a little more honest than that. Hiring managers are often understanding and will appreciate the gesture of vulnerability. If you really want the office job because you’re ready to ditch the freelance lifestyle, be honest about that.
Remember that HR employees will sift through a hundred resumes and cover letters before lunch. Personal statements are a valuable tool that can be used to narrow down the placement hunt for companies, and should be taken seriously by you as an opportunity to put your foot in the door.
Reading Personal Mission Statements as an Employer
Although the employee does the work in terms of composing their personal mission statement, the employer also must understand how to read the statement and what to look for. When you’re sifting through personal mission statements as an employer, be on the lookout for great candidates who show great self-awareness about themselves and their skills.
Our choices of words reveal a lot about our personality. We all seem to know this intuitively; we code-switch and judge others based on how they talk and the words that they choose. Candidates who use a lot of positive speech are probably more confident than candidates who couch their accolades in more passive language. Employers should– and likely will– look for active language and colorful verbs throughout the statement.
These tips for creating your personal mission statement are the tip of the iceberg of achieving employment. Showcasing great talent and finding it are both difficult processes. Staffing agencies can be a great resource to increase the pool of candidates for a given position. As an employer, better hiring options means that you will ultimately find the right personal mission statement, and the right person for the job.