Writing Effective Statement of Interest

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Writing an Effective Statement of Interest
As part of the application process for certain positions, you may be asked to write a statement of interest. Before proceeding, please take a few minutes to review this information on how to write an effective statement.

Effective statements of interest:
1. Answer the question or address the issues to which you are asked to respond. (E.g., “Of the three projects stated, identify the one which is of greatest interest to you and detail the skills that prepare you to contribute to the organization’s efforts in this area.)

2. Demonstrate the skills and strengths that you would bring to the organization if you were hired.
3. Demonstrate your clear understanding of and specific interest in the organization.
Before preparing your statement of interest, ask yourself… 1. Why am I interested in this position?? What is it about the organization’s mission or the duties entailed in the job that are drawing me to the position? Is it (for example) the opportunity to make an impact on poverty alleviation in Eastern Europe? Or the strong reputation that the organization has within your policy area of interest?

2. What skills, expertise and other qualities is the employer seeking? In many cases, this is spelled out pretty clearly in the position description. In other cases, you will need to give some thought to what skills you think would be important to the employer. What kinds of tasks would the job entail? What kinds of skills would you need in order to effectively complete those tasks?

3. Which of the above skills, etc, do I have?
4. What examples can I give to support my assertion that I have those skills? Perhaps your presentation skills can best be portrayed by an example of a talk that you did for a student organization. Or maybe your commitment to social policy issues is most evident through the volunteer work that you did with a community organization while you were working full-time at another type of organization. E.g., “During my internship at the Urban Institute, I analyzed and evaluated… Before submitting your statement of interest to an organization (either directly or via eRecruiting), ask yourself…

1. Did I answer the question and/or address the points that the employer asked me to address??
If NO, go back to your statement and rework it. Answering the question is critical to a successful statement of interest.
2. Does my statement read like it was written by someone who is interested in this position specifically…or by someone who is looking for a job, ANY job? If the latter, go back to your statement and rework it.

3. Is the tone of my statement formal and professional?
Remember: the employer is also using your statement of interest to get a sense of your writing style and the way you represent yourself professionally. Build a relationship with the employer first and get to know the company’s culture before using informal greetings, excessive exclamation points, or other less formal communication tactics.

4. Does the statement clearly demonstrate my skills without overstating my expertise and experience?
This one is tricky, for indeed one of the purposes of a statement of interest is to market yourself. Be mindful of the fine line, however, between sounding confident and sounding arrogant. If you have any questions about which camp your writing falls in, ask a few friends or Ford School staff or faculty members to review it.

5. Does my statement have spelling or grammatical errors in it? We have all heard stories of people who were successful in getting an interview even when their application materials had an error or two in them. Don’t rely on the odds. Instead, have one of the Ford School writing instructors or a friend review your statement of interest for you. Employers see this statement of interest as evidence of your writing abilities, your attention to detail, and the amount that you care about the position. Don’t let your statement of interest say...
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