Someone, check this over, please.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
jac101689
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:10 pm

Someone, check this over, please.

Postby jac101689 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:29 am

In April of 2012, I began service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at Safe Futures Connecticut, a domestic violence and sexual assault agency. I had just finished my undergraduate work and had come off an internship at Merrill Lynch. My vision was unclear, but I was excited and life felt new. My first several months at Safe Futures passed with few mentions of the agency's vision for the VISTA program: career services tailored to the agency's clients complete with infrastructure to sustain it. During that year, we both came a long way.

My initial role was training employers on domestic violence and its effects on the workplace. There was no spoken nexus between this and development of a career counseling program. We decided to pursue a seminar format, whereby we gained the insights and perceptions of fifty business- and service-provider-community members. I did not expect to conduct direct career counseling services. Four months into the assignment, I began doing so as we had made no apparent progress on program development, the primary agency need. We needed a coherent vision of the services’ core values, approaches, and outcomes. We started from agreement that services were necessary and that certain elements would pay dividends—e.g. resume and cover-letter assistance; interviewing assistance; and internet-research support. The services in place at Safe Futures when I arrived—developed by the previous VISTA based on the approaches of agencies working with disabled populations—had focused on advocacy: employment specialists talking to employers on behalf of clients, developing relationships between Safe Futures and community employers, potentially stigmatizing the agency. The focus had not been directly on overcoming trauma or facilitating individual paths to self-actualization.

Shortly after I started interacting with employers, their employees, staff, and agency clients, I could see there was a better way. Based on my education in the area of domestic violence and the trauma it elicits, and the interactions I mentioned, I inferred we needed a service supportive of self-confidence where self-confidence had been compromised; we needed to support self-efficacy where self-efficacy had been compromised; we needed to encourage thinking and conversation about skills, interests, and talents where abusive partners had discouraged such processes; we needed to be prepared to make referrals in the instance that our ability to help the client was incomplete in some way. The vision on the individual client level became a process of inner-conflict resolution enabling success in society. We therefore incorporated, while still recognizing the individuality of each client, addressing the typical consequences of domestic violence into the framework. Based on my education in economics, experience in business, and interactions with employers and a seasoned labor lawyer, we accounted also for the profit motive in developing the services; the assumption of Safe Futures Career Services is now that employers are most concerned about whether one can do a job effectively. The services now focus on convincing oneself and then the employer that there is a fit between one’s skills, talents, and objectives, and the position to which one applies. In essence, the focus is on supporting each client’s journey to self-awareness and -valuation, employment and independence. The focus is on developing human capital through on- and off-site education and persuasive signaling of that human capital. The framework resulted from a comprehensive needs assessment and collaborative development of a volunteer program, a career-counseling manual, and plans for staff involvement in the program at my departure. I also worked with a Safe Futures volunteer, who is a survivor of domestic violence, on developing a group career-counseling and self-discovery curriculum consistent with our services.

My approach to social work and work in general is collaborative yet independent—seeking buy-in where possible but respecting, when the time comes, the need for decision and action. My approach has included and will include development and facilitation of client- and community-defined approaches. My inner compass and my perceptions of the world's needs point me this way—toward identifying challenges, planning to work myself out of a job, and empowering those best equipped to respond, if not myself, with the structures, direction and support to act most effectively. My vision is e pluribus unum in the fields of law and social work—a cohesive, coordinated set of empowerment-supporting systems. My mission is to catalyze the vision as a lawyer and community organizer.

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AnonymousAlterEgoC
Posts: 247
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:13 am

Re: Someone, check this over, please.

Postby AnonymousAlterEgoC » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:48 am

Ugh. I just typed up a long reply to you but it was lost.

Your first sentence is clunky. At the end of p1, you use "we" to combine a person and a company. No. Do not do. If I'm wrong about this, know that it is vague.

You have a lot of meaningless detail. I'd rather read an anecdote about how you actually helped someone rather than multiple paragraphs that basically say the same thing--you are a competent and talented professional. In addition to those things, you're a damn good human being. THAT, though, does not come through. You took the "detached" attitude to helping abuse victims which, well, maybe show some more heart, some more you. Why are you doing this? I know you're doing it well, but why do you do it? This PS is basically missing the you. I get a lot of your job/WE. Are you applying to Northwestern? (Rhetorical question).

My mission is to catalyze the vision as a lawyer and community organizer.


This is a very strange use of the verb catalyze, which commonly refers to speeding up a chemical reaction.

Shitty luck that my first and more comprehensive response was deleted.

jac101689
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: Someone, check this over, please.

Postby jac101689 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:15 am

Thanks for reading and critiquing. Nice screen name.

Good catch on the grammatical error at the close of p1.

I didn't take a detached attitude, actually, but I can see why you might conclude I did based on this delivery.

I loved the assignment--both the direct service and the program-development process--and I can either communicate those facts better through anecdote or come up with a better topic!

I'm bored with "facilitate," hence "catalyze." Probably not the most effective ending anyway.

Shanks again.

jac101689
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: Someone, check this over, please.

Postby jac101689 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:14 pm

Does everyone agree with the initial comment?

anattorney
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Someone, check this over, please.

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:22 pm

I agree. You need to inject more personality or concrete examples into this. It sounds very jargon-y. For example, can you talk about what the below paragraph actually LOOKS LIKE for a client? How do your clients "develop their human capital" and "signal their human capital"? If you can, I would try to connect everything you are saying here with one or two actual case examples of how the services were or weren't working for someone in your agency, and focus on the role that you played to change that.

"The vision on the individual client level became a process of inner-conflict resolution enabling success in society. We therefore incorporated, while still recognizing the individuality of each client, addressing the typical consequences of domestic violence into the framework. Based on my education in economics, experience in business, and interactions with employers and a seasoned labor lawyer, we accounted also for the profit motive in developing the services; the assumption of Safe Futures Career Services is now that employers are most concerned about whether one can do a job effectively. The services now focus on convincing oneself and then the employer that there is a fit between one’s skills, talents, and objectives, and the position to which one applies. In essence, the focus is on supporting each client’s journey to self-awareness and -valuation, employment and independence. The focus is on developing human capital through on- and off-site education and persuasive signaling of that human capital."

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Emma.
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Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:57 pm

Re: Someone, check this over, please.

Postby Emma. » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:43 pm

I'd imagine you can use this topic to write a good PS, but this isn't it. Sorry.




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