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Application Tip – Personal Statement – Clarity of Professional Goals

The Personal Statement is a critical component of your application

A common question I get from students as they are preparing their application is:

How specific do I need to be about my career goals in my personal statement? 

An understanding of the field and a commitment to the career paths these degrees prepare you for is the most important aspect in any applicant to Maxwell’s MPA and MA IR programs.  You do not need to know exactly where you want to work nor in what capacity, but you do need to know where you want your career to have an impact, what policy and/or regional focus is important to you and how/for whom you want your work to make a difference.

Be it education policy, finance, health care, development, national security or non-profit management – the career paths available to Maxwell graduates are varied and exciting!  You may find a resource provided by Maxwell’s Palmer Career Center helpful as you continue your research and move through the application process.  Maxwell Career Field Guides

These Career Field Guides, just one of several resources provided by our dedicated Career Center, are your link to the top fields and professions entered into by our graduates.  Newly updated, these 24 distinct guides provide an extensive overview of career opportunities, career paths & entry salaries, qualifications, sample employers, demand and future challenges of the profession and additional resources for more information.  They cover specific and diverse fields.

Reviewing the Maxwell School’s Alumni Profiles will also give you a strong understanding of the work of our graduates. These profiles demonstrate the variety of work and impact Maxwell alumni have in their careers all over the world.

We are looking for a fairly well defined professional focus in our incoming students. These resources may help you clarify your goals for communication in your Personal Statement.

You may also enjoy browsing the recent Palmer Career Center’s Recorded Events  These events include career workshops, recruiter information sessions, and career discussions with leading employers (many Maxwell alumni).

Check out these other Application Tips:

What Are We Looking For in an Ideal Candidate?


The Resume – as part of a Graduate School Application

The Personal Statement – (Length)

Letters of Recommendation – Folio Service or Not?


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June 2024
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