So, what makes for a bad personal statement on an NIH biographical sketch? Here are some things to avoid:
- Failure to adequately link your expertise to the proposed project
- Incorrectly explaining the project and its aims
- Listing information that is included elsewhere in the biosketch without providing any elaboration or supporting information
- Referring to yourself in a way that appears too egotistical (i.e. I am well-known for my work in...)
- Leaving out your important contributions to the field. Reviewers may not all be in your exact subject area. Don't assume that everyone has heard of you!
- Allowing the PI to write your personal statement and not reviewing it. Take some ownership of it and brand yourself in the way that you would like to come across to reviewers. Don't leave it in someone else's hands where it may potentially be thrown together and/or look sloppy.
- Failure to be consistent about whether you are writing your biosketch personal statement in first or third person. If the 1st vs. 3rd question still perplexes you, read this. Ultimately, pick one or the other and stick with it.