Candidates top tips – How to complete the personal qualities section

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Interested in standing for election but unsure how to approach the standing form? This article is for you!

The personal qualities section of the standing form is designed to show who you are as an individual and what you care about. It is all about your skills, behaviour and attitudes to events; it is going to look different for everyone, so feel free to make it your own. In essence it is your opportunity to say how you will take on the role and show your individual motivations.

Question 1 – What are the top 3 issues affecting students?

Think about your personal experience as a student, what made you want change? Remember, if you are standing for a liberation role like BAME or LGBTQ+ Officer, to make specific reference to your experience of the group you are hoping to represent.

It might be worth looking at our current policies and what students have voted on recently here.

Want to go a bit further? Consider looking at past NUS (National Union of Students) conference agendas to see what students have asked for and which policies were particularly popular. You could also look at some recent news articles or check out what other SUs are currently working on for some inspiration.

Question 2 – What personal qualities will you bring to the role?

This is such a personal one – it’s all about your soft skills, in other words your attitudes to situations. Perhaps you’ve been a club or society president, and leadership comes naturally to you? Or perhaps you’re an excellent communicator who can bring together lots of different groups of people?

Some examples of soft skills might include:

  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution

Think about clearly structuring this answer – you only have 150 words, so pick 2-3 really clear examples and how these qualities would enhance the SU.

Question 3 - Why would the wider officer team be better with you in it?

This is your chance to think about what kind of team player you are – think back to group projects at university; how did you like to contribute to the group and what sorts of environments did you like to work in? Are you perhaps a listener, a learner or a leader?

It can be intimidating to put yourself out there and sing your own praises, but now is your chance to shine; if you’re really not sure, it might be worth chatting to a friend to see what they identify as your strengths.

Question 4 – Why should students vote for you?

This is your first chance to catch the students’ attention on our website; a short statement that appears next to your photograph, so try to make it punchy and impactful. What makes you stand out as a candidate? What are your key skills and ideas for the role? You could also consider putting your election slogan here if you have one.

So you’ve read the article; now its time to go for it! Take a deep breath, make yourself a cuppa and put yourself out there – you won't regret it.


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