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Still struggling with your personal statement?  Take a tip from Buzz Lightyear on how to make it memorable. 

By Ben Feuer

Ed Catmull, a head honcho at the fabulous Pixar studios, has a new book out about management and creativity.  In an article for Fast Company, Ed discusses some of his management (and storytelling) techniques, particularly Pixar's reliance on their 'braintrust', a small group of professional storytellers who help the director hash out issues with the story.

 As you sit down to write your personal statement, your leadership essay, or even your cover letter, remember these three key tips -- Pixar-derived, Forster-Thomas approved!

1.  Be Wrong Faster.  Many candidates take far too long agonizing over a decision when, ultimately, there is no way of knowing for certain which approach is best.  Just write it and figure out later if it was the right choice.  If not, you can always go back and try again.

2.  You Don't Have Perspective.  When candidates are in the middle of writing their essays, they lose perspective.  It is inevitable.  When that happens, they need honest feedback to set them back on track.  Which leads us to #3 --

3.  Honesty is Everything.  Candidates who attempt to sugarcoat their personalities or inflate their accomplishments to score points on an application are only fooling themselves.  Just tell the truth -- to paraphrase Mark Twain, this will will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Simple, right?  Good rules of writing usually are.  The challenge is actually pulling it off, but it's worth the extra effort.  As Ed Catmull reminds us, great design is its own reward.



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