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I am submitting an application for a place in the Facebook AI Residency.

It states "Elaboration on these experiences should be included in the candidate personal statement." The application page does not have a field to upload a personal statement. Only a resume and a 1,000 character "essay response".

The essay response subject is "Please describe your objectives, what you are interested in working on during the Residency, and how the AI Residency would help you achieve your goals. Expand on any experiences that will position you for success in this role." I consider this the same topic as a personal statement but I would not usually consider 1,000 characters sufficient to constitute a personal statement. I have seen a video by a previous successful participant showing their personal statement, which was very long (3 pages or so). I would not usually make a personal statement this long but is closer to what I would expect (1 page rather than 1,000 characters). I also do not feel it is possible to properly "elaborate" in 1,000 characters in addition to the other requirements. Should I include a personal statement as the first page of my resume document?

From other questions I have seen adding a personal statement to the front of a resume document is generally not advised, although it is also said that including a personal statement generally is very important.

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The form doesn't perfectly match the instructions, that's for sure. The point is to show whether you have

Exposure to the field of AI research as demonstrated by research projects, university coursework, or self-guided study.

Some of this should be clear from what you put in the Education History and College Transcripts fields. If you have a CS degree with a focus on data science, that's pretty obvious exposure. If your degree is called something else entirely but you did take ML courses, make sure they're shown on your transcripts.

And then there's the "Essay Responses" field, which names as the last bit:

Please describe your objectives, what you are interested in working on during the Residency, and how the AI Residency would help you achieve your goals. Expand on any experiences that will position you for success in this role.

This field is very catch-all. You have a lot of freedom in what you fill this field with, but it should be a good story. Think of it as an exercise in writing a good 1K character essay - not a lot. The bolded sentence indicates that you could use this field to name some experiences that answer the original question. But since your text size is very limited, you should use it mostly to fill in the gaps in the story told by your degrees and college transcripts, rather than repeating it entirely. If you have room, you can re-emphasize something. Overall, this field is the most free-text in the entire application, so take it serious. This is your chance to give a direct personal impression of who you are and why you'd be a good candidate.

You ask:

Should I include a personal statement as the first page of my resume document?

Probably not. That's what is called a "cover letter", it's a separate document from a resume. A resume should mostly be a list of lists, showing your work and education history and skills and competences. If you have room left over you can include a short paragraph with a basic "profile" of what kind of person you are. But it's important to keep a tight rein on the total page count. Considering this is a relatively junior position, you absolutely want to keep it to no more than 2 pages (what you could print double-sided on one sheet of paper).

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  • Thank you very much. Perfect answer that is very reassuring. – user1738 Jan 30 at 13:04

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