Writing a personal ethics statement can be a thought-provoking experience. How you write it depends on your target audience. If you are writing a personal ethics statement by choice, such as for a book or personal growth, write it in any way you choose as long as it reflects your values. When writing for a job opportunity, an academic course or admission to a program, following basic guidelines can help you craft an acceptable personal ethics statement.

List Your Values

A personal ethics statement should reflect your personal values and morals. It should explain the values that are important to you and should act as a road map for how you conduct your life. Draft an outline spelling out the values that are most important to you and that influence your actions and your interactions with others. Use words or phrases in your outline. For example, if honesty and integrity are important to you, write those down. Or, if you firmly believe that “giving is more important than receiving,” write that down.

Write Your Statement

Once you have jotted down your most influential personal values, organize your thoughts and write your statement. Describe the values and ethics you strive to demonstrate and, if appropriate, provide examples of how they affect your daily life. You might start out by declaring, for example, “Because service to others is one of my guiding values, I strive to help people of all types in all situations whenever possible, such as through my charitable donation of money and clothes to help veterans.” Your statement should then demonstrate your guiding ideals and philosophies and show how you put them into practice.