I’ve been asked to write a supporting statement. Where do I start?

I do feel your pain when asked to write a supporting statement for a role. To be honest it is no one’s idea of fun, but a supporting statement is used to outline your suitability, keenness and motivation for applying for a particular role. It shows that you are really interested in the role and not just using the scattergun approach in applying for everything that’s going. This is a great chance for you to speak directly to the employer and make yourself stand out from other candidates and show you are an enthusiastic person who puts in the extra effort.

The easiest way to do this is to split it into 3 parts like all good stories: Beginning, middle and End (I can feel my old English teacher in my ear as I write this)

Beginning

I am writing to apply for position of [role]’ then outline what interests you about the role (both the role itself and the employer). Many employers like to feel that they are special and you have chosen them above other companies. (have a look on their website and maybe their social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked in). I have found that companies particularly like it if you have looked at their core values and can explain how yours align with theirs.

Middle

What does the employer want? – what are the key competencies for the “ideal candidate” – So take each of the requirements and describe how you meet them, or if you don’t be sure to offer what may be a good alternative.

To do this, group competencies that are alike, eg; IT skills, administration skills or interpersonal, customer-service and listening skills. If you’ve got relevant and very specific experience for the position or maybe have worked in a very similar role for a competitor you should really write about this first it’s a big selling factor. Then tackle the essentials and then the desirables

If you’ve got limited experience, you may find competency a bit tricky. If this is the case, focus on your past roles or experiences and relevant transferable skills.

Now importantly don’t just make statements, back it up with some evidence. Everyone likes real-life stories. Evidence could be specific situations or projects you’ve worked on or roles you’ve held which had the same requirements. You might talk about a specific project where you can show your customer services or organisational skills. Try to give a range of evidence and focus attention on the most relevant and recent examples.

Have a good brainstorm before you start so you have examples you can draw on. This is the part of your statement that can really make you stand out and give detail that may be missed when reading your CV.,

Don’t panic if you do not have everything. In 15 years of recruitment I don’t think I have ever found a candidate who is a 100% fit. 80% really is pretty good. Do acknowledge the areas you are weak on and stress how keen you are to learn new skills but also maybe explain where you have had to learn new skills quickly on the past or evidence of self-directed education and remote learning. What could be better than to have someone on your team who constantly strives to better themselves. Just remember even if you know everything today, you will not know everything tomorrow so it is more important for clients to find people who have the right attitude towards learning

End

The closing paragraph – keep this short and sweet. Avoid repeating yourself, thank the employer for their time. It’s usually in this paragraph where you might outline your availability for interview (should you be away on a specific date).

Lastly proof read it before you send it off, there is nothing worse then telling someone how good your attention to detail skills are in statement littered with spelling mistakes.

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