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How to write a supporting statement
A supporting statement is the evidence a manager uses to short list you for the job you’re applying for. It is a chance for you to write about your skills and experiences and how you would be suited to the role. The statement is likely to be the first impression the manager and organisation have of you so it’s important you take the time to write it.
We can help you understand what managers are looking for, and more importantly, how to lay out your answers in a way that will make it clear to the manager which criteria you are writing about.
Preparation is key and getting everything you need before you start to write your statement will make all the difference.
First draft your supporting statement in a word document. This will make it easier for you to make changes and send it to other people to read over it with a fresh pair of eyes. You can then copy and paste it into the application form. If you have received support to complete your statement, make sure you understand what you’ve written. You will be asked to expand on your supporting statement if you get an interview.
After you have finished writing your supporting statement, read it back carefully. Then read it for a second time, aloud. You might feel a bit silly but it’s easier to identify any mistakes when you read it out loud. It’s important to make sure your spelling and grammar are correct, try to get someone else to read over it before submitting it. Once you're happy with what you've written, you can then copy and paste it into the application form. Things to remember:
- Write in short paragraphs to avoid a wall of text. Choose a clear font such as Arial, to make sure that your statement is easy to read.
- Lay your answers out in the same order as the criteria. This will make it easier for managers to find your answers.
- Remember to save your work as you go along. The online application form ‘times out’ after 30 minutes.
- There is a word/character limit. If you don’t have enough space, you can group your answers together. If a project you worked on shows different skills, group them into a single example and write about the project once, highlighting each of the qualities in the question.
Handy tip: Save or print a copy of your application form and the job profile, so that you can read over it in the future. Once the post closes online, you won’t be able to get access to your form again through your online account. You will however be able to get a copy by sending an e-mail to our recruitment team .
Identifying your skills
Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you and you already have lots of them. You might pick them up through work, study or activities you do in your spare time. Skills can be developed at school, college or university. You can build them through extra-curricular activities, like clubs or teams you’re a part of.
If you’re able to recognise and talk about your skills, you’ll find it easier to work out what you want to do. When you’re applying for jobs, they’ll be the things that convince employers that you’re the right person for the job.
Handy tip: Look back over your work, studies or leisure activities and think about the tasks you completed in each. For example, if you’ve had a job where you’ve had to work to strict deadlines, you’ll probably have good time management skills. If you’ve been in a debating club, you’ll have developed your communication and persuasion skills.
Researching a company is not only a great way to make sure you’re a good fit for them, but also that the organisation would be a good fit for you.
Why not take some time to look around our website? It’s good to show that you have researched our organisation. If you read about something that interests you, you can add this into your statement, for example: “I was impressed with your regeneration project…”.
We would also encourage you to take a look at our core values , they are very important to us. One of our values is working as one team, this is important as we can see that by working together and making strong connections across the whole organisation, we can make the best use of our resources by focusing on our customers and our communities.
Handy tip: Use your research, and include it in your answers.
Using the STAR model
When you are writing your supporting statement, you need to make sure there’s some structure to your answers. The STAR model is a great way to structure your examples.
It’s important to follow the layout of the essential criteria, making sure you don’t miss anything out. It also helps us as employers evaluate the skills, qualities and experiences you have that would help you fit with the job or company.
Here, we will show you how you could use the STAR model to answer the following example question:
Q: Can you give me an example of working as part of a team?
Situation: Describe the situation in which the event took place.
"Whilst in school, I did my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. As part of this I had to work as part of a team to get from one camp site to another".
Task: Describe the task you were asked to complete. If there was a particular problem or issue you were trying to solve, describe that here.
"I was in a group of 4 with my friends. We each had to carry different parts of the equipment we needed, e.g. tent, tent poles and cooking equipment. I feel I have good communication skills, so I made sure we each knew what each other was carrying, so that we didn't leave anything behind. I was nominated to be first in the group to read the map and use the compass to get us to the first check point which I was happy to do".
Action: Explain what action you took to complete the task or solve the problem: What you did, why you did it, how you did it and what skills you used.
"As a group, we worked well together. Once of the boys was struggling with the weight of his backpack so I suggested we all take some of it and put it in our bags, which made it easier for him to carry on".
Result: Explain the result of your actions. For example, if your actions resulted in completing a task, resolving a conflict, improving your company’s sales record, etc., explain this. Try to focus on how your actions resulted in a success.
"We reached our next camp site within the time allowed. I felt we worked well as a group and talked through anything we were unsure of along the way. My friend felt happy that he completed the walk as he didn't think he would manage to do so, but as a group we encouraged him to keep going, and by going a little slower and taking some of his equipment, we were able to get to the camp in good time".
Handy tip: If you are applying for a graduate role, we will ask you to use the STAR model to demonstrate your skills and how they link to our Strengths Framework when writing your supporting statement . Further information is available on our Graduate Programme page .
Put it into practice
Let’s start writing it down! Once you’ve mastered the research and preparation it’s all about putting it into practice and writing it down. Think of it like a set of cogs, if you miss one out, they won’t work together!
Use real-life examples:
These help to show a manager what you can do and explains why you’re ideal for the role. Instead of ‘I have strong leadership skills’, talk about a project you worked on or a process you implemented.
Always be honest in your application form about previous employment, experience and your role. You may get asked questions about your statement during an interview.
Be clear and concise with your answers:
Don’t make managers hunt for clues and piece together your story. Use the supporting statement to your advantage to show your skills and qualities.
If you don’t meet the essential criteria:
It can be tempting to not write about these and hope no-one notices, be positive by acknowledging them and use an example that gives the employer confidence that you can pick up new skills quickly.
Handy tip: Submit your application form on time! Check the advert to see if there’s a submission time specified. If it doesn’t mention a time, it will be 11:59pm on the date the application closes.
Good luck, and we hope to see you soon!
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How to write a supporting statement + examples
- Supporting Statements
On this page
- What is a supporting statement?
- How to write a supporting statement
- Tips for writing
Are you stuck trying to write a supporting statement for a job? That’s why we’ve put together a guide on how to write a supporting statement, including examples. Don’t know what one even is? We’ll also go over that and how long they should be. You’ll become a pro in no time. So, read on to find the ins and outs of supporting statements, examples, and a template. In a rush? Take a look at the key points you don’t want to miss.
A supporting statement can either be a section in your CV, such as a professional summary, or a document attached to your job application. It’s where you prove to hiring managers that you meet the skills and other criteria listed in the job description. This is done by showing your experience, qualifications, or skills relevant to the position you’re applying for. Supporting statements shouldn’t be confused with cover letters or recommendation letters .
Typically, health, educational, and charity organisations will ask for a separate supporting statement with your job application. This will affect how long your supporting statement can be. In your CV, it should be just a few sentences, but as a separate document, it can be a few paragraphs or more. In this article, you can find examples of both supporting statement types.
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Wondering how to write a good supporting statement? Let’s go over what to do, step-by-step.
1. Read the job description
It sounds simple, but relating what you’re writing in your supporting statement back to the vacancy description is crucial. So, properly review the job description before starting your supporting statement. There you can find key information about what employers are looking for in candidates, like required skills, experience, and values. Hiring managers will be scanning your supporting statement for these keywords.
2. Describe relevant skills and education
Now that you know what hiring managers are looking for, how do you effectively put this into practice? Start off by briefly introducing yourself, your background, and why your values or goals align with the organisation. Then, go over all your skills and qualifications that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. Make sure you don’t have a one-size-fits-all supporting statement - tailor them to each job application.
3. Provide evidence
So you’ve started by stating you’re a great candidate, but now you need to back it up. Provide clear examples of how you fit the bill. When writing a supporting statement letter, the best way to provide evidence that includes everything you need is by using the STAR technique . This introduces a situation , describes the task you completed, explains the action you took, and what the result was.
Some employers require specific skills or experience, and will even ask you to give examples in your supporting statement of how you’ve displayed them in the past. This is the perfect time to use the STAR method! Keep it short and to the point, though. To see how to use the STAR technique in your attached supporting statement, see the example below.
4. Wrap up your supporting statement
If you’re writing an attached supporting statement, you’ll want to wrap up your letter with a conclusion. Reiterate why you’d make a good fit for the role, as well as your key skills or qualifications. If you’re writing a supporting statement and no cover letter, it’s also a good idea to end on a call to action to tell the employer what you want out of this application.
5. Give it a second pass
This is crucial: go over your supporting statement again, and check that it includes all the information required. Ask yourself if your stated skills and qualifications are what the role requires, if your evidence is compelling, and if your tone is appropriate. Then request friends, family, or colleagues to take a look at it and provide you with feedback. Also, proofread it for any spelling or grammar mistakes, as this can come across as unprofessional. When all that’s said and done, and changes have been made, you’ll have a stellar example of a supporting statement.
5 tips for writing supporting statements
Keep these five tips in mind when writing your supporting statement.
- Be specific and clear in your descriptions and examples
- Where possible, use concrete examples (e.g. improved efficiency by 20%)
- Keep it short and sweet - employers don’t want to spend more than a few minutes reading your statement
- Keep the focus on what you achieved, rather than your team
- Discuss how your skills and experience benefit the employer and align with their goals
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Supporting statement template
Below is an example of a supporting statement template to use for job applications.
Supporting statement examples
Still struggling with how to write a supporting statement? Here are examples of supporting statements for job applications and for CVs.
CV supporting statement example
A CV supporting statement should be around three sentences. This is typically found either at the beginning or end of your CV. Personal pronouns are usually avoided. Below is a job supporting statement example for a retail manager position.
Attached supporting statement example
A supporting statement with your application can be quite long, ranging from a few paragraphs to a bit more than a page. Below is a supporting statement sample for a social worker position at a charity.
Supporting statements: key points
Learning how to write a supporting statement for a job is easier than you might think. All you need to do is:
- Thoroughly read the job description, highlighting key skills, experience, and qualifications that are required;
- Give a brief introduction;
- Write about these requirements in your supporting statement, using the STAR technique to form your examples and evidence;
- Give a brief summary;
- Proofread and get feedback!
And remember: be specific, clear, and concise. That’s all there is to it! If you want to follow an example supporting statement, just scroll up.
Need some help with other aspects of your job application? We’ve got articles covering interview tips , salary tips , and more. When you’re ready and rearing to go, get your job hunt underway by using our free CV maker to build a professional resume. Then, all that’s left to do is apply for a vacancy .
FAQs about supporting statements
What is a supporting statement for a job?
A supporting statement is a document or part of a document to prove that you meet the job requirements. It provides descriptive evidence of your experience, skills, values, and/or qualifications.
How long should a supporting statement be?
That depends on whether you include a supporting statement in your CV or as a separate document. In your CV, it should really only be a few sentences. But as a separate document, it can be over a few paragraphs long. So how many words should a supporting statement be? For CVs: about 50 words. For documents: around 300-500 words.
How do you start a supporting statement?
Just like any official letter, you’ll need an introduction. The most typical way is to briefly describe your background, skills, and qualifications. Include all the key job requirements here - let the reader get to know you at a glance. Check out how to start your supporting statement with our example.
Explore other job application tips
Star interview technique.
Answer interview questions on a dime with the STAR interview technique!
Read all our tips and tricks on how to create a cover letter here!
Knock your motivation letter out of the park with this thorough guide.
Need someone to vouch for you? Learn all about recommendation letters here.
Want to give your application a credibility boost? Get a job reference!
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Writing a Strong Supporting Statement
Many organisations in the charity and social purpose business sector ask candidates to submit a CV and supporting statement when applying for their live vacancies. These documents will be carefully reviewed and considered as part of the organisation’s shortlisting process.
A supporting statement is your opportunity to demonstrate to your potential employer that you are an excellent candidate for the job. It is really important to take the time to write a thorough statement that reflects you professionally – your unique skills, background, experience, qualifications (if applicable) values and motivations for applying for this opportunity.
Your supporting statement is essentially an extension of yourself as it reflects your personal professional brand, and it is likely to be the first impression the hiring manager and organisation receives of you.
You can see your supporting statement as being a complement to your CV, giving you the opportunity to expand on your experience by demonstrating clear examples that prove your expertise relative to the core competencies required for the role.
The time you invest in writing your statement is good preparation for an interview, as it offers you an opportunity to reflect on your professional experience, accomplishments and successes, and it focuses you to recall specific examples for a set of competencies relevant to your job which will be important for you to be able to demonstrate at any interview you attend in the future.
Tip: If you are active on the job market you may wish to write a template supporting statement. Although you will still need to tailor it for each role you apply for, saving a master copy is likely to save you some time down the line.
First and foremost, spend a little time reading the job description in detail. Reflect on the requirements and responsibilities outlined and how you can genuinely demonstrate that you and your expertise are the solution to the needs of the hiring organisation in this role.
When starting to write your supporting statement it is advised to start by introducing yourself and sharing a short person professional summary that impactfully and concisely outlines your experience. You need to be able to present yourself succinctly in your introductory statement to stand out from the crowd. Focus on the common points of your experience relative to the job and highlight your expertise.
The opening sentence of your introductory statement may include:
- Your job title.
- Number of years/depth of your experience.
- Positive words and affirmations.
‘As a dynamic and innovative Communication Manager with over 6 years’ leadership experience, managing communications and marketing strategies and teams nationally and internationally across Europe and Asia, I feel confident in my ability to successfully deliver the requirements of this role for your organisation.’
Next, outline what motivates you personally to apply for this specific position, in this unique organisation. Your reasons will be real and genuine to you. Your motivation for applying for the role is likely to be aligned with your primary skills, expertise, attributes and career plans, all of which are critical to the success of the deliverables of the position.
Take a little time to research the company you are applying to. Consider what it is that interests you about them. Look at their employer careers page, values, company strategy, LinkedIn page and recent social media posts and news feeds. You may you be passionate about the mission and vision of the organisation, or feel aligned with the company values. You may admire the organisations successes, its plans for the future, its employer brand, its ethical environmental policies, or you may know someone who works at the organisation and has recommended them as an employer to you. Express your motivation for applying for the role, and state why you are attracted to the organisation.
Presenting your unique skills and experience…
Some organisations share a set of guidelines for writing the supporting statement or ask applicants to address certain specific criteria, competencies or values in their written document. If there aren’t any specific instructions shared by the employer, it is recommended to address each point listed in the essential requirement criteria headings from the job description and demonstrate your relevant experience for each one, along with addressing your alignment with the values of the organisation.
By evidencing the specific tasks you completed relative to each criteria, and sharing concrete examples and measurable achievements, you will demonstrate that you possess the experience and skills required for the role.
- Address each point requested.
- Be specific, concise, and give clear examples.
- Describe your responsibility, and how you completed the duty/task/project.
- Focus on what you personally did, rather than what your team or your boss did.
- If relevant to the criteria, explain the outcomes generated by what you described, emphasizing what you accomplished, learned or contributed. Where applicable you may also wish to highlight the outcomes your team/project delivered, while emphasising your personal work and contribution.
- Provide concrete examples and exact numbers wherever you can, e.g ‘increased productivity by 10%, cost saved £10k, increased efficiency by 5%, created a 3 year plan, managed a team of 3 marketing administrators, etc.
- Ensure the supporting statement conveys your personality, lots of positive statements and shows how interested in the role you are.
Closing your supporting statement…
How you close your supporting statement will be unique to you and your personal and professional style. The shortlisting panel will be taking the time to review your application in detail, so it is always advised to thank them for their time, and to reaffirm your enthusiasm and strength of candidacy.
If you are transitioning your career into a new sector or into a new role you may wish to consider ending your statement with a clear intention which communicates what exactly you’re looking for in your next position. For example: “I am now looking to apply the skills I earned throughout my career as a commercial marketing manager into a challenging career role with an organisation that has a clear social purpose mission and impact.’
Remember to add your name to the supporting statement, and to date it.
Finally, it is recommended to have a friend proof-read your supporting statement to check for any spelling or grammar errors. Your recruitment consultant at Longmire Recruitment will also be happy to proof-read your statement for you.
Lynda Morrissey, Senior Recruitment Manager, Longmire Recruitment.
Lynda specialises in supporting social purpose businesses and not-for-profit organisations to recruit talented HR, IT and Digital professionals up to executive level, so that their organisations are resourced and empowered to continue to make important and unique contributions to individuals and communities in our society, and to the living natural world.
For more information about this article contact [email protected]
How to Write a Supporting Statement with Examples
Learning how to write a supporting statement is important. Supporting statements have over recent years become an important part of the application process. This is partly because sending a CV/resume when applying for a job has become easier than ever before. Employers are flooded with applications! On the flip side this has made it harder for the hiring managers to decide whether a person’s is simply spamming their CV and if interest is genuine or not. A personal statement is a great way of filtering that challenge. In this blog post you’re going to learn how to write a supporting statement with examples.
What is a supporting statement
A supporting statement can be considered as a shorter and more concise version of your cover letter. It should be no longer than two paragraphs long and take up approximately a quarter of an A4 sheet of paper, so up to between 80 to 150 words.
Why are supporting statements important?
Supporting statements have a starring role in the modern job application process. The role of the supporting statement is to provide added value to your CV or resume. If your CV or resume is the cake, then the supporting statement will be the icing. It’s an enhancer there to help your CV shine and provide colour to the content. You could even say it is the job application equivalent of MSG, it’s there to bring out the flavour in your CV. Although unlike MSG It has no effect on your health!
Companies also value the fact that you have gone the extra mile when writing a supporting statement for a job. By not simply sending your CV, but also demonstrating that you have an authentic interest in that particular position. This will make it easier for you in your job application to ultimately get through to the interview stage. At the interview stage it’s important to learn the STAR interview technique as well as know which killer interview questions work best. To be able to master this skill I would recommend that you consider interview coaching , as it will allow you to shine in your interviews.
In the rest of this post we’re going to cover the various key aspects when it comes to writing a supporting statement. Furthermore to also discuss example supporting statements.
How to start a supporting statement
When starting to write your supporting statement The key is to build context quickly you’re trying to paint a picture as fast as possible in the hiring manager’s mind. When learning how to write the start of a supporting statement, it’s essential that you mentioned the following:
- Your Job Title or Specialisation as a professional.
- The number of years experience you have.
- The type of industries or organisations that you’ve worked for or with.
The reason why listing your job title or specialisation is very important is that when it comes to writing a supporting statement for a job, this helps instantly build context. The reader will be able to understand your current role and can visualise what you might be doing in your job. Now if it’s the case that your job title doesn’t align very well for the vacancy that you are applying for, maybe you are trying to move into a more senior position. Then it’s better to mention your specialisation, saying something along the lines of marketing professional rather than marketing coordinator since your job title of marketing coordinator is lower than that of a marketing manager which is the role that you’re targeting.
Mentioning the number of years that you have experienced again goes back to the fundamental principles on how to write a job supporting statement, which is to create context quickly. By mentioning the number of years they automatically know how experienced you are. Usually experience correlates with the seniority of the role that you’re applying for for example if you’ve got two years of experience it’s very unlikely that you will be going for a manager role. However it is generally acceptable that if you have around 4 years experience that a manager position is something you’d be suitable to apply for. So from my experience there’s very little negative when it comes to measuring the number of years.
Also by talking about the organisations and industries that you’ve worked in, goes back to that to the importance of painting a picture very quickly when writing a supporting or summarising statement. Particularly if you have worked with or for well-known recognisable brands. This aspect of starting your statement is critical.
How to write a supporting statement
To write a personal statement there are a number of important principles to follow. Below are the list of three key steps you will be able to write a supporting statement for a job whatever your level of experience.
- Be descriptive by using figures and numbers
- Talk about the quantifiable skills that you possess
- Mention something specific that impressed you about the organisation or the role
1) Be descriptive by using figures and numbers
To write a supporting statement first you need to understand that a supporting statement has to be concise and numbers are critical in creating context and understanding quickly. By saying the number of years of experience that you have, the amount of people that you’ve led, the size of the budgets that you manage, and how much money you’ve generated or saved within your company. Will instantly have a positive impact!
2) Talk about the quantifiable skills that you possess
Remember that you’re trying to build a picture as quickly as possible about you in the shower for the shortest amount of time. Soft skills are very difficult to express in writing because they are subjective and require greater explanation. Talking about your quantifiable skills can instantly allow the hiring manager to see your level of competence in ability to do the job for example if you have experience of a particular type of programming language such as Java or have experience of using software’s such as SAS. Or that you know a particular type of analysis technique when conducting research that is easy for others to appreciate and understand.
3) Mention something specific that impressed you about the organisation or the role
A key aspect of the supporting statement compared to a Resume or CV is that you’re showcasing and demonstrating specific interest in that role or the organisation therefore it’s vital that you do that. One of the ways that you can do this is to Showcase in the research that you’ve done on the organisation by mentioning alignment of their values with yours, where specifically their vision and goals, finally alignment with what you will bring to the table.
How long should a supporting statement be?
The recommended length of a supporting statement should be between 100 to 150 words and a maximum of two to three paragraphs long. This is an important rule to stick to because you do not want your supporting statement becoming too long and turning into a cover letter because then it defeats the whole purpose and function of what the supporting or summarising statement is supposed to do. Especially statements when applying to competitive companies such as Google, Amazon, AWS, the NHS and Civil service. If you’re interested in writing a personal statement with example definitely visit our blog section to read more.
Tips for writing your supporting statement
There’s important factors that you need to consider when writing a supporting statement. We’ve already discussed the key components in terms of structuring your supporting statement; however now I will give you some strategies to make it easy for you to write a supporting statement.
- Less is more! Think about how you can write something as concisely as possible, think Twitter rather than a Facebook post.
- Use positive emotive language to speak about yourself.
- If you’re not sure about exact facts and figures, have used approximately or between e.g. approximately £10m, between 20-30 staff members.
Supporting statement templates
So now we’re going to look at some supporting statement examples as well as templates. This includes statements to support job application examples.
[Current job title] possessing over [years of experience], working for the likes of [companies you’ve worked for or with]. Expertise include [list technical expertise]. Garnering a track record of success [ list achievements].
I’m excited by this opportunity at [organisation name] firstly because I believe your mission of [organisation mission] and values [ list values] align with my own. Secondly because I believe that my experiences are an excellent match for [list job title] and I would love to have the opportunity to demonstrate my credentials further in an interview.
So above is a simple yet effective template statement to support job application example. By using it you will be able to write job statements when applying without much stress or bother.
Supporting Statement Examples
Now we’re going to look at some supporting statement example UK, USA, UAE, Singapore and Australia. Also to write a statement examples for anywhere else in the world.
Example 1: Supporting Statement For Digital marketing expert
“My name is [Name]. An experienced digital marketing expert with over 5 years of experience working for the likes of Barclays, JP Morgan, Vans and Adidas. Expertise include developing bespoke social media campaigns across Facebook YouTube Instagram Snapchat and Tiktok. generating revenues in excess of 2 million dollars.
I’m interested in this opportunity because your vision on how to make creative content for big brand, as well as your values of innovation respect any quality align with my own. I believe that with my experience, knowledge and expertise I can contribute to your organisation and would love the opportunity to be invited for an interview.”
Example 2: Supporting Statement For business analyst
“My name is [Name]. MBA-qualified Business Analyst with over 7 years professional experience within the Healthcare, Automotive and Aerospace sector. This includes working for Jaguar Land Rover, Airbus and NHS England. Expertise include business process mapping, multiple stakeholder management, and Excel. Successfully helped deliver over 5 key business Improvement projects valued between £5m-£10m.
I’m excited by the possibility of working with your organisation, your values of honesty, integrity and fun, as well as your desire to create green solutions for the transportation sector. This is something that aligns with my own personal values and mission. I would love to have the opportunity to be able to discuss my credentials in an interview.”
I'm Farhan, the Founder and Coach at JobInterviewology.com, one of the world’s leading Career and interview Coaching specialists. Bringing over a decade of industry experience and a passion for guiding individuals in their career journeys. As an Interview and Career Coach, I've authored the eBook '10 Simple Steps to CV & Resume Success,' directed a leading UK CV writing specialist, and pioneered the iPREP interview coaching methodology. My career and interview coaching has spanned over 10 years across diverse industries, from IT giants like Google and Microsoft to vital sectors like Civil Service & NHS, Pharma, Finance, Engineering, Automotive, Construction, Logistics, Banking, and Management Consulting. I've had the privilege of assisting professionals in presenting their best selves, and targeting roles at renowned companies like Amazon, GSK, EY, Shell, Rolls Royce and more.
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5 Tips to Write a Brilliant Supporting Statement
A cover letter is something that’s become requested less frequently by recruiters in recent years. With many CVs now being submitted by email or via an online system, it’s rare you’ll be asked to submit a cover letter; what is more common, however, is being asked to provide a ‘supporting statement’.
What’s a supporting statement exactly? It’s pretty much the same as a cover letter! A supporting statement is your opportunity to provide some context to your CV and tie together your experience and skills with why you want to apply for this particular role.
The idea of writing a supporting statement might seem like a drag, however you should think of this as an extra opportunity to tell your potential employer how brilliant you are and make a great first impression.
Here are some of Webrecruit’s top tips to help you get started and write a stand-out supporting statement:
1. Make it bespoke
Searching for a new role is time consuming and if you’re applying for several jobs at once, the idea of writing a unique supporting statement for each one can be exhausting.
However, we can’t stress the importance of a bespoke supporting statement enough. Copying and pasting something generic that covers all bases just isn’t going to get you noticed in such a competitive market.
If you’re applying to the company directly or you’re aware of who the end employer is, take a look at their website and the work they’ve completed so far. Does a particular project interest you? Pop a line in your statement saying ‘I love the work that you completed for XX company, it’s right along the same lines of what I like to create, which is why I feel that I’d be the ideal match for your organisation.’
This shows that you’ve taken the time to research what they do and you’re interested in working for them, rather than just applying for any job you can find. Make them feel special.
If you’re applying through an online job advert where you don’t know who the end employer is, pick some of the key details out of the advert about the role and relate it back to your experience and the results you’ve achieved.
2. Don’t just repeat your CV
When trying to explain why your experience is a good match for the company, it can be tempting to just repeat everything already listed in your CV. However, this can lead to a long, boring supporting statement.
Think of your supporting statement as your opportunity to explain why you want to work for the company and why your skill-set is a suitable match for what they’re looking for, rather than just reeling off details of your previous roles.
3. Triple check spelling and grammar
Just like when you create your CV, don’t spend hours crafting a perfect supporting statement only to have it dismissed within a few seconds because you’ve made spelling mistakes.
After you’ve finished writing your supporting statement, read it back carefully. Then read it for a second time, aloud. You might feel a bit silly but it’s easier to identify any mistakes or clunky sentences when you read it out loud.
If you get the opportunity, ask someone else to read through your statement as well. Nothing beats a fresh pair of eyes for picking out a typo!
4. Keep it short and easy-to-read
Recruiters will be looking at dozens of applications every single day so keep your supporting statement as short and succinct as possible, ideally no more than one A4 document in length.
Write in short paragraphs to avoid any walls of text and choose a clear, appropriate font, such as Arial, to ensure that your statement is easy-to-read.
5. Always refer back to the job advert
When constructing your supporting statement, always have a copy of the job advert that you’re applying for in front of you. Note down the specific skills being asked for in the advert and make sure that you refer back to these at all times; try not to go off on a tangent.
Recruiters want to see how you meet the criteria for the role in question, so the easier you make this for them, the better.
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How to write a supporting statement for a job application
Writing a supporting statement involves:
- Figuring out exactly what the employer is looking for
- Coming up with a structure
- Finding evidence that shows you've got what it takes
- Writing the main body of the statement
- Writing introductory and concluding paragraphs
- Proofreading before you submit!
Read on to find out more about how to put these steps into practice and write an interview-winning supporting statement!
When it comes to finding the right candidate, not all employers favour the traditional CV and cover letter - some prefer to read a supporting statement (often also called a personal statement). The good news is that this doesn't require any fancy formatting, but the fact you can’t rely on looks means you have to nail the content. In this post I’ll talk you through how to write a supporting statement for a job application so you stand out from the competition.
Note: as mentioned above, as many people use the terms ‘supporting statement’ and ‘personal statement’ interchangeably in this post I have used both of these terms.
What is a supporting statement?
A supporting statement is used to outline your suitability for a particular role and is your chance to speak directly to the employer’s wants and needs. Although any employer can request one, supporting statements are particularly common in the education and non-profit/charity sectors. One of the biggest employers in the UK, the NHS, requests applicants complete a supporting information section on their online application - this is exactly the same as a supporting/personal statement.
Want to see an interview-winning supporting statement for a job application? I've included one in my Printable Supporting Statement Bundle.
Supporting statement vs. cover letter
While a cover letter is used to convey your interest in a particular job and your suitability for it, a supporting statement is more in-depth and should evidence all of the required competencies for the role. You can find out more about the differences between a supporting statement and a cover letter in my recent article .
Step 1: Identify what the employer wants
Most employers will ask you to evidence your suitability for the role in the supporting statement, but others may want you to explain your motivation for applying too. Be clear on what the employer wants before writing your statement so you can be sure you're hitting the brief.
You also need to know what competencies the employer is looking for from their ideal candidate. This information is usually found in the job description (it's often labelled 'Person Specification), but it may appear in the job advert itself. Look for phrases like ‘We are looking for someone with…’ or ‘Our ideal candidate will have….’; whatever follows this is what you need to focus on evidencing.
If the employer has set a word limit for the supporting statement, make sure you stick to it. If they haven’t, read my blog post How long should a supporting statement be? to find out how much to write.
Step 2: Decide on a structure
It’s entirely up to you how to structure your supporting statement, but there’s a structure I find works really well that I recommend to clients during my Supporting Statement Review Service - structure it around the competencies listed in the person specification. If the employer lists around five to eight competencies, this would be perfectly manageable to structure your supporting statement around, but any more and I'd recommend grouping them. To do this, group competencies that relate to one-another or are similar. For example, you could group IT skills, administration and organisation skills or interpersonal, customer-service and listening skills.
Another point to consider is the order of your statement, and which competencies will be addressed first. It's a good idea to tackle them in terms of their overall importance for the role. Generally speaking, if you've got relevant experience for the position you're applying for, you should highlight this early on as it's a big selling factor. If you’re unsure about the best order to address each competency, review the person specification to see if they are grouped into ‘Essential’ and ‘Desirable’. You may find clues in how frequently the employer has referred to the competencies in the job description too.
If you’ve got limited experience, you may find structuring your supporting statement around each competency a bit tricky. If this is the case, structure it around your past roles or experiences. For example, one paragraph for your current job and the second for your last job. You can then use other paragraphs to focus your attention more on certain aspects of these roles.
Take the stress of out writing your statement
Step 3: Select your evidence
Now you need to identify the all-important evidence. Evidence can be a few different things: specific situations or projects you’ve worked on, or roles you’ve held which required the competencies needed for the role. For example, you may refer to a specific project to evidence your organisation skills, but the same project could also be used to evidence your time-management and multi-tasking skills too. The key is to draw on a range of evidence in your personal statement (don't just rely on one role to evidence everything if you can help it), and focus attention on the most relevant and/or recent examples.
Detailed evidence is what your application will depend on so make sure you dedicate a good amount of time to this. I encourage my clients to brainstorm examples they could refer back to in their personal statement in order to evidence each competency. My Printable Supporting Statement Bundle includes a competency matching grid to help you identify what the employer wants, and match your experience to it.
If you're looking for more tailored support with your application, check out my Supporting Statement Review Service .
Step 4: Start writing
Once you’ve decided on your structure and decided what evidence you're going to draw on, it’s time to start writing. To avoid your personal statement becoming too descriptive, dedicate a paragraph to each competency or group of competencies. This will help your writing stay focused, clear and persuasive.
Want to see what an excellent supporting statement looks like? I've included an interview-winning statement in my printable Supporting Statement Bundle .
Step 5: Write your opening and closing paragraphs
People often struggle with knowing how to start a supporting statement, and it puts them off writing entirely. This is why I recommend leaving the opening until last. By the time you’ve written a first draft you’ll know the key points you want to cover and this will help when you come to writing your opening. When it comes to deciding how to end a supporting statement, keep your message short and sweet. Avoid repeating yourself, and instead provide a summary of your suitability and interest in the role.
Most people struggle to write the opening and closing paragraphs of their supporting statement, so below I’ve included the simple steps to follow to make sure you’re covering the key points and making a good first and last impression.
How long should your opening and closing paragraphs be?
Before you get started, you may be wondering how much to write for these paragraphs. I’d suggest no more than a paragraph which is at most 4-5 lines in length. Be mindful of your overall word count when planning your opening and concluding paragraph – each one should be no more than 5% of the overall word count. So if you have a limit of 1000 words, stick as close to 50 words for each paragraph as you can.
How to start a supporting statement
Here’s a three-step process for how to start your supporting statement:
1. Introduce yourself
One of the most common ways people start a supporting statement is by explaining why they are writing (i.e. to state the role they are applying for and outline who they are). This usually means mentioning their current role and employer and a brief background about their work history. This doesn't have to be too lengthy – remember you have the rest of the supporting statement to detail your skills, experience and competencies. Including a brief overview at the start of your statement can set it off nicely. This may looking something like:
I am writing to apply for the role of... I currently work as a... and have over two years' experience in...
2. Highlight your key selling points
The next topic to cover at the start of your supporting statement is your selling points. These are the skills, knowledge, experience and/or competencies that make you a suitable candidate for the role. Just like when you write a profile on a CV , you'll need to use your judgment to decide what's worth highlighting at the start of your supporting statement and what can be left until later on. If there is one, use the person specification as a guide. You may want to highlight the competencies you consider to be the most essential for the role.
As you will see I have worked primarily in ... roles which has allowed me to develop excellent skills in X, Y and Z. My current position of ... has strengthened my expertise in .... and developed my knowledge in .....
Simplify your job search
3. express your interest in the role.
After outlining your key selling points at the start of your personal statement, you need to explain why you're applying for the role. Unless the company explicitly asks you to write about this, you should stick to a short paragraph for this section.
Here you need to express your interest in the role or organisation you're applying for. Identify a specific reason (or if you can reasons ) why the role appeals to you. I’d suggest picking three reasons why you applied. It's a good idea to go beyond the job advert and description - employers often want to feel like you have chosen them above other companies. This requires research so make sure you read How to research an industry in 5 easy steps for tips on how to do this well. Here's an example:
I was instantly drawn to the advertised role due to its focus on... I have also been looking for a role which would offer more exposure to ... which is a further reason for my interest.
How to start a supporting statement: what to avoid
First impressions count so make sure the opening to your supporting statement doesn't include:
- A quote – quotes often come across as gimmicky, so unless you're confident it perfectly fits the point you want to make don't include them.
- Long-winded stories – hiring managers don't have long to review applications so make their life easy and avoid long narratives.
- Spelling or grammar mistakes – you'd be amazed how many people make these at the start of their supporting statement so make sure you double and triple-check your whole document.
- Flowery language – you don't need to use fancy language to impress. Yes, you want to show the employer you can write well but you can do this without shoe-horning words into your statement that don't really fit.
- What you don't have – never draw attention to the fact that you don't have what you think the employer is looking for. Why emphasise this when you could just say ' I have experience in... ' or ' My varied experience has strengthened my X and Z skills...'
How to end a supporting statement
When you've already spent hours writing your supporting statement, it can be tempting to overlook the importance of the closing paragraph. Lots of people rush this part because they want to get it finished and submitted, but a poor ending can leave the hiring manager with questions about your suitability for the role. Here are three points to cover at the end of your supporting statement:
1. Re-emphasise your suitability for the role
This doesn't need to be a long-winded account of how you match what the hiring manager is looking for. Instead, you just need to include a simple sentence stating that you have the blend of competencies the employer is looking for. It's as simple as that – and what’s even better is you can re-use this sentence from one supporting statement to the next, adapting it slightly to fit the particular role or organisation you’re applying for.
The main purpose of a supporting statement is to show your suitability for a role, so when it comes to the ending, you want to re-emphasise this. With limited words, you need to write a concise summary of your key selling points and package them nicely into a sentence or two.
What these selling points are is up to you to decide. If you’ve already written your supporting statement, you should know what these are but to help with this, put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes and consider what they’re looking for and which boxes you tick as a candidate. These selling points are probably more focused on relevant experience/knowledge than individual skills, although if the role requires a specific skill and this is something you excel at, of course you can focus in on this.
You could use these selling points to emphasise a few different things - the fact you can hit the ground running in the role, make an impact or be an asset to the team. All of these are good phrases but the more tailored you can make these sentences the better. For example, you could mention the organisation’s name or even better - the specific project and/or department you'd be working in. Making it as tailored as possible is the key here.
3. Reiterate your interest in the role
When planning how to end a supporting statement, most job seekers overlook this key point. Ideally, you should have outlined what attracted you to the role at the start of your supporting statement however now is the time to reiterate that interest. Why is this important? Because whilst hiring managers are primarily interested in finding people with the necessary skills, experience and knowledge for the position, they also want to find people who are enthusiastic and excited by the prospect of working in that specific role and for that particular company.
When covering this point, your key consideration should be the language you use. This is how you are going to convey your interest and enthusiasm for the role and company. You want to avoid flowery language and be direct about what interests and/or excites you about the prospect of working in that role and for that employer. Here are a few example words/phrases:
- I am particularly excited by...
- I would welcome the opportunity to...
- I look forward to the prospect of…
Example of how to end a supporting statement
You don’t need to overthink this – you should keep your ending simple and use it to reiterate your suitability for the role:
In summary, I feel the above demonstrates that my professional skills, knowledge, and personal attributes make me a strong candidate for the role of …. at …... My blend of administrative experience, … and …. means I have the knowledge, skills and passion for a role that is the logical next step in my career.
Here's another example:
I am thrilled at the possibility of being involved in .... and would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the value I can bring to your .... project. I look forward to hearing from you.
What to avoid at the end of a supporting statement
The last thing you want to do in your closing paragraph is to raise any suspicions about your suitability for the role or cast doubt on how serious you are about this application. There are various ways this can come across, but here are a few common mistakes I see:
- Highlighting your lack of experience - candidates do it all the time, and although they may think they’re being ‘honest’ there is no need to raise this.
- Using weak or passive language - phrases like 'I think my skills...' which will only make you come across as lacking in confidence. Instead, change this to 'My skills...'
- Waffling – you want to keep your ending concise, and to the point.
If you would like, you can add any of the following to the concluding paragraph of your supporting statement:
- Your availability for a potential interview – if you’re going to be unavailable when the interviews are taking place you may want to highlight this by simply adding to the end of your statement: “I am on holiday between the dates of [add date range] and will be unable to attend an interview during this time.” If you are going to be unavailable for a face-to-face interview, but would be happy to be interviewed remotely, you can also state this.
- A disability – you have no legal requirements to disclose a disability to an employer, however you may wish to mention this in your application. For example “Please note, I …..”
So there you have it - everything you need to know about how to write a supporting statement for a job application. If you want to be sure the supporting statement you're writing is showcasing your relevant skills and experience, take a look at my Supporting Statement Review Service .
This post was originally published on December 1 2019, but was updated in March 2023 with additional content.
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CV and Supporting Statement
Advice on your cv and supporting statement, notice: your application.
Your application will be judged solely on the basis of how you demonstrate that you meet the critieria stated in the job description.
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Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Check your CV is up-to-date, including dates of employment, please indicate reasons for breaks in your career.
- For Professional Services roles keep your CV short (1-3 pages). Academics and Researchers will normally have longer CVs.
- Highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to the role for which you are applying. Avoid sending a generic CV.
- Provide details of your education, employment history and voluntary experience.
- Keep details brief for previous jobs with less relevance and focus on transferable skills gained, e.g customer services skills.
- You may find the advice from our Careers Service on writing a CV useful, but be aware that this material is intended for our students applying for graduate-entry jobs and may therefore not be relevant for all roles.
The supporting statement must explain how you meet each requirement of the selection criteria for the post using examples of your skills and experience. This may include experience gained in employment, education, or during career breaks (such as time out to care for dependants).
- Structure your supporting statement clearly. For example you may want to list each of the criteria in turn, and explain briefly how your skills and experience match these requirements.
- As far as possible, give us evidence that you have the skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications that match what is required for the role. Avoid just stating that you can do the tasks, instead give examples of things that you have done that demonstrate this instead. If you do not have the exact experience asked for, be honest about this and explain how you think your other skills are relevant or how you could address this gap.
- It is fine to use examples from voluntary work or social activities, if relevant, eg 'I keep accounts for my local sports club'.
- Keep your application honest and supported by evidence. At the same time do not be afraid of selling yourself, even if this feels unnatural. Use positive language and write in the first person, eg 'I demonstrated my excellent attention to detail when I handled all bookings for a national conference of 200 people'.
- Explain any gaps in your employment history. For example tell us if you took a career break because of caring responsibilitie,s eg 'I took a nine month career break to look after my elderly father who has dementia'. We recognise that people have varied career patterns.
- Remember to check your spelling and grammar.
Where relevant, such as for research posts, there may also be the need to explain the impact of Covid-19 on your work or research outputs. For example, tell us if you have been unable to complete certain aspects of your research due to lab closures or other restrictions, shielding or caring responsibilities.
Where Covid-19 has resulted in substantial disruption to your work or research outputs, please explain this by providing an additional paragraph in your supporting statement.
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How To Write A Supporting Statement For A Job Application With Template
Wondering how to write a supporting statement and just what makes one different from a cover letter?
The purpose of a supporting statement, like a cover letter, is to be a summary of your CV, an explanation of how your experience and skills apply to the role you are applying to, and why you want to apply to that particular role.
Look at a supporting statement as another opportunity you have to share with your potential employer why you are everything they are looking for and more as an employee.
Read on for our tips which will help you to write a stand-out supporting statement.
Supporting statement vs cover letter
As previously stated, supporting statements are extremely similar to cover letters, so let’s discuss a supporting statement versus a cover letter and why the distinction is important.
Both cover letters and supporting statements explain to your potential employer why you are applying to a role and what skills , knowledge, and experience you have that will help you find success in the role.
The main difference is that a cover letter is usually a separate document that is sent with your CV while a supporting statement is included in the application form and answers a statement like “please explain why you are perfect for this role”.
How to write a supporting statement
A supporting statement needs to explain why you are the perfect for the role you are applying for by illustrating how your past experiences, skills and achievements provide evidence you’ll excel in the role.
You need to write a supporting statement that speaks directly to the employer’s wants and needs and here are some tips on how to write a supporting statement so it does just that.
The first step, and perhaps the most important step, is figuring out what the employer wants from the supporting statement.
Some employers will ask you to explain why you are suitable for the role while others may ask you why you are applying and why you want to be hired.
The second step is to figure out the best way to structure the supporting statement so that you show how you have the key skills highlighted in the job description.
The third step is to decide how you want to describe the skills you possess.
This might be done by highlighting a project that allowed you to exercise a specific skill or a presentation that allowed you to put multiple skills into practice.
How long should a supporting statement be?
Finding a balance for the length of your supporting statement is important so that you take advantage of the opportunity to promote yourself, but don’t waffle.
The easiest way to know how long you should make your supporting statement is if the employer specifies a character or word limit.
However, if there is no word limit, a good supporting statement length is no more than two pages, with 1.5 pages being a good target.
This length allows you to share all your competencies in a concise and focused way that will ensure that employers will keep their attention on your supporting statement.
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Answer the question
When you are writing a supporting statement, especially when it is a section on the job application form, you need to make sure that you are expressly answering what the employer is asking.
As previously stated, sometimes applications will ask questions like ‘what skills do you have that make you the perfect match for this role?’, but others may ask why you want the role or why you’re suitable for the role.
As such, you’ll need to write a custom supporting statement for each job you apply for, making sure your response is tailored to the question at hand and the individual job description.
Making a custom supporting statement also shows that you took the time to research the company you are applying for and shows just how interested you really are in the role.
Supporting statement template
Below is an annotated supporting statement template to demonstrate the best practices for writing and formatting.
How to write a supporting statement for a job application: a summary
Essentially, to write a strong supporting statement, you should know what makes you the best applicant for the job, and convey that to the employer.
A custom supporting statement directly answering the question set by the employer is the perfect way to grab their attention and help you get your dream job.
At PurpleCV , we understand how important it is to stand out and we can help you create the perfect supporting statement that will impress any potential employer.
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Have you ever wondered how to find a job through networking? We’ve all heard the phrase ‘it’s not what you... Read more...
Beating Job Search Stress: 3 Things You Need To Stop Worrying About
This blog contains affiliate links (marked with a *) – meaning we may receive commission if you get a product... Read more...
7 Job Search Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Chances
Searching for a job can be an arduous process, and it can become demoralising if it goes on for a... Read more...
How To Really Sell Yourself In Your Personal Statement
The personal statement is often considered the most challenging part of a CV to write. The perfect personal statement should... Read more...
How To Use Social Media To Boost Your Job Hunt
Over the last few years social media has become a significant presence in our lives . Most of us use... Read more...
6 Ways To Stay Positive While Job Hunting
We’ve all been there: day after day spent filling in job applications, an inbox full of polite rejections, the odd... Read more...
The Importance Of A Cover Letter
Have you ever heard the expression “Put your best foot forward”? When it comes to potential employment, such a practice... Read more...
A Guide To Online Job Boards
Looking for a job online can be daunting. There appear to be thousands upon thousands of current vacancies in your... Read more...
The Importance Of A LinkedIn Profile
Everyone’s on social media these days, from Facebook to Twitter and Myspace, it’s a great social convenience for those who... Read more...
How To Write A Stand-Out Graduate CV And Cover Letter
Wondering how to make a stand-out graduate CV and cover letter? So you’ve come out of the other side of... Read more...
The Basics Of A Cover Letter
Getting the basics of a cover letter right is essential if you want to ensure you are seriously considered for... Read more...