Ten2Two shares top tips on how to write a great supporting statement to help your job application shine from the top of the pile.

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First impressions count

When you’re applying for something, remember that you’re being judged from the moment someone opens up your CV. Your supporting statement, covering letter or email is so important to get your reader to this point. Always think about your audience when you’re composing an application. Don’t just write, “Please put me forward for this role” and leave it at that. You need to sell yourself from the word go.

Sometimes your application will be one of hundreds that end up on a recruiter’s desktop, so you need to do everything you can to be chosen as one of the best. And that’s often before you’ve even been put forward for the role you want. And remember, recruiters might even use your words when describing you to the client.

Get off to a great start

If you’re not asked for a supporting statement, give a brief one anyway – it shows you’re really interested in the role rather than applying for everything that’s going. Our top tip is to try and to get across your enthusiasm for the role, which will energise the recruiter, e.g. “I was very excited when I saw the role advertised as it’s such a close match for my skills”.

Start your opening paragraph with a short introduction about yourself but always be thinking, ‘how does this make me sound like the best candidate for the role in question’?

For example, “I’m a designer with over twenty years’ experience” is fine. But “I’m a designer with over twenty years’ experience, largely in the telecommunications industry” is far better if you’re applying for a job with a mobile company. Or if the job is in the retail industry, and you haven’t got as much experience here to dial up, talk about the transferable skills you’ve developed in previous career roles.

Make it easy for your reader

If you’ve completed a project in a similar field to the job specification you’re applying for, make sure you include this briefly in your supporting statement or covering letter. This is your chance to shine, so make sure you give the reader information that will really stand out.

It’s also a chance to show that you’ve done your homework on the role in question. Yes, you could show off some facts you’ve learned about the company you’re looking to join, but make sure you tie them into some relevant experience that you possess – and thereby help the reader to answer the question ‘why you?’

We can’t stress how important brevity can be. A covering email or letter needs to be short and sweet, otherwise your key messages could well be lost. Remember the reader! They will have lots of CVs on their desk, possibly just like yours.

Remember your audience 

We also recommend that you balance your references to ‘I’ and ‘me’ with ‘you’, ‘your company’, ‘your organisation’. Naturally you have to talk about yourself, but again, check that each sentence puts the emphasis on the role and the company in question. Otherwise, it could just be irrelevant content. Find out more about writing the perfect covering letter here.

Finally, one of our Directors, Deborah says, ‘Whether the recruiter or client is junior or senior, they’re forming opinions about you throughout the whole recruitment process. So keep in mind your audience, behave as if you really want the job – and be yourself.”

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