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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