How to Write a Supporting Statement

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14 Applications, supporting statements and personal statements

Applications – the basics

(Givens: to really take seriously, work on a photocopy/sheet of paper first, keep a copy of what has been sent, complete in black biro)

• Do not scatter-gun. Decide on a direction and stick at it. • Put in your best effort – they WILL notice if you don’t. • ‘Full’ or ‘complete’ details means what it says. Where it doesn’t, you may have licence to pick and choose. • Personal/supporting statements on application forms: these are not optional - they are important:

Writing supporting statements on application forms

Pay attention to the introductory sentence:
If you are told that the statement should address ‘why you want to work for the company’ and ‘how you will be able to contribute’, it wants answers to both. In the latter case, you are helped by the Person Specification, which your application should be written around. The Person Specification is the document by which you will usually be measured in the shortlist decision.

The difference between Job Description/Specification and Person Specification. The job description is a list of the tasks and responsibilities which you would be expected to undertake within the advertised position. You use this to decide if you want the job and it may well become the material for much of the interview. The person specification lists the personal qualities and/or experience required of the candidate. The shortlisting process looks at which candidates match this (or come close). The statement should, therefore, run in the order of the person specification and should cite examples of how the criteria are met. This assists the sifting process.

The statement needs to address the specifications, also keeping in mind the introductory sentence. An abbreviated fictional example follows.

Marketing Researcher for Carpets R Us

Job Description

Designing questionnaires
Supervising telephone interviewers
Collating and interpreting data
Written reports
Presentations to Senior Management
Keeping up to date in research methods
Using SPSS statistics package

Person Specification

Essential

Experience
Previous employment in a commercial setting
Research work at least at higher education level
Preparation of written reports

Knowledge/Qualifications
Research design and methods, including quantitative methods
Numeracy and literacy to good GCSE level

Skills
Good telephone manner
Good oral communications
Use of information technology

Desirable

Experience
Management positions
Group presentations

Knowledge/Qualifications
Degree in statistics or marketing
Membership of an appropriate professional body

Skills
Use of teaching aids
Computer statistics packages, preferably SPSS or MiniStat
An example.

|Supporting Statement: using only one page, tell us why you wish to work for CarpetsRUs and | |anything which you believe would support your application. | | | | I wish to pursue a career in Market Research and believe that the position at CarpetsRUs will | |prove both a challenge and an opportunity to develop. As a a market leader, CarpetsRUs | |demonstrate an innovative approach to marketing; I believe that I can be an asset in maintaining | |a leading edge, by high quality research combined with commercial awareness. | | I am able to offer the following qualities: | | | |Experience:...
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