Supporting statements and covering letters are often a cause for concern and really they need not be once you hold a few rules in mind. To start, it is so important to bear in mind that these documents are all about the reader and never about the writer. To demonstrate this, think what is the most important aspect of these exchanges? I would suggest it is the need for you to pursue what the potential employer wants and how you will add value to their enterprise. I have read so many CV’s, covering letters and supporting statements that are all about what the applicant is looking for – new horizons, new experiences, better prospects – you get the idea.
The question to ask here is, why does the reader care? They have yet to meet you and at this moment their priority is finding the right person to fill their role, not helping you to feel engaged or fulfilled. Once they have met you (and hopefully employed you) they will care a great deal hopefully, but it is asking a lot for a stranger to care about what you want and what motivates you.
So, here we arrive at the next important point. This is about making life as easy as possible for the reader, clear and concise documents demonstrate you are able to condense the most salient points to express yourself and that you value their time so will get right to the point. If you start to offer too much detail and their minds will wander, and you will not come out of that well.
Also, consider that adding too much information often suggests that it is you, the writer, who feels in need of convincing – which equates to the suggestion that you are unsure of yourself and your talents, and if you do not believe in yourself why should they believe in you?
The cover letter example I offer to the people I work with is minimalist, to say the least, just an outline of how their skills match and why the potential employer should read the accompanying CV – it is never, ever, a rehash or presentation of the CV. Why spend all that time and energy demonstrating your skills and experience within a CV, formatting it beautifully and then cramming the information into a letter.
Why spend all that time and energy demonstrating your skills and experience within a CV, formatting it beautifully and then cramming the information into a letter?
The same applies to a supporting statement. This is your chance to offer a concise view on how your skills match their requirements (it is all about them remember), and the addition of why you would bring value to their company.
The driver for each is to encourage the reader to move on to your CV – “great statement, straight to the point and they have the required experience – let’s read on”. Bore them here by rattling on too much and they are unlikely to even pick up your CV. If the application does not require a CV and starts with a supporting statement, then your existing CV should supply you with all you need, just cut and paste from one great document and you are well on your way. The supporting statement is a chance to open and catch their eye, your skills and experience have potential, the real information should follow on.
If the application does not require a CV and starts with a supporting statement, then your existing CV should supply you with all you need, just cut and paste from one great document and you are well on your way. The supporting statement is a chance to open and catch their eye, your skills and experience have potential, the real information should follow on.
Please do not write each application as you go, have a master copy that you can pick up and tweak. Otherwise, your ‘voice’ will vary hugely dependant on how you are feeling that day and may sound unauthentic and again distance the reader. Without a master copy, you are also more likely to repeat yourself or leave out essentials.
And please, spell check (obviously) but also reread and see how you can make any sentence shorter or punchier without losing context, a skill that is worth mastering.
I hope this helps and do bear in mind we can take all this pressure from you if you use our very well respected and successful CV and LinkedIn service. It is an investment in yourself and one that pays off time and again. Just get in touch.
Warmest regards to all
Director – Police into Private Sector