Applications and supporting statements


Universities and public sector organisations are very fond of the large blank box on application forms. These usually ask you to explain how you meet the essential and desirable criteria, or for you to provide general information on your suitability for the post.

Many recruiters use a matrix to shortlist candidates, scoring you points when you demonstrate that you match what they have asked for. It is your job to make it easy for the recruiter to find the information that they’re looking for.

Much like writing a paper or a thesis, you need to include some good signposting in your statement. When confronted with long passages of text, it is common for recruiters to forget where the statement is going, or to start skim-reading. Signposting is the key.

• There is no room for subtlety in a job application. Don’t be shy to use the recruiter’s language in your supporting statement. If you’re thinking ‘well, won’t they think that’s a bit obvious?’, the answer is ‘yes!’, and they will probably thank you for it!
• Have a clear, simple sentence at the start of each paragraph that matches something in the job or person specification. If they’ve asked for someone with experience of working in multi-disciplinary teams, start your paragraph with ‘I have experience of working in multi-disciplinary teams’.
• You could also consider using sub-headings that match the person specification, if you feel it appropriate.


Need more help?

For more information about how to access help from the Careers Service, see our Support page.

> Next: Interviews and assessment centres
> Previous: CVs and covering letters


Back to Blog