Your Supporting StatementPosted on 17th August 2017
What charities are looking for in your supporting statement
Supporting statements are a staple part of the application process within the Charity sector. More and more charities are using these to help differentiative between candidates and help them make that perfect hire. Writing a supporting statement is an art form, here is our advice on how to write a top quality supporting statement!
When writing your personal statement, the very first thing you must address is why you’re interested in this charity. A lot of charities like to get an idea and feel for what it is about the organisation that makes you want to work there. There should always be a hook that highlights the reason you are applying, is it the job? Is it the cause? There will usually be an underlying reason why the role appeals and this is your opportunity to tell it. It shows an understanding of their mission or vision and how you align. The charity sector is much more emotive than the commercial sector – its key to show your motivations and passion for your chosen charity.
However, this needs to be concise. You’ve got to be careful not to get too caught up in the emotion and your story. It’s very easy to end up writing a hugely expansive profile on this and forget to talk about the reasons why you are right for the role and what value you’ll add to the organisation. There needs to be a balance.
The ideal structure of your supporting statement should be opening with a small hook and then continuing to address why you are right for the positon. Your statement shouldn’t be more than two pages long – not matter how well written your piece is, people will get bored after a page or two, and, on top of this, they have your CV to look at as well! Your first two paragraphs are key as this is where you will have the readers’ highest levels of concentration and attention. The trick here is to be concise.
When you’re writing your supporting statement, you need to address every point on the job specification. You need to address each element, making it clear what experience you have that matches the criteria and demonstrate where you have put this into practice; show them your proven experience and provide examples.
Concision is key when writing a top quality supporting statement; you can group points together so you don’t have to address each one individually – points that cover the same sort of area can be addressed and demonstrated with one encompassing example.
The Shortlist Scoring System
A lot of charities use a scoring system to help them with their shortlisting process. They’ll go through your supporting statement and score against the person specification and those with the highest scores will be invited to interview; so make sure you cover everything on the person spec!
Some organisations may not ask for a supporting statement, but including this in your application can set you apart from your competition; this can be the thing that gets you in front of the client as it shows that you are pro-active and have real passion, drive, and commitment for the role. This is a really targeted approach from you, which will be taken on board and appreciated that much more.
Check Your Spelling
Check your spelling and grammar and then check it again and again and again! You can have the best supporting statement in world and be the absolute perfect fit for the role, but if your statement is full of errors it will still be dismissed. Attention to detail is key to any role – especially if its listed in the person specification!
Tailoring Your Supporting Statement
If you’ve applied for a role in the Charity sector before, you probably have a supporting statement already or you might have a general supporting statement that you might be tempted to send for all roles. A generic supporting statement won’t suffice; they need to be tailored for the job you are applying to. By tailoring your statement to each role, your showing that you understand the role and you understand what they are looking for – you’re showing that you can do what they require and demonstrating why. This is even more important if you’re junior or new to the sector.
You could have no relevant sector experience for the role, but if you can, through a strong supporting statement, convince someone that you have the right transferable skills, they would potentially still see you.
New to the sector or starting your Charity sector career?
If you have no experience in the sector, our first piece of advice to you (if viable) will be apply for an internship or get some volunteering under your belt. If you can put on your cv that you have some voluntary experience, you show commitment to the sector, the sector will buy into you. A strong supporting statement will help you break into the sector as you can highlight your transferable skills and experiences.
We understand that looking for work is a full-time job in its own right and applying for these sorts of jobs, on top of your current full time role, is hard; it’s difficult to find the time to do this. However, this could be the difference between getting your dream job and not. Investing time in doing this, writing an individual, tailored supporting statement for each role you apply to is well worth it. These extra hours of work are worth it in the end.
If you’re looking for a role within the sector, whether it’s the next step in your career or you’re new to the sector, take a look at our jobs page for all of our latest roles. The team here will support you fully through your application process providing guidance and feedback on your statements when required.