Applying for a job in our IT & Digital team: What does a good supporting statement look like?

Our IT & Digital team in Birmingham City Council currently offers great career opportunities. Are you keen to join us and need help applying?

The following tips explain what we mean when we ask you to submit a ‘supporting statement’ as part of your job application to give you the best chance of succeeding.

Photo by Junjira Konsang

What is a supporting statement?

A supporting statement is what other organisations also refer to as a statement of suitability or cover letter. It is different from your CV as it sums up why you are applying for a specific role, highlights your relevant skills and experience and how they match those as described in the job advert.

It is also an opportunity to highlight your motivation for the role, your interest in joining our team and how you can generally contribute as a team member.

A supporting statement is an essential part of your application so don’t skip it!

Why does it matter?

The supporting statement helps you stand out and differentiate yourself from other applications that are often too generic. It also helps our hiring team see how you demonstrate the skills and experience that are listed as ‘essential’ in the job description and makes sure the recruitment process is fair and open.

How to write a supporting statement?

Here’s some good practice on how to write your statement:

  • Start with stating clearly which job you’re applying for
  • Demonstrate how you are suited for the role. This means including a brief summary of your relevant skills and experience relevant to the role. A short paragraph or a few bullet points is just fine.
  • Address each item on the ‘essential’ list of skills and experience on the job description. Feel free to also respond to any items on the ‘desirable’ list.
  • Use some examples to show how you’ve used (or acquired) a skill or experience:
    • For instance, if you say you’ve got product or user research skills do mention some jobs, projects or situations where you’ve used them.
    • You may sum up a prior work situation, provide details regarding the tasks required or problem to solve, what actions you took to achieve that, and the results and outcome of the situation. For some jobs, it might be quite detailed, but do not explain every single thing. A summary is fine. And if your result is not positive, describe what you’ve learnt.

How long and in what format should the statement be?

Keep your supporting statement short and to the point, around 500 to 800 words maximum. It is meant to be a summary of your skills and experience relevant to the role and not a copy of your CV.

Some people prefer to list essential skills and experience as headings, others use bullets or just text. The structure is not important to us – just ensure that you cover all of the essential skills and experience.

What else should I think of?

Review your supporting statement for any spelling or grammar error that would get in the way of the first impression you want to give. You might find it useful to ask a friend with a fresh pair of eyes!

Have a browse on this blog to learn more about what we do and also find out more about the team. This might also help you gain insight from people in the team who are in a similar role.

Find out more about our job opportunities on LinkedIn and Twitter

If you have any questions or feedback, please email digital@birmingham.gov.uk (clearly indicating the job title/reference in the subject field).

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