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This One Simple Approach Will Make You Rethink How You Apply to Jobs

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Laurie West Blog about how to apply to jobs more sucessfully

Applying to a job has never been easier.

There's so many websites and tools enabling you to send your CV with the press of a button (or the swipe of a thumb). What does this mean for applicants?

Well, potentially far more competition for one. Companies need to hire in-house recruiters just to wade through all the CVs. Staring at hundreds of applications with deadlines to hit can get tiring. Only the best CVs survive to the next round and mistakes can happen; some great potential new hires can easily slip through the net.

So how can you stand out?

Well one approach worth considering is re-inventing the tired and rarely beneficial cover letter and bringing it back to life. 

Cover letters can work, but they often don't. Very few are actually tailored specifically for that one job application. They can read in a superficial way and people find it hard to make them sound natural. They sort of write one because it's expected but they rarely add any value. In fact, a cover letter could even be detrimental to your application.

What our clients consistently tell us is they want to know about you. They want to see beyond the CV (without having to meet you...yet). They want to feel loved (or at least liked) and that you care about their company; that you've really thought about the role and what they have on offer before you begin to engage. And that you have made the extra effort to put your best foot forward. 

One simple way of showing your best is by writing a supporting statement. This one single approach has brought our CV to interview ratio to over 90%. Here's a basic guide for you that you can use for any job application. 

How to Structure a Supporting Statement

  • Start with a short intro about you
  • Say why you’re interested in the role
  • What it is about the company and what they do that gets you excited? Tell them!
  • Think about a specific key highlight in your experience that provides a ‘hook’ – this is about demonstrating a clear reason that they should interview you (beyond the CV etc.)
  • Anything additional you think is relevant and would provide context or bring your application to life. Past examples include people you might know at the company, a past-time or hobby that is very relatable to their industry demonstrating your passion, a unique thing you’ve been involved in that shows you are proactive and go the extra mile.

A supporting statement is not:

  • A regurgitation of what you’ve said on your CV
  • Another name for a cover letter
  • A generic document
  • Longer than 1 page (1.5 pages would be acceptable provided the content was very relevant and communicated effectively).

A supporting statement is:

  • Your chance to stand out
  • A way to show how you communicate in your own voice
  • A demonstration of your time investment and interest in the company
  • Something that can be sent to the relevant hiring manager or recruiter together with your CV; so you can write as if you were speaking to them directly
  • An opportunity to highlight specific examples that directly relate to the key skills in the job description 

By being considered in your approach and doing your due diligence including company/industry/campaign research, and using a supporting statement to communicate you, your knowledge and your interest, you'll have the best chance of interview. Not only that but your application will more than likely be viewed in a very positive light. This means you’ll be in a stronger position to get from interview to offer stage. It will also likely mean a more enjoyable, fruitful and positive interview. Either way it’s a great exercise to explore what you really want and why you’re great.

So, put yourself ahead of the competition, take the time to apply for the right job opportunity and make it count.