Tips for writing your supporting statement

We’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions for writing your supporting statement when applying for a role at Victim Support. We hope this helps but if you have any further questions, please email recruitment@victimsupport.org.uk

Victim Support has a behavioural competency framework which sets out the competence levels that are expected by those who work or volunteer with VS and
the differing levels of competence according to the level of the role.

Essentially the competencies describe the types of behaviours that are expected to be displayed. VS use our behavioural competency framework to inform our role descriptions. Each role description contains a list of behavioural competencies and the level of performance required. It is worth having a read through the relevant levels of our behavioural competency framework to ensure you are clear on the level of competence that you would be expected to demonstrate and to ensure you pitch your responses at an appropriate level.

Each role description also contains a person specification which sets out the essential requirements for the role.

Within your personal statement you need to describe and evidence how you meet the behavioural competencies and essential requirements for the role. If you also meet desirable requirements set out in the role description you should describe and give evidence of how you meet these as well.

As advised above the role description sets out all essential requirements of the role within the person specification and indicates how these are tested (Application, Testing, Interview, through Performance or a combination of these!). So when drafting your responses to the essential requirements make sure you keep in mind which are tested at application stage and pitch your response with the right behavioural competence level in mind.

It is important to remember that your supporting statement must describe and evidence how you meet the essential requirements for the role and if you meet any desirable requirements include this evidence as well. But it must also be pitched to demonstrate that you meet the behavioural competencies so it is worth spending a little time thinking about how best to draft your supporting statement to ensure that your evidence can show both.

For each of the requirements, you need to provide ideally one (or at the most, two) specific, relevant example(s) of a particular situation that helps you to tell us where you have demonstrated those behavioural competencies, skills, knowledge, abilities or experience.

Try to use examples that are as closely related as possible to the job you are applying for. Your examples should be work-based examples where possible although you might find suitable examples from other areas of your life, particularly if you have not worked for a while or if this is your first job, e.g. from volunteer roles, education or training, from clubs, networks or organisations that you are a member of.

It is important that you are specific when writing about what you have done – do not describe what you do or have done in general terms. Try to choose an actual event, project or achievement. These may include, for example, setting up a department or team, developing and implementing a policy, managing a particular change within the team, dealing with a difficult issue or complaint, solving a day-to-day problem.

In each example you need to show clearly what your personal contribution was. You should avoid using “we” and describe what you did.

STAR stands for:
Situation (an event, project or challenge faced)
Task (your responsibilities and assignments for the situation)
Actions (what you did to relieve or rectify the situation)
Result (results of actions taken)

It is a technique which can help you structure your responses in an application, particularly those which are competency based.

Whilst you are not required to use STAR, the structure does help you to clearly describe a situation or problem; highlight the task you had to accomplish; explain what actions you took to achieve the task; and show the result – what you achieved and/or what you learned.

Below is an example of how STAR can be used:
Situation: During my time at university I undertook a six week placement working as a holiday rep in Spain.

Task: I was responsible for organising the evening entertainment; normally I would hire a local band and provide a BBQ. On this particular occasion the band were taken ill, leaving 60 guests waiting to be entertained.

Action: As it was my responsibility to keep the guests entertained, I explained that there had been a change of plan and there would be a disco instead. I used my phone and the PA system to play music; I also invited the guests to play music
from their own devices.

Result: The evening turned out to be a great success with more than half of guests feeding back how much they had enjoyed the entertainment. This feedback was used to inform future events planning.

Remember that recruiters are looking to see what behaviours, skills, knowledge, and experience you are evidencing in your answer and also what impact or result you made, so your action section is probably the most important part and recruiters will also be interested in knowing the result or outcome of what you did so it is worth keeping the situation and task relatively short. Use word allowances to focus on your actions and how the outcome was achieved.

  • Write your supporting statement in a Word document first so that you can easily check the spelling the grammar and then paste it in to the online application
  • Make sure your supporting statement is within the character limit and that none of it has been cut off by copying it from a Word document in to the online form
  • Double check your statement against the role description and person specification to make sure you have evidenced how you meet all of the essential criteria
  • Make sure examples and evidence that you use are as relevant as they can be to the role you are applying for – even if it is not the same sort of job or sector. Think about what the role is looking for and then think about how to tailor your example to best showcase your experience to match this.
  • Think about picking an example that shows an impact that you made, perhaps in terms of results delivered or improvements made.
  • Remember that you bring something unique, so try and ensure this comes through in your application

And finally, if you are shortlisted for interview recruiters will again be looking for evidence at interviews, so you can use STAR again to present your responses, ensuring you get your best evidence across.

We wish you every success with your application!