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Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

Statement of qualifications: What is it and do I need one?

11 min read
Statement of qualifications: What is it and do I need one?
Artwork by:Veronika Kiriyenko
A statement of qualifications may be a required part of your job application or a choice you make about how best to present your skills. What does it contain and how do you go about creating one? Read the blog below for tips and examples.

Your job hunt has begun. You’ve put together an excellent job application package including a resume and cover letter (if you need help in these areas, we’ve got you covered with our guides and examples), but now your prospective employer is asking for a statement of qualifications. 

What exactly is a statement of qualifications? We’ll go into detail below, but typically it is a paragraph or list that shows the hiring manager that you have the necessary skills for the position.

Yes, it’s another hoop you have to jump through, but the recruiter is looking for it and you really want the job, so let’s get started. The sooner you get the application in after the job is posted, the better.

Read on for statement of qualification examples and to learn the answers to these questions:

  • What is a statement of qualifications?
  • How is it different from my summary?
  • How do I write a statement of qualifications?
Statement of Qualifications
Statement of Qualifications

What is a statement of qualifications?

A statement of qualifications puts a laser focus on the best and highest-level qualities you have that make you a match for the job. Then, it places them at the top of your resume in a list of easy-to-read bulleted items.

Recruiters are resume scanners, so the easier it is for them, the better your chances are. Since the goal of your job application is to garner an interview, making your argument for employment front and center in this section, also known as a summary of qualifications, makes a lot of sense. And that’s really what a statement of qualifications is: A brief argument for employment.

How is it different from my summary?

A resume summary section and a statement of qualifications differ in two key ways:

Statement of qualifications Resume summary
List of bulleted items Complete paragraph
Sticks to skills and successes that are most relevant to the job May include a statement about why the job is attractive and a career summary

In fact, this bulleted list typically replaces your summary section – if you are including it as part of your application document. You have at most two pages, so we do not recommend including both a summary and a statement of qualifications. Your goal is to get as much unique information into your resume as possible without too much overlap.

Expert tip

Some civil service jobs require a separate statement of qualifications, but the principles of writing one are the same. In some cases, the government agency may ask questions you must answer in your statement. Make sure you do so or your application will go no further.

Also, make sure that you align the style of this document with your resume and cover letter and include a header with your contact information.

In a way, the word “statement” is a misnomer since you are not developing a complete statement but instead curating the highlights of your career and giving them a place of prominence.

How to write a statement of qualifications with examples

Each time you apply for a position, you need to tweak your job application to fit the targeted role and employer. This is especially true if the HR department has asked for a statement of qualifications. They want to know quickly whether you fit the job description.

Before your fingers hit the keyboard, you have some research to do. Go back to the job description. Often, employers include long lists of desired skills. Some may be under the heading “musts” and others are classified as “pluses” or “nice to have.” If you have already written your employment history section, check to see how many items already match your prospective employer’s wishlist. If any of those are among your proudest moments, move them to your statement of qualifications.

The qualifications summary should be no more than five items long. Take the time to review your achievements and choose the ones that illustrate where you want to be in your career. Be cognizant that the main goal here is to back up your assertion that you will be a value-add to the company.

Organize your bulleted items with the dual qualities of how impressive they are and how well they fit the job description in mind. Just as in your resume, you should begin each bulleted item with a strong action word and follow it up with the details of your accomplishment.

Expert tip

If you don’t have a Master List of your skills and accomplishments, consider creating one as you go through this step. Brainstorm every career success and all your hard and soft skills. Leave nothing out. If you’re very ambitious, you can write your employment history bullet items now, too.

The better you organize this file, the better. Choose a system that works for you, but here are some ideas:

  • Level of expertise
  • Hard skills
  • Soft skills
  • Ranked achievements
  • Different types of skill sets if you have had a varied career.

Taking the time upfront to complete this task will make the task of personalizing each job simpler (and probably make you feel great about all you’ve accomplished already!). You will just need to go back to your list and copy-paste the qualifications that best fits for the job application.

Make sure you update this regularly as you advance in your career.

Statement of qualifications example for an electrical engineer:

  • As managing electrical engineer, supervised the design of a LEED-certified electrical system for a 200-bed rural hospital
  • Through evaluation of the medical center electrical system, discovered and corrected a design flaw that could have led to outages
  • Mentored junior electrical engineers new to the medical construction field
  • Communicated with architects and hospital management to ensure all electrical needs were met in the most efficient manner possible.

Statement of qualifications example for a high school psychologist:

  • Advocated for students with severe mental health needs to find placements in the out-patient program and acted as liaison with parents and guardians to ensure quality and continuity of care
  • Applied for and received $250,000 federal grant to create outreach and education program for immigrant parents
  • Developed and oversaw extracurricular social skills program for students with autism

What to include in a statement of qualifications

If you are new to the workforce, your statement of qualifications does not have to be sparse. Your education is a valuable component of your application so feel free to include it high up – or even first, especially if you earned honors.

You may also include class projects that relate directly to the job.

Statement of qualifications example for a new graduate:

  • Graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and a concentration in accounting
  • Collaborated with a team of classmates to win the “Design a Viable Startup” contest in senior-level business seminar
  • Balance books and assisted in creating a budget presentation in a summer internship at Infinite Accounting firm
  • Spearheaded effort to re-create annual charity Bowl-A-Thon as a Covid-friendly online game event
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Key takeaways

  • A statement of qualifications is a bulleted list that makes the strongest possible case for your employment.
  • You may choose a qualifications summary in lieu of a traditional summary paragraph, but there are key differences between the two.
  • Place your crowning achievement at the top of your statement of qualifications.
  • Make sure you choose the skills that are most relevant to your prospective employer.
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