We’ve all heard of STAR employees, but how can we be STAR candidates when searching for a new position? This article will discuss the benefits of using the STAR technique in both resume writing and interviews, unlocking the secret to bagging your dream career move and beating the competition to the punch.
STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. It’s a clever technique that boosts answers about your experience. When writing your CV or answering interview questions, STAR reveals critical insights about your skills and expertise, giving your answers potency to WOW the interviewer.
To better understand how to fit your experience into each part of STAR, you can ask a question:
One of the most common forms of questions employers tend to ask is the competency-based question. These tend to start with “Tell me about a time you . . . ” or “Describe a situation where . . . “. Examples include:
Pre-empting these questions and responding with STAR-based examples is a killer tactic to ensure interview success. But how do you know which questions the interviewer will ask?
The short answer is, you don’t. However, by paying close attention to the job description and the requirements, you can prepare in a predictive way. For example, if one of the requirements says strong presentation skills. You can edit this to ‘tell me when you had to display your results in an informative presentation.’
Following this example, use the 4-part method of STAR to answer this question. So, imagine the interviewer asks: “Can you describe a time when you gave an informative presentation to the group?” your answer may look like this
Situation: “When I worked as a Data Manager for a niche contract research organisation in 2020, I was part of a team that handled the setup and database lock for numerous clinical trials.”
Task: “After working in this position for over a year, I noticed many junior Data Managers were not up to speed with the latest processes. After speaking with a few of the senior team members, they agreed.”
Action: “I developed a comprehensive training presentation where I strategically covered areas I felt needed the most attention. Once ready, I scheduled a convenient date and performed the presentation to the junior team members. Leaving ample time for Q&A at the end.”
Results: “We saw a significant increase in overall productivity and positive feedback from the corresponding Programmers and Statisticians. Several of the junior team members privately thanked me for the help.”
Like before, your first stop will be the desired job description. Diagnose the three stand-out behaviours/skills that you deem integral to the role. Think of how you have demonstrated this in the STAR format, then condense your verbal response to a few bullet points. Finally, include these under your experience on your CV.
By utilising STAR in this way, you’re indicating why you’re suitable for the role and making it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to distinguish it.
Following our previous example of a Data Manager demonstrating their presentation skills, here’s an example of how STAR might look on their CV.
Data Manager – PAREXEL
Massachusetts, May 2018 – Present
Using the STAR method in a resume makes it easier to share the scope of your skills and qualifications. Here are the main benefits of choosing this method:
Build rapport, learn about the company culture, understand your role in greater detail and close well. All this and more in our 10 best interview questions to ask a hiring manager.