Becoming a STAR Candidate


How can you set yourself apart in the job application process? Use the STAR method to showcase your skills, talents and accomplishments.

Here is a simple approach that requires hard work but pays big dividends:

  • Review your experience, and then select three things that you did best and liked most, but also situations where you got results.
  • Write a short story about each selected experience.
  • Put the results you got for each experience in your resume.
  • Tell the story about each experience in the interview.
  • Start looking at your current work for opportunities to do what you do best and like most--and where you think you can get results.

The hardest part for most people is writing the story. How do I start? What do I say? How do I finish? The secret to writing a compelling story is found in the word STAR. Let’s look at each letter to see what I mean:

  • S is for the Situation you faced in the story.
  • T is for the Task you had to accomplish.
  • A is for the Actions you took.
  • R is for the Results you got.

The impact a STAR can make

Let’s take a look at a simple story about a school picnic. The situation was that my son was in the third grade, and the PTA president asked me to head a spring event to raise money for extra activities at the school. The task to be accomplished was to create an event that would be so fun that most of the kids and parents would come, buy tickets and spend money. The actions I took started with envisioning the “Great All-American Picnic” with games, contests, prizes and lots of food and drink. Then I wrote it all down and sent my ideas to the parents I knew at school, and invited them over to the house for dessert and coffee. We talked about all the cool things we could do, and I asked who would like to do what. Pretty soon we had a core team to handle food, games, contests, money, promotion and of course, prayer. The results were fantastic! Over half of the families in the school attended the picnic, and more money was raised than ever before!

Years later, when I became a candidate for a management job, I told this particular story. I put the picnic results in my resume. When I got to the interview, the interviewer asked about the picnic. I told him the story of the situation I faced, the task to be accomplished, the actions I took, and finished with the results we got.

Because I could clearly communicate my accomplishments with a little STAR story, the interviewer could see not only my results but also how I got them.

Developing your own STAR

Okay, your turn. Think about your own life experiences and choose your best-of-the-best accomplishments as well as the things you had fun doing. Make little STAR stories. It might take a little digging to get the statistics of your results, but it is worth it. Put the statistics in your resume and tell the stories in your interviews. This will make you in a STAR candidate in the eyes of interviewer.

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