Have you ever noticed how your job interview answers often seem misaligned with that stellar narrative that you crafted for your resume? Hiring managers rarely settle for the type of dull, dry, recitation of facts that most job seekers include in their resumes. They’re seeking a different kind of insight as they try to determine whether your experience, skills and talents can benefit their firm.
Your goal, then, should be to ensure that your entire job application presentation helps them to obtain that insight. One way that you can do that is by using the STAR method when you’re writing your resume.
What is the STAR Method?
The STAR acronym stands for the words “Situation, Task, Action, and Result.” The STAR technique has become a popular option for interviewers who want to find the most suitable job candidates. According to some experts, this style of interview questions provides hiring managers with a more accurate measure of future performance. The STAR method is considered a behavioral interview technique and offers interviewers a flexible way to gather the information they need.
4 components of STAR in interviews:
During interviews, the interviewer will ask you to describe a challenging situation that you have encountered in the past.
The interviewer will want to know what goal you were trying to achieve to overcome that challenge.
Here, the interviewer wants to learn about the steps you took to meet that goal, and why.
Finally, you will be asked to describe the outcome. Were your actions successful in helping you to obtain your goal and overcome the challenge? What lessons did you take away from the experience? What was the added value to you and the company?
While the STAR method has been primarily used by interviewers, it is easy to see how it can be adapted as a guide to writing some effective resume bullet points!
Adapting the STAR method for use in your resume
To properly use the STAR method for your resume, you just need to apply that mode of thinking to your work experience descriptions. You should include information that addresses each of those four items: situation, task, action, and results. Done properly, this can present a more complete description of your expertise and demonstrate your potential value to prospective employers. Below, we'll explain how to modify the interview STAR method to apply to your resume.
4 components of STAR in resumes:
1. Situation: your job, challenge, role, or other context
Begin by defining the role you filled at a previous employer’s company. Include the position and your core responsibilities.
2. Task: demonstrating your competencies through defined problem-solving
Select a required competency from the job posting and describe an instance in your previous job where you needed to demonstrate that expertise.
3. Action: showcasing your ability to make things happen
Provide details about the actions you took to deal with that issue, including whether your efforts involved acting alone or in concert with other members of the team.
4. Result: achieving your goals and adding value
Document the actual results that you achieved. Here, you will want to focus on quantifiable results, using real numbers to highlight the value that you provided to the company.
Example of using the STAR method for resumes
To better understand how this works, let’s look at an example of how it might be used in your resume. For our example, let’s assume that you’re applying for a managerial position where the job posting lists “inventory control” as a key qualification. Now, you could just include the fact that you managed inventory in your previous position. The better option is to use the STAR method to provide greater clarity and color to your resume description. Let’s break down how you might think through this process.
I served as the branch manager for an industrial equipment warehouse, and was responsible for managing shipments, maintaining inventories, and tracking district sales.
When I was hired, the company lacked a cohesive system for inventory control, which resulted in delayed order fulfillment and a high volume of order cancelations.
I led a team effort to redesign our inventory control system, implementing new quality controls, improved network integration, and a revised training program for new hires.
Within four months, the company’s on-time fulfillment record soared from 61% to 98%, and we enjoyed an 82% decline in canceled orders. By year’s end, profits rose by 23%.
Now, obviously, that description is too long to be used in your resume. However, we can use the information you generated with the STAR method to create your resume entry.
Bringing it all together
Using the details above, your work experience entry might look something like this:
Led effort to resolve inventory management deficit at ABC Corp.
Redesigned inventory control system, quality controls, network integration, and training efforts.
Our efforts improved on-time order fulfillment by 45%, increased profits by 23%, and reduced canceled orders by 82%.
Or you can further combine the bullet points into this if you're pressed for space:
Solved inventory management deficit by redesigning inventory control system, quality controls, network integration, and training; on-time order fulfillment improved by 45%, profits increased by 23%, and canceled orders decreased by 82%.
That more concise, bullet point entry summarizes the information you compiled using the STAR method. More importantly, it provides a clear explanation of the type of value that you provided to that employer.
The STAR method can help you, the candidate, to effectively convey your value as a potential employee by providing a reliable format for showcasing your abilities.
Why the STAR method works for resumes
As you can see, the STAR method creates a much more compelling resume entry. Moreover, it will answer many of the hiring manager’s questions before you’ve even sat down for an interview!
Most importantly, however, it provides an easy-to-use format for addressing the single most critical question any employer will need answered: can you provide real value to my company?
You don't need every bullet point to follow this format, but one or two or your best examples from each job will really help you shine.
It's time to set aside those dull, dry employment descriptions you’ve relied on for your resumes. Start thinking like a STAR. When you do, you will find that the STAR method can help redirect your thoughts and can help you to craft a more compelling resume and cover letter. That will better ensure that you’re able to land more interviews and get that dream job you deserve!
Good luck with your job search!
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.