Have you ever noticed how your job interview answers often seem misaligned with that stellar narrative that your 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 and talents can benefit their firm. Your goal should be to ensure that your entire job-seeking presentation helps them to obtain that insight. One way that you can do that is by using the STAR method when you’re creating your resume.
The STAR acronym stands for the words, “Situation, Task, Action, 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 interviewing 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.
The different components of STAR are:
Situation – During interviews, the interviewer will ask you to describe a challenging situation that you have encountered in the past.
Task – The interviewer will want to know what goal you were trying to achieve to overcome that challenge.
Action – Here, the interviewer wants to learn about the steps you took to meet that goal, and why.
Results – 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?
While the STAR method has been primarily used by interviewers, it is easy to see how it can be adapted as a guide to resume-writing.
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. The slightly-modified STAR method includes the following elements:
Begin by defining the role you filled at a previous employer’s company. Include the position and your core responsibilities.
Select a required competency from the job posting and describe an instance in your previous job where you needed to demonstrate that expertise.
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.
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.
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 take a look at how you might think through this process.
Situation: I served as the branch manager for an industrial equipment warehouse, and was responsible for managing shipments, maintaining inventories, and tracking district sales.
Task: 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.
Action: 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.
Result: Within four months, the company’s on-time fulfilment 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.
Using the details above, your work experience entry might look something like this:
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.
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?
So, set aside those dull, dry employment descriptions you’ve long relied on for your resumes. It’s time to start thinking like a STAR. When you do, you will find that the STAR method can help redirect your thoughts. I can help you to craft a more compelling resume. And that will better ensure that you’re able to land more interviews and get that dream job you deserve!
Meanwhile, learn more about core competencies on your resume, with this great post: Core Competencies on a Resume.