A STAR-ing role – the use of STAR in CVs

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There are many different ways to approach writing a CV and in some respects, it depends on your own strengths as to which road you go down. One popular method of CV collation is the use of STAR in CVs. This way allows you to demonstrate your practical aptitude for the role, with examples of how you have surmounted challenges and approached your work in similar arenas in the past.

STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action and Result, a process that can also be used to answer interview questions about past employment. In this way, an initial situation can be seen to have a positive outcome, with the process explaining how the goal was reached. It’s a great way to show what you are capable of and how you have used your skillset in specific situations.

A STAR is born

The four-part process can easily be applied to CV writing. Before you begin, look at the job description and the requirements the potential employer is looking for. Think about how well suited you are to the role and see whether your CV can be tweaked to show your skills for the role. Think too about instances in your own career where you have shined. Instances that show how you have used your key skills, intuition and experience to address challenges that would be applicable in the role you are seeking.

Then use the STAR methodology in the skills section of your CV. Choose three or four key skills that are essential to the role that you’d like to showcase and create some written responses around them in the STAR style – imagine you’re answering interview questions about yourself and write your responses down. So instead of simply listing out your skills in the workplace, you create a series of bullet points, with illustrative examples.

Applying the science

As you write your career history in your CV, rather than just reiterating your previous job descriptions – use your SITUATION (your role and its part in the wider team/company).

Then choose a TASK or series of tasks you carried out in that role that demonstrate what your role consisted of – for example a large project you headed-up, or an initiative you introduced.

You can then elaborate with the specific ACTION you took during the process. This will highlight your input and how your steered the project, or managed a team, or contributed to the design, or however you worked within the remit.

Finally, demonstrate your ability with the RESULT and show how you contributed to the positive outcome. This can be carried out for each of your former jobs, where pertinent experience to the application can be demonstrated. It’s particularly important to qualify as much as possible the benefits to the organisation that your examples have given.  For example, did the task you performed increase sales, efficiencies, profitability, staff engagement?  Can you quote figures and percentages?

A practical approach

Many applicants find that STAR allows them to demonstrate their value in real terms, in real-life situations. It also allows you to go into a few specifics of detail, with the context of the details clearly outlined – for example, rather than simply noting ‘good team worker’ demonstrate how you work well within a team.

If you think this practical approach may be beneficial to you, have a go yourself. Choose one of your past job situations and create a STAR analysis of the salient points where you were successful in the role, following the STAR subheadings process. Candidates using the STAR method find this linear approach gives them focus and structure when pulling their CV together, to create a body of writing that both reflects their experiences but will also be attractive to potential employers.

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  1. […] can demonstrate this in a CV to a certain extent – think of our recent blog where we talked about using STAR to show how we overcame challenges in practical situations. But part of this too is the added […]

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