Create your STAR Stories

You find a position you want. You create a resume that shows you are basically qualified. You make sure that the resume includes the key words that are important to this employer, in order to get past the Application Tracking System.

Congratulations! You survived the first round. But there is still a lot of work to do.

According to one study, of the 25% of applications that survive the Applicant Tracking System, only 20% of those will be invited for an interview.

Actually, 4 - 6 interviews out of 100 applications seems high to me, when you consider that each posted position receives many hundreds of applications.

Actually, 4 – 6 interviews out of 100 applications seems high to me, when you consider that each posted position receives many hundreds of applications.

In order to be one of those, you cannot simply rely on your experience; you must highlight your achievements that allow you to stand out from the other applicants. An excellent technique is the STAR Story method.

STAR is an acronym for Situation / Task / Action / Result:

What is the Situation or Task that you faced?

What Action did you, personally, do, specifically?

What was the Result of the action you took?

I prefer to think of Benefits in place of Results, but that turns the acronym into STAB, which is a bit more sinister. We’ll keep it positive and emphasize Results.

Write the story out, in full. Do not skip any steps. Often, the Result can become a bullet point you can add to your resume.

For example, you faced an irate customer, either through your own error or a colleague’s. You took care of the situation (how, exactly?). As a result, the customer was not only satisfied, but bought more product from you, and referred additional business. You excel in converting dissatisfied customers into loyal customers. Bullet point!

It might be easier to think of a Result you are proud of, and work backwards. You created a method to decrease the amount of time it takes to process an order (if you can put a number or a percent on it, “decreased production time by 10%,” this becomes your bullet point). What did you do, and why?

Come up with five to seven STAR Stories / five to seven bullet points, and if I am an employer, you have my attention. You didn’t just “do” things, you “achieved” things. You are standing out from the crowd. You are getting the interview.

Bonus: by writing out your STAR Stories, you have ready answers to (experts say) up to 500 interview questions. You can use your STAR Stories as examples for the “Tell me about a time when…” questions. And because you now stand out from the other applicants, you will get the interview!

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

Agree? Disagree? I am interested in your thoughts and opinions! Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter and let me know, or leave a comment below.

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