How Can I Excel in Job Applications Using the STAR Method?

The STAR method is a technique often used by interviewers to collect information regarding the interviewee’s work experience and ability.

It is also an important method in mastering your CV to make sure it stands out in the eyes of your future employers.

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What is the STAR method?

The STAR method stands for:

  • Situation: What was the background of the event?
  • Task: What was your responsibility/duty?
  • Action: What action or strategy did you take or use in order to accomplish your task?
  • Result: What was the final outcome?

In short, the STAR method is a way of telling your story more clearly and logically. It is a way of pointing to the audience the exact key information they need to know.

It helps you show the interviewer your strengths and forte in a more structured manner.

The four key elements of answering a behavioural interview question

S: Situation

First, you will have to let others know about the background of the event, project, or challenge faced.

When explaining the situation, you can clearly state the background, time, location, persons involved, circumstances, and cause of the event.

Remember, your description should be specific, accurate, and precise so that people can understand more about the context. This will help you impress the interviewer or your audience.

T: Task

Next, you should illustrate to your audience your goal in the situation.

This can be the task that you are being assigned by your supervisor, the challenge you face in front of you, or the target you need to reach.

A: Action

You may then elaborate on the key steps you take to achieve your goal or complete the task.

This should include your strategic plan, your steps in implementing the plan, the details of your work progress, and the evidence of your work.

You may wish to focus on the most important and impactful action you have taken during implementation.

R: Result

Finally, demonstrate to your audience the result of your actions. You may also think about the impact your actions have made on different stakeholders.

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When should you use the STAR method?

Want to make use of the STAR method? This method is specifically helpful when we are asked behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral interview questions

You have likely been asked behavioral questions in your interviews. These questions are intended to ask about your work experience and how you behave or handle a situation.

You must make good use of these opportunities to show the interviewer what you are capable of. In other words, you should tell them what is not already in your cover letter and CV. They are expecting a more in-depth description of your experiences and skillsets.

So what are some behavioral interview questions like? An example of behavioral questions starts with:

  • “Can you tell me about a time when…”
  • “Have you ever…”
  • “Tell me an example where…”

These questions are often contrasted with situational questions, which focus on future events or hypothetical circumstances to see how you will act in those circumstances.

Resumes

While the STAR method may be used for interviews, it is also helpful in drafting your CV.

Since HR often receives a large amount of CVs, it is important to make sure that yours stands out and demonstrates what you have done most fully.

To do so, you need to make use of the STAR method to tell HR in simplified wordings through your CV what you have done, the context of your work, and the result of your work.

Try building your resume now by using the STAR Method. You may also use good resume builders like Zety Resume Builder and resume.io to help you build a perfect CV.

Business case study

The STAR method is also helpful for business teams. The STAR method can be useful for business in pitching or for the performance evaluation of teams within a business.

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How can I make use of the STAR Method?

Now let’s take the example of someone working on an executive committee for a volunteering program.

The interviewer may ask: “Tell me about a time when you are in charge of a project“.

Using the STAR Method template, the information relating to the experience can be organized in STAR.

A sample of how we can apply the STAR method in answering behavioural interview questions by using Mind Elevator's STAR Method template and Notability

This will be an answer to the interview question:

Situation: “In 2019, I joined an executive committee to organize a volunteering program aiming at delivering learning classes to children in our community.”

Task: “I was the team leader of the committee and I was responsible for recruiting volunteers for the program and coordinating with 20 team members.

Action: “To do that, I conducted weekly meetings with my team members to assign tasks and review our progress. We managed to come up with a marketing campaign and conducted a promotion on online social media platforms and campus.”

Result: “After working as a team for 90 days, I successfully led my team to recruit over 100 volunteers for our program and work with over 50 schools.”

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