If you are not using the STAR answer method in your job applications, you are at a distinct disadvantage. Don’t take my word for it; employers such as the DVLA and the Welsh Assembly go to great lengths to explain the method in their application packs. An online search shows some great videos and articles explaining the use of it to tell powerful stories in job interviews.
Why do employers want you to use the STAR answer method in your application form? Simply because it makes selecting the right candidates so much easier for them.
As a Job Coach I have been teaching the STAR answer method for years. I’ve especially seen this method make a significant difference to the job applications of two different types of people who struggle to get interviews: The ones who find it challenging to write concise statements and the ones who undersell their skills in an application form.
The personal statement of an application form should be linked to the Person Specification and Job Description. In other words, you are given the opportunity to write how your own unique experience (from work, education and the best school, called Life) precisely suits the job.
To give you an example:
My client, Jo, has seen a vacancy that asks for “Experience using accounting software packages”.
She used to undersell herself by writing “I have experience using Sage and know how to use Excel Spreadsheets. I welcome training in any in-house software package used by your company.”
How many other applicants use similar wording? Through storytelling using the STAR answer method Jo strengthens her argument that she should be invited for an interview:
“I have been using accounting software, including SAGE and Excel Spreadsheets, for the last 5 years. In 2011, I started volunteering for the local committee of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and, whilst organising local fundraising events, I realised I enjoy working with budgets and using Excel Spreadsheets. The Treasurer, who is a chartered Accountant, stepped down a year later and I took over her role. During the handover period, she was very impressed with my work and she encouraged me to do my AAT1 accounting course, which I completed 2 years ago. Since then I use SAGE and Excel on a weekly basis and am confident that I would quickly familiarise myself with your in-house software package.”
Can you see how, by using the structure of Situation-Task-Action-Result, this tells the whole story of what the applicant can bring to the company, so it is easy for the employer to see the full potential and the difference they can make to the organisation?
By using the STAR answer method your stories will be the evidence of your skills, making your application stand out from the crowd. Still feeling stuck? Contact me for a complimentary 30 minutes consultation.