How To Look After Your Mental Health During a Job Search

Today is World Mental Health Day, so as a job coach I want to share some tips and advice on how to look after your mental health while engaged in a job search.

Looking for a new job can be a highly stressful time. Your financial future may be uncertain, you might be suffering in a current role and desperate to escape, and you may find rejections demoralising. I’ve seen clients throw so much time and effort into applying for jobs that they forget to look after other aspects of their lives. There’s a danger of burnout if you take this approach, not to mention heightened stress for the duration of your search. Everything gets thrown out of balance and you may not be able to present your best self in applications and interviews. 

The answer is to take a step back. That doesn’t mean you should stop searching or stop applying, but do look after your work-life balance, and make sure you choose carefully which jobs to spend time and effort chasing. Here are my top tips for taking care of your mental health during a job hunt.

  1. Don’t panic. Panic can make you throw a huge amount of effort into applying for unsuitable jobs. Pick and choose your targets and remember: you don’t want to go “out of the frying pan into the fire”. Talk to present or former colleagues about what they feel you do or did well: this may give you some valuable pointers as to what sort of roles you should be considering. 
  2. Exercise. It’s important to take breaks from your search, and one of the most valuable things you can do it get plenty of exercise. Mental health charity Mind lists a number of benefits associated with exercise, including better sleep, happier moods due to the release of feel-good hormones and reduced stress, anxiety and intrusive and racing thoughts, thanks to the fact that exercise gives your brain something to focus on.
  3. Embrace nature. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that spending time in nature has significant mental health benefits, including reducing stress and promoting relaxation. One study, reported in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2012, found that mood and memory were improved by 50-minute walks in a natural environment, while in Japan there is the custom of “forest bathing” – immersing yourself in the forest environment – for mental health and wellbeing. You don’t have to start taking epic hikes if you don’t want to, but time in your garden, on the beach or in a local park can really help.
  4. Practice gratitude. Research has found that practicing gratitude can improve self-esteem and psychological health. A 2003 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that it also increases mental strength and resilience – which could be useful when coping with the rejections and knock-backs that so often come with a job search. Set aside a few minutes every day to write down or list in your mind all the good things in your life and give thanks for them. This does not need to be seen as a religious or spiritual practice – it’s simply a way of shifting yourself into a more positive mindset.
  5. Practice mindfulness. Again, this is often seen as a religious or spiritual practice, but it doesn’t need to be. Scientific research has shown that practicing mindfulness can reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, banish negative feelings and reduce anxiety. Here is a 5-minute mindfulness practice recommended by the NHS. You can also find mindfulness practices on apps such as Calm and Headspace.
  6. Make a plan. Setting out an achievable plan can help you feel in control of your job search. Make lists and tick things off each day – this gives a great sense of satisfaction and achievement even if the job search itself has not yet proven successful. 
  7. Balance your life. In his renowned book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey highlights the importance of what he calls “sharpening the saw” – which means looking after your greatest asset – you – by balancing out the four key areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual. This improves your ability to handle life’s challenges. 
  8. Don’t be afraid to seek help. If you are struggling, talk to your friends, trusted colleagues and family, and don’t be afraid to seek expert support from your GP, Health Professional,  The Samaritans (, call 116 123) or charities such as Mind ( and Youngminds (

There is always help available.

The Six Barriers that Stand Between You and Your Dream Job – And How To Overcome Them.

As a job coach I see a lot of people who long to get their dream job but are unknowingly placing barriers in the way of making that dream a reality. From your attitude to your job search to the way you present yourself, there are lots of ways you can sabotage your own chances. Here are six of the main barriers I see in my clients – and how to knock them down.

1.         Lack of clarity about what you really want

In order to get your dream job, you need to be clear what exactly that job is. A lot of people know that they are dissatisfied in their current role but have not really stopped to consider precisely what would make them happier. Some clients come to me believing a scattergun approach is needed: just apply for as many jobs as possible and sooner or later you’ll get one, but this approach can be exhaustive and time-consuming, and can lead you into a job that isn’t ideal. Instead, I begin by finding out what they really want and then focusing their job search, their CV, and their approaches accordingly.


•          Who have you met who sparks real admiration in you – whose job do you admire and envy? Consider what makes you feel that way. What elements of their career would you also like to have in yours?

•          What are you passionate about? Maybe you have a hobby you would love to make into a paying job, or an element of an existing job you would like to build on. Note these down.

•          Think about your current job and jobs you have had in the past. What elements of these have you most enjoyed? What have your colleagues or boss praised you for? Make a list: these are your strengths.

•          Think outside the box: besides the job you have, what other roles might make good use of your skills? Since you entered the workforce, new types of job might have appeared that are a good fit for your abilities.

•          Write down the things you definitely want from your job and the things you might be happy to compromise on. For example, would you trade the security of a full-time job for the freedom of a portfolio career that enables you to pursue your passions for part of each week?

2.         Lack of training

Many clients tell me they feel limited by lack of training or qualifications – but things are not always as restricted as they initially think. A lot of employers will take on people who lack specific qualifications but who exhibit the right traits and potential – and will then train them on the job. Demonstrating your interest by undertaking voluntary work or work experience can open a lot of doors – and even if training is needed, there may be ways to obtain this that are affordable and fit around your existing commitments.


•          Make use of the advice and support that are out there – Careers Wales, for example, or The Redundancy Action Scheme (ReAct), which can offer up to £1,500 for training for people facing redundancy. This guide gives some useful pointers for funding.

•          Explore what online training is available. Most universities offer online courses, so you can gain qualifications from illustrious institutions such as Harvard Business School without needing to physically attend them.

•          Research what short, intense courses are available: you may be able to take some holiday in order to spend time gaining a qualification.

•          Check out what evening courses are available from your local college.

•          Make use of all your contacts to gain opportunities such as work shadowing and volunteering. Even if you have no contacts in your target organisation, get in touch with them to see what opportunities are available. Many make a habit of providing work experience placements.

•          Find out which companies and organisations might offer on-the-job training and apprenticeships. 

3.         Imposter syndrome

So many of my clients suffer imposter syndrome – even the most well-qualified and outwardly confident ones. Just recognising that the niggling, self-sabotaging voice in your head is something most people experience can help you get closer to overcoming it. Before you enter an interview situation it’s a good idea to tackle your imposter syndrome so that you are ready to speak confidently about your experience, attributes, qualifications and skills.


•          Once you know what sort of job you want, write a list of all the things that equip you to do that job. Think about your personal attributes, experience, skills and qualifications. You may be surprised how many points you can come up with.

•          Make a decision to stop being a perfectionist. It’s OK to make mistakes – everybody does it. Go easy on yourself and be sure to notice and praise yourself for your successes.

•          What are the negative attitudes that are holding you back? Did your parents or a teacher tell you that you weren’t good at something? Did a boss make an unfair comment that has stuck? Recognise the possibility that they were wrong. Get a second opinion. I once had a client who was a wonderful illustrator, but she kept her illustrations secret because she had been told she did not come from a creative family. How wrong they were.

4.         Fear of change

It’s very human to fear change – it’s part of how we have endured as a species. There’s a survival mechanism hard-wired into our brains that doesn’t want to rock the boat and take risks. Sometimes, though, you need to calmly and reasonably tell that part of your brain to back off and allow you to take an exciting leap into the unknown.


•          Make a list of the pros and cons of leaving your “safe” job.

•          Remember that while it might seem safer to stay in your current situation, it might not be the healthiest choice for you. Are your body and mind showing signs of strain? Do you suffer from tension headaches, frequent colds, chronic ailments or anxiety? All of these could be your body telling you that you need to change – even if it feels you will be leaving a safe situation.

5.         Lack of commitment

Looking for a new job involves investing time in yourself, and in your search. Many people say they want to change but do not take the necessary steps to bring about that change, or don’t keep their efforts up for long enough. To date, I have never seen anyone get a job by simply uploading their CV to a website, sitting back and waiting – but on the other hand, I have seen people get headhunted, and with that in mind, it’s always wise to keep your LinkedIn page looking good and up-to-date.


•          Decide on a set of actions you need to carry out to get your dream job. Write them down and give yourself dates by which you need to have completed them. Stick to your schedule.

•          Don’t be deterred if you don’t get that coveted job offer straight away. Stick to your plan and the opportunity will come.

6.         Poor presentation

Presenting yourself well starts way before you enter the interview room. When I worked in personnel, the first things I did for any candidate was check them out on social media. Be aware that photographs of drunken hijinks could potentially torpedo your 

chances of an interview. 


•          Cast a critical eye over your social media presence, from your LinkedIn to Facebook. Edit your online presence so that you present the image you want to put across.

•          Ensure that any job applications or emails to potential employers are well-presented and carefully checked for errors.

•          If you get an interview, dress in a manner that suits the role you are applying for. 

What Job Seekers Should Be Doing During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Many people think job seeking has to stop during the current lockdown, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Here’s why…

The challenging times we are currently living through have placed many job searches on hold. Interviews have been cancelled, recruitment processes postponed indefinitely, and job seekers left in limbo. But not everywhere: I am still seeing clients secure interviews and job offers, and new job opportunities are emerging in professions that are currently in demand due to the effects of the pandemic. 

I’m also seeing many people make the most of the current hiatus to really hone their online presence, polish and update their CVs, build their skills and knowledge base and prepare thoroughly for their next foray into the job market. Some of these people were already job seekers before the current crisis hit; others have lost work or been furloughed due to coronavirus and are facing varying degrees of uncertainty about their long-term employment future. These kinds of worries can add another layer of stress to that caused by coronavirus itself, so it’s important to build in time for rest and relaxation as well as taking positive steps to help create the future you want.


One of the most common things I currently find myself saying to clients is: slow down. If you’re used to checking jobs websites every day for vacancies, dial this back to once a week or every two weeks. Take a pause, turn inward and take time to get to know yourself better and decide what you really want to do with your career, and how you can get there. Look at how you come across online, from your personal social media accounts to your LinkedIn profile. Better still, get a friend or a job coach to take a look and give you their view. Get them to check your CV too: it’s amazing how many people tell me they haven’t updated theirs for months or even years. 


You can also use this time to link up with people who could help your career: old work buddies, your previous boss, and contacts at companies you want to work for. Get them chatting – after all, they are probably at home too and may well have more time to talk. You could ask former clients and colleagues to provide references and testimonials, and offer to do the same for people you can help. Check for organised online networking opportunities too: some networking groups are holding interesting online events during lockdown.


You can also use the time for learning. From Coursera to Udemy to LinkedIn Learning, there are now numerous online learning platforms offering courses in everything from digital marketing to IT. Consider the job you want, and which courses and qualifications would help you get there. Many courses are currently being offered at reduced prices, or even for free.


If you do apply for a job and secure an interview, be prepared to do this online. A job coach or friend can help you rehearse. Many of the things you need to consider will be the same as for a face-to-face interview: you need to dress smartly, take care of your body language and give well thought-out answers. But there are other factors to consider too: if you have children, try to ensure you will remain undisturbed during the interview – ideally by getting someone else in your household to mind them. If that is not possible, talk to them about the fact that the interview is important and they must not interrupt you, and set them up with something that will keep them occupied for the duration. If you still get interrupted, don’t get too stressed about this: deal with it calmly and remember that most people are working from home, so your interviewer will probably empathise.

Think about your setting too: try to position yourself and your computer so that you are well-lit and the room in the background looks organised and tidy. When it comes to clothing for video calls, I recommend avoiding busy patterns which can be distracting on the screen. Set the camera up so that the interviewer can see any hand movements you make as you talk; this will make you seem far more expressive.

As part of your preparation for the interview, make sure you know how the software works. Check that the camera and microphone are working properly, and make sure your profile picture looks professional. Have a glass of water to hand and remember that in a video interview it’s easier to have notes beside you, and maybe also a pen and paper so that you can jot down any important points you want to come back to.

Some video interviews will not be carried out in person: HireVue interviews involve giving videoed answers to pre-set questions. The recording is then sent to the recruiter. This can be a disconcerting and impersonal process, so consider getting a friend or job coach to run through it with you. Remember that even when there is nobody there interviewing you, you need to look into the camera to create a sense of eye contact with the person who will be watching it.


Regardless of whether you are applying for jobs or using this time to position yourself well for future job applications, remember to go easy on yourself. These are trying times, and self-care is very important, especially as the job application and interview process can be stressful in themselves. Also – don’t get disheartened. This period will pass, and it doesn’t mean there are no jobs – things may be trickier, but making progress, and maybe even securing your dream job, is still possible. 

Stay Safe,


Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Use the Power of Storytelling to get that Job Interview

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.


The Five Mistakes You’re Probably Making On Your CV

I’m often asked to look over people’s CVs and it’s amazing how varied they all are. People adopt so many different styles and approaches, and there are no hard and fast rules as to what makes the perfect CV – not least because your CV needs to change to suit each company you send it to. However, there are certain mistakes I find people often make. Here are the top five – and what to do about them.

  1. Not grabbing the reader’s attention

Employers commonly take less than a minute to scan a CV and decide whether it is of interest, so your opening statement matters. Keep your CV brief – no more than one or two pages – and make sure you put all the information you most want people to see in the first half of page one.

2. Making vague statements

Avoid stock phrases and general statements such as “I’m a quick learner” or “I’m enthusiastic” – it just puts recruiters off. It’s far better to make specific statements and provide evidence to back them up.

3. Not gearing your CV to the job you are applying for

Each CV you send out should be adapted to suit the job you are applying for. Take time to read the job description and person specification and tweak your CV to show how you fit the bill. It’s fine to use phrases from the company’s job description and person specification in your CV – this highlights the relevance of your skills and experience. Research the company online too and read their website and social media posts. Ask yourself: what problem do they have and how can I help solve it? This approach is good if you are sending a CV on spec rather than in response to a job advertisement. Reading the company’s online content will also give you a feeling of the type of tone to use on your CV: try to echo their language.

4. Underselling yourself

Lots of people cringe at the thought of “bigging themselves up” on a CV, but it’s what you’re expected to do. It’s also common for people to fail to realise what an amazing collection of skills they have. This is your chance to shine, and your competitors will be doing their best to show how wonderful they are, so don’t be modest. Use “power words” – action words that show what you did, such as “initiated”, “managed”, “liaised” and “led” – and avoid passive phrases such as “I had to” or “I was given the responsibility for”.

5. Not acknowledging transferrable skills

Person specifications can be daunting, but often when you look more closely at work that you have done over the years, you’ll realise that you fit the bill in more ways than you initially imagined. You may not be a project manager at the moment, for example, but if you look at aspects of your current job – or at things you do in your spare time – you may find evidence that you have project management skills.

Look at the skills involved in your current and previous jobs, not just at the job titles – and consider your hobbies. If you coach a football team, for example, this could give you a whole raft of useful skills, such as management, training, team building and organisational abilities. Voluntary work is also worth mentioning: think about the transferrable skills this has given you and make sure you include them.

Saskia’s Top Tips for a brilliant CV

  • Maximum 2 pages: Neat and easy to read. Most people take less than a minute to read a CV and make a decision if they would like to talk to you.
  •  Use positive language: The only purpose of your CV is to get you a job interview, so make sure your first impression is a positive one.
  • Tailor your CV to the job: The first half of your CV should tick all the boxes of the employer’s wish list. 
  • Transferrable Skills: Write what you can bring to the job in skills, experience and enthusiasm. You don’t need to tell the employer the story of your life.
  • Correct grammar and spelling: Let someone else check for spelling errors and grammar mistakes.
  • Contact details: is your email address professional enough? Is your phone number correct?

10 Tips for a Successful Skype Interview

Many of us have seen that BBC interview with the Korea expert, whose children entered the room unexpectedly mid-call. I thought of this when I was coaching a client last week for his first International Skype interview.

It has been 8 years since I first did a mock interview. By effectively staging an interview setting, asking questions similar to the actual one and providing immediate feedback, it time and time again improves my clients’ ability to be successful in their job interview. The big ‘Aha’ moments my clients have during our mock interviews are almost as wonderful to experience as the text or phone call telling me that they got the job. And that’s why I love doing what I’m good at.

I am hearing more frequently that people couldn’t attend the interview in person, but were fortunately able to do a video/Skype interview. Here are a few of my tips:


  • Have a professional looking photo as your contact profile picture.
  • Select clothes that don’t have a busy pattern. Although this is a tip I used to give to clients when video calls were sometimes not a very good quality, it is still important not to distract interviewers, unless the job you are going for lets you express your creativity and individuality.
  • If you have young children, arrange for them to be out of the house. If you’re a single parent, ask a friend, family member or trusted neighbour to take care of your child even if just for the duration of the interview. You will hopefully be more relaxed going into the interview knowing that for the next (half) hour you can be completely focused.
  • Check if you have enough lighting and no shadows covering your face or background.
  • Remove any background distractions: Interviewers are people and you want them to be focused on you and what you are saying, not trying to figure out what is hanging on the wall behind you.
  • Have notes for the interview printed or written down near you; your application/CV and the questions you want to ask.
  • Have a glass of water near you. During a face to face interview you will probably get offered water because nerves can make your mouth go dry.

Before and during the interview:

  • Phone on silent: Make sure you can’t be interrupted by other calls. If you are in your own home during the interview, you might forget to put your phone on silent.
  • Talk with your hands: Ideally have enough of your face and torso in the picture, so that you can also use your hands to show what you mean. Do not fidget and move too much. This is equally distracting in real interviews as in Skype interviews.
  • Eye contact: make eye contact to create a connection with the interviewers, which means to practice looking up into the camera.

Bonus Tips:

  • Double check the time of the interview if you are not in the same time zone as the interviewer.
  • Check if you are better at doing a video interview while you are standing instead of in a seated position. It is easier to project your voice while standing. This might need practice and if you feel you move around too much, it might be better to sit after all.
  • Depending on the culture, try to start off with some small talk, if that’s what you would do in a face-to-face interview.

Contact me for a no-charge strategy session when you are not getting the job hunt results you want. Our sessions can be face-to- face, on the phone and of course through Skype.


CV writing simplified: The Timeline Exercise

As a Job Coach I help my clients with their CV writing and I will share with you a simple visual exercise I developed. In my experience it works well when you want to make changes to your CV, but keep getting stuck in an old format. Or when you are looking for a career change, but you don’t know what direction you want to go. By creating a timeline and asking the right questions in a safe and supported way I’ve helped people get clarity on their past highlights and more importantly moved them towards achieving their future career goals.

Just take an empty A4 paper and draw an arrow on it horizontally, the whole length of the page.

The start of the arrow is your birth year, the end of the arrow where you are now.

Add your education, your work experiences, hobbies, courses, volunteering and fill the timeline with your life experiences.

A client of mine found writing her CV very challenging. She couldn’t get further than typing her personal details, so she contacted me for help. She felt stuck in her life and was looking for any job to return to the world of work. Instead of filling out a standard CV template, I drew a long arrow and explored her life to this date. I asked her questions about her education (What subjects did you enjoy?), her work experience (What are you proud of? What did you learn?) and her voluntary work (Describe what you do?).

The CV writing process was much more enjoyable as she reflected in a positive way about her life and identified her strengths and her transferable skills. And she had the revelation that she enjoyed a subject in school so much, but didn’t see at the time that she could pursue a career in that direction. We explored this further by identifying a part-time course and I’m very pleased to tell you that she recently landed a job in her desired career straight after completing this course.



First published on LinkedIn on 9th November 2016

Photo Credit:Denys Nevozhai through

Improving your CV by pressing Delete

You’ve probably read more articles about how to write a CV and there is good advice out there. It is sometimes difficult to apply this to your own CV. I know, because over the years I have helped hundreds of people to create a CV that will land on the “Yes pile”.

 I regard myself as a bit of a recruitment geek and love reading up on recent research and development in Human Resources and Recruitment.

In the beginning of my career as a job coach I would give each new client a copy of my special folder with the best advice regarding CV writing. I would then find out that my client didn’t read the material. Fortunately for my clients nowadays I don’t drown them in information anymore, as I’ve learned that in most cases it was not helping them.

What I do tell all my clients is that the only purpose of your CV (or application form or online portfolio) is to get you a job interview.

 Imagine you being the person who received that CV together with 10, 20, but more likely 100 other CV’s. And now imagine your CV for a second as part of a pile of A4’s. Will you go through that pile of paper word for word or will you skim read it?

There are different reports out there on the average time someone spends reading a CV, but you and I will probably agree it is not very long. So then the advice is to tailor your CV to the vacancy, to make it interesting, to stand out from the rest of the CV’s so that you will be contacted for a job interview.

A good coach can help you unlock the words to do exactly that. But if you just want to change one thing, pick up your current CV and just look at the first half of the first page. Does it say “(I am) an enthusiastic, hardworking person”, does it say “I am committed to every job I do”, does it say “I work well as part of a team, as well as on my own”?

Just delete those words. What if 10 or 20 or more of those CV’s use the exact same wording? Would that make a person want to read the rest of that one CV? No, it will just distract the person and that CV might end up in the bin.

You might want to tell me “But the rest of my Personal Profile and CV are tailored to the job, I give evidence of my skills later on”. Too late, because the next CV is there, right there underneath yours. Next!

So look at your CV and take those words out, because they do not help you stand out. They will not help you get a job interview. And that’s the only purpose of your CV.


First published on LinkedIn on 2nd November 2016

Photo credit: Bench Accounting through

How to excel in a Job Interview using the STAR answer method

When you are invited to an interview, you probably spend a lot of time preparing for it. You read about the company, you look at the description of the job and you re-read your application form or CV. If you haven’t used the STAR answer method, though, to prepare for an interview, then you’ve been at a distinct disadvantage.

When the Job Description is asking for someone with “Good Communication Skills”, you might get a question during the interview such as “Can you give an example of your communication skills?”

Some of the answers I’ve heard in interviews have been “I have really good communication skills and all my colleagues like me”, or “Good communication skills are very important and I always make sure that I email my manager about what I am doing.” Some candidates give a long list of their communication skills which remind me more of an explanation from a dictionary than a real example.

The STAR answer method is not rocket science, it is a simple way of structuring your answers to clearly demonstrate the many skills you have. More importantly, it is a method of giving the recruiter/employer/listener concrete evidence of your knowledge and experience.

S –Situation:       When and where you were working?

T-Task:                 What was the task/responsibility?

A-Action:             What did you do?

R-Result:             What happened? What was the result?

Using the STAR answer method, you give a structured example to help the recruiter to know that you are the right person for the job.

Imagine the interview is for a Team Supervisor and you are currently working in an administrative role. You can demonstrate your suitability for the new role by showing how you’ve developed in your current role:

“One recent example of my communication skills is from my current role as an Administrator with the SVC Group, where I’ve worked for the last 3 years. [SITUATION] I work in a team of 10 people and am responsible for the administration, which includes collating quarterly reports and chasing up monthly sales figures. [TASK] When I first started in this role, I communicated mostly through emails as the other team members were busy with appointments, but I’ve grown into my role and now I use varying forms of communication wherever needed. Last week, I rang one of the team members to catch up with what she has been working on and I reminded her of an upcoming deadline. I think it is important to see the person behind the sales figures because it makes the team stronger. [ACTION] As well as an email I had sent, she also appreciated my personal telephone reminder. I also took the time to listen to an issue she had had the week before. As a result of communicating in a similar way with all of the team members, I received the sales figures on time and my manager praised me in the last team meeting for my work.”[RESULT]

Can you see how a well-prepared, practised STAR answer gives a real, genuine example of your skills and helps the interviewer see what you can bring to their organisation? Using the STAR answer method can show the deciding person that you are by far the best candidate.

If you need help with this, a skilled Job Coach will give you practical experience of preparing these structured answers, in a safe and supportive space, through asking the right questions to find your very best examples. As a result, you will not only excel, but you will shine at your next job interview.


First published on LinkedIn, 26th October 2016

Photo credit: Clarisse Meyer through