STAR Stories Make You a Star!

STAR Stories Make You a Star!

STAR Stories – Writing STAR stories is a way to prepare not only to write your CV but also to answer questions at interview.  This will be particularly important if the organisation you want to join, or contract with, is committed to competency based interviewing  or wants evidence of what you have done so far!  Your STAR stories help to provide evidence of just how competent you are.
 
And preparing your STAR stories can also be a real boost to your self confidence, particularly if you are going through a difficult period at work.
 
Writing your stories
 
The STAR method means that for each of your major achievements you will set out the;
  • S – Situation, the background – when where, who and why
  • T – Task or tasks, you need to be specific here – exactly what were you required to do and what was the required outcome?
  • A – Action, what you did and what skills you used, how you behaved
  • R – Result – Outcome, what happened – what were the benefits and how could you measure them?   How did the organisation respond?
People like hearing a well told story.  And telling your stories well will ensure you are memorable for the right reasons; so long as they are not too long, they remain positive and they are realistic!
 
You will not put all detail from your STAR stories into your CV, but it really helps to remind yourself of the past.
 
At this stage I want you to go right back to the beginning of your career. 
  1. Use your laptop or simply get a notebook and note down all the good things you have achieved. We are talking here about your personal successes
  2. Don’t spend time on the things that you don’t feel good about
    !  But a whole programme
    or initiative doesn’t have to have been a success for your part of it to be something you are proud of!  
  3. Now pick at least 10 achievements across your career. It will help you later if you include at least five from the more recent past.  But there is no limit to how many STAR stores you can produce.
  4. For each achievement, write a STAR story, setting out what happened and clearly explaining your contribution.
  5. Of course you can write as much or as little as you like about each success.  But at this stage about one page of A4 for each is usually sufficient.
  6. Start with your early achievements and work forward. 
  7. Do your research if necessary about times, places and events.  You are building a portfolio to be proud of so make sure your stories are accurate!
  8. After you have completed each story take a pause and review!  Enjoy your success.  When you have completed five lay them out before them and feel proud – I bet you had forgotten how good your were!   
  9. When you are ready, type them up and print them out on good quality paper!  
  10. Put them in a folder with your name on the front!  

You have begun – your job search portfolio has its foundations. 

By the way STAR stories don’t have to be confined to paid employment.  Have you had a voluntary role? Are there things you have done for your local community?  Well write the stories and put them in!  They will all serve to show just what a valuable and competent person you really are!
 
And I would love to hear how you get on.  If you have any questions or you need help, please get in touch.


Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Writing That Winning CV

Writing That Winning CV

Writing That Winning CV – a CV that is going to win you the job is the one that makes the reader want to know more about you. The CV that makes it much more likely that you will be invited to an interview! Your CV needs to show the recruiter that you will be best fitted to to meet their requirements. Good CVs are valuable and a very good investment of your time.

So how do you make yourself stand-out from the crowd?

Any CV that you write is only relevant if it shows how you meet the requirements of the particular role. So be ready to tailor you generic CV for each post. Be specific about skills, experience and personal qualities. Show that you understand their requirements.

These days employers and recruiter receive sacks full of CVs. Make sure yours short (no more than two sides of A4 if possible), easy to read and attractive.

Lay it out clearly with enough space and clear section headings.

Your CV shows what you bring to the organization

Your CV shows what you bring to the organization, so make it look professional.

  • Choose a clear, professional font that is easy to read (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman)
  • Make no typing mistakes – CVs with typos get “binned”. A simple spell check is not enough: ask someone else to proof-read your finished CV
  • Have clear headings (key skills, work experience, education etc) so that these can be scanned quickly
  • Order your experience and education into reverse chronological order with the latest first.
  • For recent posts, show what you achieved and delivered for each post
  • Concentrate on the last 10 years and sum-up earlier experience briefly.

Many recruiters’ job sites search candidates’ CVs for specific keywords. It is important to include those which are likely to apply for the particular job. Create clear statements that demonstrate your skills and what you deliver, using terms that show you as positive and pro-active.

These are positive keywords, you could use to describe your personal attributes

  • Accurate
  • Adaptable
  • Confident
  • Friendly
  • Hard-working
  • Innovative
  • Pro-active
  • Reliable
  • Responsible
  • Intelligent
  • Experienced

When describing your experience and achievement use pro-active descriptions like:

  • Achieved
  • Formulated
  • Planned
  • Broadened
  • Generated
  • Managed
  • Represented
  • Completed
  • Implemented
  • Shaped
  • Delivered
  • Saved

If you have saved an organization money or generated new business, flag it up with figures and facts.

I know you can get that job you have been hoping for and I would like to help you. Email me wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com now to arrange a free half hour coaching session by Skype.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

 

Writing Your CV

Writing Your CV

Writing Your CV! You’d be surprised how many people have never had to write a CV! It can be a daunting task!

How do you begin to put your career history on paper?  And what is the right balance of skill, experience and achievements to record?

If you get it wrong your CV can look unbalanced. Or, even worse, become unreadable!

You want to show a successful career progression. It should make the next opportunity (the one you have just decided to apply for) look like a logical move! Making it look like a natural fit can put you ahead in the job’s market.  It marks you out as the candidate they want.

Your resume needs to be a well written, clear and concise!

So format is important! Please don’t go for complicated designs with tables and fancy fonts.  Use a simple, clean, format that is well organiser and easily scanned. That will attract both the recruiter’s eye. And, these days often more important, it is easy for the recruiter’s software to process.

Produce a baseline CV. Then be prepared to adapt it to each job that you apply for. That way you can target your qualifications, skills, and key strengths. You should include relevant “keywords;” again with the sifting software in mind. You want to appeal to the person advertising the job at first glance!

Grabbing the recruiter’s attention is all important. You probably have 30 seconds or less to make an impression! So put the most relevant information upfront in your headline. Again, include keywords relevant to the advert or spec.

Make sure you CV is simple to read. And concentrate in terms of experience on the last 10 years.  Summarise anything earlier.  Focus on your achievements and the benefits you have delivered.  Show the benefits you will bring!

One of the major advantages of working with a career coach should be that you get your baseline CV in good order. And you learn how to adapt it. If you would like help with your CV, get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Job Search: Writing Your CV/Resume: Where do you start?

Job Search: Writing Your CV/Resume: Where do you start?

You’d be surprised how many people have never had to write a CV! It can be a daunting task!

How do you begin to put your career history on paper?  And what is the right balance of skill, experience and achievements to record?

If you get it wrong your CV can look unbalanced or, even worse, become unreadable!

You want to show a successful career progression that makes the next opportunity (the one you have just decided to apply for) look like a logical move! Making it look like a natural fit can put you ahead in the job’s market.  It marks you out as the candidate they want.

Your resume needs to be a well written, clear and concise!  So format is important! Please don’t go for complicated designs with tables and fancy fonts.  Use a simple, clean, format that is well organized and easily scanned. That will attract both the recruiter’s eye and, these days often more important, it is easy for the recruiter’s software to process.

Produce a baseline CV and then be prepared to adapt it to each job that you apply for. That way you can target your qualifications, skills, and key strengths (include relevant “keywords again with the sifting software in mind). You want to appeal to the person advertising the job at first glance!

Grabbing the recruiter’s attention is all important –  you probably have 30 seconds or less to make an impression! So put the most relevant information upfront in your headline – again include keywords relevant to the advert or spec.

Make sure you CV is simple to read and concentrate in terms of experience on the last 10 years – summarize anything earlier.  Focus on your achievements and the benefits you have delivered  – show the benefits you will bring!

One of the major advantages of working with a career coach should be that you get your baseline CV in good order and learn how to adapt it.  If you would like help with your CV, get in touch.

Wendy is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

Book a free trial/consultation to try phone coaching from the comfort of your own home 

Make a recruiter take a second look!

Make a recruiter take a second look

CV Writing; How to make a recruiter take a second look!

Today we have a great guest post from Daryl Tomlinson who brings us advice based his long term experience of working with a job board

CV writing…

The art to writing a CV that get’s you a job has been documented more times than a Z list celebrities ever fluctuating waist line. Theories, fact, fiction, what to say, what not to say, all added to the mix of a thousand plus books. I think however that writing a CV is actually a simple procedure, once the don’ts are eliminated.

In a way you can equate a CV to speed dating, you only have a short time to impress. Of course with speed dating you are face to face, you can use speech, expression, whereas with a CV you are relying on the words laid out bare in front of a prospective employer, but essentially you are looking to get your skills, your personality and background ‘out there’ in a short amount of time.

Having worked with a job board for over twelve years, there are continuing themes that loops ever present from recruiters when it comes to CV’s. From layout to spelling, there are certain, defining areas that will ensure a recruiter will add your CV to the pile marked recycle. So with that in mind, here are just a few don’ts.

Surprisingly in this day and age, spelling seems still to be a problem and when spell checkers are readily available it does seem strange that CV’s are still winging their merry way to recruiters littered with errors. It is something that can infuriate a recruiter and whilst I don’t think many can profess to an immaculate spelling mind, it is still essential a CV doesn’t contain mistakes.

Layout is another fundamental problem. For a recruiter, they need a clear and concise theme, they need to grasp the very essence of who you are and what you could bring to their company as briefly and quickly as possible. So a CV that is all over the place will make a recruiter give up. In a way it’s a bit like a story, you want the reader to want to read more, get to the exciting conclusion.

So starting with who you are is a must, then the core elements that make you right for the job, your recent career history, skills and education. You can then expand your work life further on, give more detail before finally getting to the who you are away from work.

Stamping your personality on your CV is a hit and miss affair. You might attract a potential employer with a wacky, colour drenched encyclopaedia of your life and works, but you are also just as likely to put them off. It is better to layout your CV in a ‘traditional’ way, putting main points clearly and leaving that wacky bit for the interests part.

There is also something else recruiters cringe at and that’s the ‘obvious profile’, the kind of waffle that seems to go on for an ice age without actually revealing anything about the candidate. It’s easy to write how driven you are and clutter the surrounding space with metaphors that could have come from the corporate bible on how to say little by saying a lot, but essentially it is copy from a thousand CV’s that every recruiter has seen over and over again.

It almost goes without saying you are a hard worker, that you are honest, that you work until the job is done. When these descriptions are used all the time they become redundant and meaningless and can almost have a negative effect because the recruiter will simply bypass it. In my mind a profile should snap, it should say what you are, what you do, what you want. Yes! What you want! After all you are not blindly staggering to employment, you have a desire to work and you know what you want to achieve.

In essence you are looking to make a recruiter take a second look, a third look, an interview. They want to know what you can do, who you are, will you do the job, will you fit in? Substance, personality and requirement.

Substance – All you are and have done in terms of you career/work history
Personality – Who are you, not just in work but out as well
Requirement – Do you match the recruiters expectations?

The job market can seem a ferocious dog eat dog environment, so don’t you deserve to have an edge?

Daryl Tomlinson

 

CV Writing; How to make a recruiter take a second look!

CV Writing; How to make a recruiter take a second look!

Today we have a great guest post from Daryl Tomlinson who brings us advice based his long term experience of working with a job board

CV writing…

The art to writing a CV that get’s you a job has been documented more times than a Z list celebrities ever fluctuating waist line. Theories, fact, fiction, what to say, what not to say, all added to the mix of a thousand plus books. I think however that writing a CV is actually a simple procedure, once the don’ts are eliminated.

In a way you can equate a CV to speed dating, you only have a short time to impress. Of course with speed dating you are face to face, you can use speech, expression, whereas with a CV you are relying on the words laid out bare in front of a prospective employer, but essentially you are looking to get your skills, your personality and background ‘out there’ in a short amount of time.

Having worked with a job board for over twelve years, there are continuing themes that loops ever present from recruiters when it comes to CV’s. From layout to spelling, there are certain, defining areas that will ensure a recruiter will add your CV to the pile marked recycle. So with that in mind, here are just a few don’ts.

Surprisingly in this day and age, spelling seems still to be a problem and when spell checkers are readily available it does seem strange that CV’s are still winging their merry way to recruiters littered with errors. It is something that can infuriate a recruiter and whilst I don’t think many can profess to an immaculate spelling mind, it is still essential a CV doesn’t contain mistakes.

Layout is another fundamental problem. For a recruiter, they need a clear and concise theme, they need to grasp the very essence of who you are and what you could bring to their company as briefly and quickly as possible. So a CV that is all over the place will make a recruiter give up. In a way it’s a bit like a story, you want the reader to want to read more, get to the exciting conclusion.

So starting with who you are is a must, then the core elements that make you right for the job, your recent career history, skills and education. You can then expand your work life further on, give more detail before finally getting to the who you are away from work.

Stamping your personality on your CV is a hit and miss affair. You might attract a potential employer with a wacky, colour drenched encyclopaedia of your life and works, but you are also just as likely to put them off. It is better to layout your CV in a ‘traditional’ way, putting main points clearly and leaving that wacky bit for the interests part.

There is also something else recruiters cringe at and that’s the ‘obvious profile’, the kind of waffle that seems to go on for an ice age without actually revealing anything about the candidate. It’s easy to write how driven you are and clutter the surrounding space with metaphors that could have come from the corporate bible on how to say little by saying a lot, but essentially it is copy from a thousand CV’s that every recruiter has seen over and over again.

It almost goes without saying you are a hard worker, that you are honest, that you work until the job is done. When these descriptions are used all the time they become redundant and meaningless and can almost have a negative effect because the recruiter will simply bypass it. In my mind a profile should snap, it should say what you are, what you do, what you want. Yes! What you want! After all you are not blindly staggering to employment, you have a desire to work and you know what you want to achieve.

In essence you are looking to make a recruiter take a second look, a third look, an interview. They want to know what you can do, who you are, will you do the job, will you fit in? Substance, personality and requirement.

Substance – All you are and have done in terms of you career/work history
Personality – Who are you, not just in work but out as well
Requirement – Do you match the recruiters expectations?

The job market can seem a ferocious dog eat dog environment, so don’t you deserve to have an edge?

Daryl Tomlinson

 

Strategies That’ll Make Your Resume Stand Out Online

Strategies That’ll Make Your Resume Stand Out Online

This appeared on the the New Grad Life Blog posted by Angela Astley

Sourcing is a term used for recruiters to find and uncover candidates and recruiters are getting more and more creative with their sourcing techniques. One creative sourcing technique being used today is going to Google or other search engines and putting in search strings filled with keywords and terms to generate resumes from all over the internet.

Since recruiters are getting creative with their sourcing techniques, job seekers should start getting creative with online exposure techniques.

1. Create a career blog

Start a blog that focuses on your career industry and include tips, articles, news, and industry related topics. You don’t have to be a writer to create a blog. You can link to other articles and news about that industry topic and add comments showing your industry knowledge. Also, set up a page on the blog for your resume, where you are highlighting your industry knowledge, experience, and expertise. You can easily set up a blog for free using programs such as blogger.com or wordpress.com

2. Use free document sharing websites

There are a number of free file sharing websites that can help you gain more resume exposure online. Save your document in different forms such as DOC and PDF so your resume shows up under those search terms. Yes, recruiters will search for resumes using words such as pdf, rtf, doc, and cv. You can even save your resume as a powerpoint presentation! Here are few free sites to check out: keepandshare.com, slideshare.net, Google docs

3. Set up a resume web page

A one page website for your resume is great exposure and a great way to link others to your resume. You can add your website url to your resume, to other online profiles, and at the end of your signature in emails and posts. You can find free resume website builders such as: Emurse.com and VisualCV.com.

You can read the rest at this link http://newgradlife.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/resume-writing-strategies-to-stand-out.html

Do you include a profile statement in your CV?

Do you include a profile statement in your CV?

Profile statement – A few thoughts on the value of including a short summary profile at the top of your CV!

This profile is sometimes called the career summary, personal profile statement, profile statement, resume summary, and summary of qualifications. All refer to profiling your key qualifications for a particular job on your résumé.

The profile sums up your skills and experience, and it can include your career goals. This is a part of your CV that you should certainly tailor to the particular needs of the specific job for which you are applying. These are the headline words that will flag up to a recruiter why you are right for the role.

Essentially, a profile is a very condensed and targeted version of a cover letter. And there are clear benefits to including a good one. It can help you stand out among the hundreds of applications companies receive. Most employers spend only a few seconds looking at your CV, and most of this time is spent looking at the top half of it. So, even if a potential employer reads only your profile (located directly beneath your name and contact information), they will still have a clear idea of how uniquely well fitted you are for the role.

In addition, your profile can include Keywords that will help your application get picked up by the recruiting management software that many companies use now use to screen applications.

Keep your profile concise – between one and four short sentences and you can use bullet points. Focus on the requirements for the job and what you have to offer. Overall, integrate your employment history and skills into the qualifications listed for the job – make sure right at first glance, you look like the best candidate.

Wendy Mason is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation allows you to try phone coaching from the comfort of your own home and without risk. Don’t forget to ask about the Summer Special Offer 

Job Search:Do you include a “profile” in your CV?

Job Search:Do you include a “profile” in your CV?

A few thoughts on the value of including a short summary profile at the top of your CV!

This profile is sometimes called the career summary, personal profile statement, profile statement, resume summary, and summary of qualifications. All refer to profiling your key qualifications for a particular job on your résumé.

The profile sums up your skills and experience, and it can include your career goals. This is a part of your CV that you should certainly tailor to the particular needs of the specific job for which you are applying. These are the headline words that will flag up to a recruiter why you are right for the role.

Essentially, a profile is a very condensed and targeted version of a cover letter. And there are clear benefits to including a good one. It can help you stand out among the hundreds of applications companies receive. Most employers spend only a few seconds looking at your CV, and most of this time is spent looking at the top half of it. So, even if a potential employer reads only your profile (located directly beneath your name and contact information), they will still have a clear idea of how uniquely well fitted you are for the role.

In addition, your profile can include Keywords that will help your application get picked up by the recruiting management software that many companies use now use to screen applications.

Keep your profile concise – between one and four short sentences and you can use bullet points. Focus on the requirements for the job and what you have to offer. Overall, integrate your employment history and skills into the qualifications listed for the job – make sure right at first glance, you look like the best candidate.

Wendy Mason is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation allows you to try phone coaching from the comfort of your own home and without risk. Don’t forget to ask about the Summer Special Offer 

Job Search: How To Add Value To Your CV And Make It Jump Out From The Pile

Add Value To Your CV

Job Search: How To Add Value To Your CV And Make It Jump Out From The Pile

We all know that recruiters find themselves faced with piles of CVs/Resumes to sift.  How do you make your CV jump out of the pile and on to the desk as selected for interview. Well, when you write your it,  it helps to keep in mind why you are doing it.

At its most basic, A CV is a short list of facts about you and your work history, skills, qualifications and experience. A good CV is essential when looking for work and it is worth spending time getting it right. It needs to show you as valuable to any potential employer.

So what will a recruiter be looking for?

Well certainly your CV should:

  • Be neat, certainly typed, without typos, and to the best standard you can achieve in content and layout
  • Be short, 2 sides of a sheet of A4 paper is usually enough
  • Be positive, it should emphasize your achievements, strengths, successes
  • Make a good impression. This means presenting the facts about you in a positive way.

I hope you are going to

  • Send your CV with a covering letter or email asking companies if they have any current or future vacancies.
  • Send your CV when applying for advertised vacancies
  • Use your CV to help you remember all the dates and information you need each time you need to fill in an application form.
  • Use it to jog your memory when applying for jobs by phone – it can help if you are asked to give more information about previous jobs.
  • Have your CV with you while you’re waiting to be called in to an interview to help refresh your memory.
  • You can also leave a copy with the interviewer if they do not already have one!

Sometimes recruitment agencies ask to see your CV before you can register with them.

So your CV is a way of letting a potential employer know just what value they will get if they employ you. This should be you marketing the most valuable product you have – yourself! Therefore it is going to be much more than just a list of roles.

For each role you do include, you need to show how in that role you added value.

When you have done that you can then lay claim to the associated competencies.

For example, if you led a team;

  • Why did they exist
  • Where did you lead them
  • What did they achieve as a result of your leadership?
  • What was your contribution and what hurdles did you have to overcome
  • What value was delivered?

How does that information provide evidence to support your claim to the competence of leadership?

STAR stories make you a star

Remember  STAR stories – for each one you include your job title and how long you were employed in the role, then set out briefly;

Situation – Describe the situation/problem you were faced with
Task – what did you have to do?
Action – what action did you take and why.
Results – highlight the outcome and the value delivered

Use a summary of your STAR stories to add value to your CV and show how you will add value for any new employer!

Meanwhile if there is advice you would like or questions you would like answered, please get in touch!

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

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