Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories
Today we republish an extract from an earlier post. But I make no excuses because I think writing STAR stories can make such an important contribution to your job search and to your career development, if you want to prove to your employer that you are ready for promotion.
STAR Stories Make You A Star
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 give evidence of just how competent you are.
But 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
- S – Situation, the background – when where, who and why
- T – Task or tasks, you need to be specific here – exactly what was the problem you were trying to solve, you were you required to do and what was the required outcome?
- A – Action, what did you do and what skills did you use? How did you behave? What obstacles did you meet and how did you overcome them?
- R – Result . what was the outcome? What happened and what were the benefits that you delivered. How could you measure them? Can you put a price or some dimensions on the scale of your achievement? How did the organisation respond?
People like hearing a well told story. And telling your stories well will make sure you are memorable for the right reasons; so long as they are not too long, they stay 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 vividly when you write it.
When you start, think right back to the beginning of your career;
- 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!
- Don’t spend time on the things that you don’t feel good about! Remember, a whole programme or initiative doesn’t have to have been a total for your part of it to be something you are proud of!
- Now pick at least 10 achievements across your career. For job search, include at least five from the more recent past. But there is no limit to how many STAR stores you can produce.
- For each achievement, write a STAR story, setting out what happened and clearly explaining your contribution.
- Of course you can write as much or as little as you like about each success but for your portfolio record about one page of A4 for each is usually enough.
- Start with your early achievements and work forward.
- 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!
- 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!
- When you are ready, type them up and print them out on good quality paper! Then put them in a folder with your name on the front!
Your portfolio now has its foundations. You can references and recommendations as well as certificates you hold and any awards. From this material you can draw soundly based evidence of your competencies. It can be drawn on for your job applications and used as reminder of just how good you really are when you hit those career bumps that everyone has to endure sometimes
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 and I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search every success. If I can help, please 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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