Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories

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

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 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;

  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! 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!
  3. 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.
  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 for your portfolio record about one page of A4 for each is usually enough.
  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.
  9. When you have completed five lay them out before them and feel proud – I bet you had forgotten how good your were!
  10. 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 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 – Providing the Evidence

 Job Search – STAR Stories

I’ve written before about the value of STAR stories in your job search.  STAR stories are a great way of  recording your key achievements and demonstrating your competencies. With them you can provide evidence that you really do have, and know how to use, the competencies required for a particular role.

As a first step, some people create a timeline for their life– showing roles held at various times.  Then they flag up key achievements on the line. These don’t have to be restricted to formal work roles but those in the last 10 years should take priority.  I usually ask clients to choose the 10 they think are the most impressive.  For these 10 they then create 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, the role and environment
  • Task – the challenge – the task you had to complete or the obstacle you had to overcome
  • Action – what action did you take and why. Include the competencies you called on and how you used them
  • Results – highlight the outcome, the value and benefits delivered – for example, savings made

I’ve mentioned before as well that you can use a summary of your STAR stories to add value to your CV and show what you will bring to any new employer! For the 10 stories above I usually suggest that for each you should produce about one A4 page of text. Of course you then need to summarise these down into short paragraphs for your CV – say three sentences on each with an emphasis on competencies used and benefits delivered.

The A4 summaries make great records for you portfolio.  You can use them to refresh your memory before interviews and to help you give evidenced based replies. They are also useful confidence boosters when feeling a bit daunted by a new challenge.

For the five most striking stories, I would recommend going on to fully develop them as case studies.  Think in terms of producing a magazine article, white paper, report or slide show. This will give you an opportunity to fully reflect on how you achieve and how to set yourself up for success in the future.  But if you have a website you can publish them as examples of what you can do. And of course you can now add them to your LinkedIn profile.

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 and without risk. Don’t forget to ask about the Summer Special Offer 

Using LinkedIn for Job Search

Using LinkedIn for Job Search

Job Search: How to find a new job using LinkedIn!

Using LinkedIn for Job Search – LinkedIn is a powerful business networking tool but it can also be one of the best ways to find a new job.

Unfortunately, not many people know how to really tap into its power.  But this little video gives simple but useful tips for how you can use your LinkedIn network to search for a new job.

It is from http://www.explania.com/en/channels/work/detail/how-to-find-a-new-job-using-linkedin

If there is advice you would like or if you have questions about your job search, 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

  • Refresh Your Job Search In 2013
  • Job Search – Standing Out From the Crowd
  • Job Search – Getting On With The Interview Panel

Job Search: How to find a new job using LinkedIn!

Job Search: How to find a new job using LinkedIn!

LinkedIn is a powerful business networking tool but it can also be one of the best ways to find a new job.

Unfortunately, not many people know how to really tap into its power.  But this little video gives simple but useful tips for how you can use your LinkedIn network to search for a new job.

It is from http://www.explania.com/en/channels/work/detail/how-to-find-a-new-job-using-linkedin

If there is advice you would like or if you have questions about your job search, 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

  • Refresh Your Job Search In 2013
  • Job Search – Standing Out From the Crowd
  • Job Search – Getting On With The Interview Panel

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

  • Refresh Your Job Search In 2013
  • Job Search – Standing Out From the Crowd
  • Job Search – Getting On With The Interview Panel

Building your portfolio – STAR stories can make you a star

If you want to find work, directly employed or as a contractor, you are going to need to describe your achievements so far. Getting ready to do that can be a real boost to your self confidence, if you go about it in the right way.
Writing STAR stories is a great 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.
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.
Read more in today’s new post at http://wisewolftalking.com/2011/03/17/building-your-portfolio-star-stories-make-you-a-star/