Sell yourself with STAR content in your résumé or LinkedIn profile

Lots of folks advocate the use of the STAR (Situation, Task, Action/Activity, Results) method for handling questions during job interviews. See this recent piece at The Guardian or this piece from Huffington PostUtilizing the STAR Method in Your Resume & Interviews from the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida makes it clear that the STAR approach is also helpful when selling yourself in writing. Let’s look at three examples from LinkedIn profiles of people I know.

Example A from a student seeking an analyst position

Found under “Background Summary” section

Example B from a student seeking an analyst position

Found under position description for “Tactical Intelligence Analyst”

Example C from a professor listing experience

Found under position description for “Editor of Transactions”

Situation Master’s program project for ShoppersChoice.com US Army tactical intelligence operations in Salah ad Din Province, Iraq Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) research journal
Task To increase search engine marketing ROI using SAS To predict Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonations To produce quality content on time and on budget
Action/Activity
  • Analyzed clicks, impressions, bounce rates, and conversion values to determine the productivity of multiple keyword categories
  •  Used quantitative data analysis
  •  Solicited submissions from new IT-related disciplines
  • Recruited new peer reviewers and associate editors
Results Reduced costs by $652,049 Saved lives by achieving 60% reduction in successful attacks in a 15 month period Achieved #1 journal ranking, while producing 40 quarterly issues under budget and on schedule

The amount of detail might not work in a brief resume. That’s one of the advantages of online profiles. NOTE: If you’re not using LinkedIn to sell yourself (or recruit for your organization), you’re missing the boat. Jobvite’s 2013 survey of 1600 recruiting and human resources professionals found that 94% of them were using LinkedIn for recruiting. Even in a resume, you’re more likely to get a potential employer’s interest with this kind of detail about a small number of relevant experiences that with a brief listing of lots of (potentially) relevant experiences.

I’d argue what is most compelling about each example is the content in the final row — those RESULTS. It’s relatively easy to describe the situation you faced, the task you were set, and the actions you took. That’s what most people include under their position descriptions or background summaries. But making the results you achieved concrete is a challenge. That’s why you’ll stand out from the crowd if you do it.

 

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