The best way to get your story across in your resume is to use the STAR method
You've likely heard about using the STAR method to answer behavioral interview questions. Those are the questions that begin with something like, “Tell me about a time when…” But did you know that you can also use the STAR method to qualify and quantify achievements in your resume?
Since your resume is largely made up of single-sentence bullet points, how do you use the STAR method to tell a story? This article will show you how and will provide example bullet points to guide you along.
What is the STAR Method?
The STAR method is the best, most concise way to tell a story. As you might imagine, STAR is actually an acronym that stands for:
You've probably heard that your resume needs to present your history in a way that shows achievement. No longer is it good enough to say that you are “Responsible for training staff,” for example. You have to dive deeper. Using the STAR method is a simple way to brag about achievements on your resume.
Let's face it, there are a lot of things people are responsible for doing that just do not get done. Overcome that stigma by showing results.
Everything you accomplish in your career starts with a situation that needs to be handled. Discuss what was happening and what was being affected by the issue.
What was your task, to resolve the situation? Were you assigned specific tasks to overcome related challenges?
This is your time to talk about specific steps you took to solve the problem. Explaining the way that you tackle the problem helps recruiters to understand your approach and working style.
The result is the coup de grace, or deathblow, to the problem that you, your team, or your company faced. This is the shining moment where you talk about your achievement.
What is the point of using the STAR method?
Many people think that all a prospective employer needs to know is your career history. While what you've done in your career to get you to this point is important, that's not all they want to hear. The job market is fiercely competitive! You must stand out in the sea of sameness - and the best way to do that is by showcasing your achievements.
Using the STAR method has several benefits that help to shine a spotlight on you, including:
You can demonstrate that you understand how your qualifications can make an impact on operations
You are represented as an achiever rather than a doer
You can open up talking points for the interview
How to Use the STAR method in your resume
You may have a few stories in your head now. They're probably pretty long, which may make you wonder how you're supposed to fit everything into a one- or two-page document.
PRO TIP: Remember that your resume isn't supposed to be a narrative of everything you've done. It's supposed to be a summary of your career, showing what you bring to the table at a new company.
Simply put, you're not going to fit every detail of your STAR stories onto your resume. You should include just enough information about the Situation, Task, Action, and Result so that the reader's interest is piqued. If you can make them curious about a piece of your career, they'll be more apt to call you for an interview. Then, you can expand on the story and give the rest of the details.
Examples of resume points using the STAR method
The first thing to do is to pick a major keyword from the job description, remembering that your resume is speaking to that job. For example, if you're applying for a job as a Claims Adjuster, one of your main tasks could center around determining liability.
This seems easy enough. All you have to do is write a bullet that says you understand how to assess damage to determine liability. But, so does every other Claims Adjuster and now you are lost in the mix.
Let's turn that statement into something that packs a little more punch.
I worked on residential and commercial claims processes, which could be a significant cost to the business.
I had to gather and analyze documentation and photos of the damage. I completed cost estimates, researched market rates for new construction, and authored proposals for underwriting and financial institutions to mitigate operational risk.
I monitored claims volumes for severity and analyzed trends to root out unwarranted claims.
I saved more than $1.2M within 6 months by finding and eliminating more than 250 fraudulent claims.
Of course, all of that won't fit on a resume but using the STAR method will help to tell the story.
The verbiage that ends up on your resume
You could write a single bullet point that contains pieces of the story separated by commas. That would look something like this:
- Slashed claims costs by $1.2M+ in 6 months, after assessing damage, analyzing trends, and monitoring claim volumes to reveal over 250 fraudulent claims
That already looks far better than simply stating that you know how to determine liability. You could also use the bullet/sub-bullet method. This allows you to start the story off and then break it down into sections:- Led unprecedented effort to research and eliminate fraudulent claims:
- Performed deep-dive analysis of damage photos and claims documentation
- Compared cost estimates and market rates with claims severity and trends
- Saved over $1.2M within 6 months and eliminated more than 250 fraudulent claims
Whether you choose the single bullet or bullet/sub-bullet option, you're telling a story that lends value to your career history. You now stand out from the crowd of job seekers and a hiring manager has a clear picture of what you have to offer to his or her team.
What makes the STAR method so great for resumes
Just like those behavioral interview questions, your resume is an open-ended story about your career. It allows you to provide as much or as little information as you deem necessary to convey your message. The STAR method allows you to deliver that message in an organized way.
In revisiting the concept that your resume is a summary of your career, keep in mind that all bullets won't be developed using the STAR method. Reserve STAR for critical events that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Give your resume impact
Reach hiring managers and recruiters on a new level using the STAR method to write your resume. Don't leave them guessing about what value you will offer their team; tell them straight out.
If you need help, that's not a problem. TopResume has a talented team of professional resume writers ready to take on the task of making you look like a career achiever. Why not submit your resume for a free critique today?