What are S.T.A.R Examples and how do I create one?

Kia Ora Whanau! Alex from Costas Enterprises here and hopefully I can help with the above questions!

Don’t have time to read?? You can listen to a copy of this post from my podcast the “Get a job and get healthy with Costas Enterprises” podcast on Spotify right here.

What is a STAR Example? Simply put, STAR examples are used as a base for providing answers to behavioral questions.

STAR examples stand for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result.

A lot of jobs these days use the STAR method to answer behavioural questions, but what are behavioural questions?? Behavioural questions are a way to assess if a future employee can show that they have the skills needed to do the job.

Behavioural questions will most likely appear in a panel interview. A panel interview is when you get interviewed by a panel of up to 3 to 4 people. Each interviewer will have their own set of 7 to 8 pages of questions.

Sounds a little intimidating right? it is semi-meant to feel that way. The future employer wants to see that you can recall an example from your life about when you used this skill.

An example of a behavioural question might be something like:

“The next question we ask is going to cover flexibility within the workforce. Can you tell us a time when you were required to switch between different roles? What did you do? Did you have any obstacles? What were these and how did you overcome these and what was the result?”

Each question on the interviewer’s page will sound quite long and will usually cover either 1 to 2 skills that the employer is trying to determine you have.

So … wait where does the STAR part come into it??

The STAR system is your way of actually answering these questions.

You need to create your own STAR examples for skills that you have identified that you have (remember we covered identifying skills a little bit in a previous post titled Before you apply for a job.), that the employer is looking for.

So you have a list of skills you know that the employer may ask you about, so now you have to look at creating your STAR examples.

Let’s break down what each letter means and how you would answer the above behavioural question.

S – Situation – When being asked a question the situation is you advising the interviewer about a time when you used the skill they are trying to find. To make this easier you might even almost semi-repeat the question back to the employer just adding a sentence. For example “A situation when I demonstrated flexibility within the workforce was …”

T – Task – This follows directly on from the above Situation. Think of this as the continuation of the situation. for example ste start of your answer may look more like “A situation when I demonstrated flexibility within the workforce was when I was tasked with working on two projects at the same time, these projects came with the following obstacles….”

A – Action – The Action is what it sounds like, this is the actions that you took to show you have the skill the employer is trying to find. For Example: “While I was working on project A, I was managing my time by adding all incoming requests into my calendar, when I was tasked with project B an obstacle appeared which was that I now had less time to dedicate to project A. The action I took was that I had a meeting with both project managers and explained that I would be willing to work on both projects however they have to provide me with X,Y and Z in order for me to meet the result”

R – Result – This is the Result of the Actions above. The result is your way of proving to the employer that you have the skills to do the job. For example “The result of this meeting was that I had informed both managers that I was only one person and that if they needed me to meet their deadlines I would need them to provide me with all of the data so I can maximise my time by using my time-management, communication skills I was able to be more flexible and adaptable in the workplace and now I am tasked with more responsibility.”

Extra Tip!!! Do Not Finish Reading Yet!!

I advise that add an L to the end of your STAR examples. Effectively making them STARL.

I have found that if you tell the employer the Result and then what you Learnt from the experience you are not only showing that you have the skill(s) needed but also that you actually thought about your answer.

L – Learnt – This is what you have learnt from the experience. There are a couple of reasons why you need to add this so just go with me on this …

  1. By saying what you learnt from the experience you are re-enforcing that you have the skill needed for the job and that you have actually thought about it
  2. The other advantage of adding what you learnt is to capture your audience. What I mean by this is you are kind of shocking/ waking up the interview panel a little and making sure they take note of what you are saying.

But I can only use STARL examples from work right?

NO! your examples do not have to be just from your work experience, these can be personal experiences as well and most times these can show your honesty and openness (two more identifiable skills) so don’t be afraid if you can’t show a work example for the question.

That’s all for this post but keep your eyes open and click that subscribe to be notified everytime a new post becomes available.

Please bear with me while I add more content but I hope it’s not too long between posts for everyone.

Note: The link below does go to Amazon.com and I am a Amazon Affiliate so, if you click through and buy something from them I do get a commision, however I will only do this for products that I actually have used, read or watched and would actually recommend. Now the reason I chose this product is because we are talking about STAR’s so why not offer the cutest Star Wars character around “The Child” .. aka Baby Yoda!!

I love to hear your feedback so feel free to leave me a message or a comment.

Before you apply for a job

Kia Ora Whanau! Alex from Costas Enterprises here to help you apply for that new job.

Don’t have time to read?? You can listen to a copy of this post from my podcast the “Get a job and get healthy with Costas Enterprises” podcast on Spotify right here.

I hope I can give you some guidance into creating things like a Master CV and a Cover Letter … Wait …What do you mean a master CV??

Don’t worry we will get to that shortly but first, let me break it down for you,
If your about to venture into the workforce for the first time, or your not happy at your current job and you want to do something else you need to do a couple of things first.

  1. Think about what you want to do.
    When applying for, or even thinking about applying for, a job you should know what is required of you to do the job.
    I suggest you think long and hard about what it is that you actually want to do.
    Once you know what you want to apply for, then comes the hard part!

    I’m not going to sugar-coat this, I can help you create a master CV, Cover Letter and give you help with interview skills, but if you haven’t taken the time to think about what you actually want to do and it will not come across in your application for the job.
  2. Do your research.
    What I mean by this is simply, look at the job description you are applying for and ask yourself these questions:
    Can you easily identify what skills are going to be needed for the job?
    What are the duties listed or expected duties of the role (if these aren’t mentioned)?
    Do you have these skills?
    Are you going to be doing something your interested in?

3) Apply for the job!
Ok so it’s not exactly that simple but let see what you need to do first, You need to create a CV and Cover letter that is going to grab the attention of your audience (this is the employer who wants to interview you). This will allow the employer a glimpse into what you can bring to the job.

I suggest you do the following:

  1. Create a master CV

This CV should have all of your skills, education, employment and references in one place. I will break down each of these sections in a future post but effectively, you want to be able to use this master CV to chop and change the relevant skills that the recruiter is wanting.
This will make your CV adaptable to the job you are applying for.

2) Working out your best skills

When looking at the job you want to apply for try to identify the skills that you have that the employer is wanting to see from their job description and adapt your CV and Cover Letter to reflect those skills.
These skills could include, but not limited to:

Excellent Customer ServiceComputer Literacy
Excellent Communication Skills Proficient in [Microsoft Office or/ CAD/ ETC]
Time Management SkillsHighly Effective Organisational Skills
Adaptability and/or FlexabilityCash Handling/ Payroll Administration
Able to work independently or as team memberLeadership/ Management
Table 1. Example of skills that can be placed in a Master CV

Once you have a list of skills that covers everything that you feel confident you can demonstrate, you are on your way to creating a Master CV.

3) Identify the skills being asked for in the job description  

But “How do I identify the skills needed?”, Put simply, most employers will have some base skills that the require to have before applying. These skills are usually clearly defined within the job advert/ attached job description, however sometimes you won’t be so lucky.

You have to learn to “read between the lines” so to speak. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. While reading the job description look at the duties that are being mentioned, what are they asking you to do? This usually indicates the skill the employer is looking for.

Let me give you an example, if the job description says something like: “Due to the nature of the role you would be required to engage with internal and external stakeholders to provide quality assistance and feed-back”

What do they actually want???, well if we break down their sentence they are basically saying you would be required to “engage with internal and external stakeholders” – basically you need to talk to staff (internal stakeholders) and customers (external stakeholders) “to provide quality assistance and feedback” – to help with customers questions and provide information back to staff.

But hang on Alex, what skill are they wanting me to identify??
It’s actually more than one skills they are wanting you show.

  • The first skill is Networking and/or Customer Relationship Management skills,
  • The second skill is Communication Skills,
  • The third skill is Problem Solving skills,
  • And finally the fourth skill is Accountability

Funny how one sentence can be four potential skills right? However, now that you know what to look for you can now adjust your master CV to include the skills you possess.

4) Write a Cover Letter

Ok so some people think they don’t need a cover letter these days given all the online activity we have and also the resources we have available when people apply for a job but let me tell you right now, They are wrong!

Your cover letter can get you an interview by itself!

With a lot of HR departments these days dealing with hundreds if not thousands of applications for jobs, the HR department’s have to be mindful of how they can shortlist their applicant’s.

One way they do this is by looking at the cover letter first without looking at the CV and checking to see if you have mentioned the skills required.

The CV will still be looked at by the potential employer but HR may not be your direct employer (this is especially true if you are applying for a job within a larger organization).
HR will need to create a shortlist of the applicants that might make the cut. Because you have already identified the skills needed you can also show what the employer wants to see in the cover letter (or get past HR so the future employer can actually read your CV).

That’s all for this post but keep your eyes open and click that subscribe to be notified everytime a new post becomes available.

While I am still building this blog you might need some extra help.

Note: The link below does go to Amazon.com and I am a Amazon Affiliate so, if you click through and buy something from them I do get a commision, however I will only do this for products that I actually have used, read or watched and would actually recommend. That said, I have read the following book High Impact CV’s by John Middleton which had some good ideas and is a great place to start .. until I can provide you with more content.

I love to hear your feedback so feel free to leave me a message or a comment.

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