Tell a Great Career Story: Adam’s Quick Take on Situation Task Action Result (STAR)

job interviews soar method star method Oct 23, 2022
Two people in the middle of a job interview.

Showcase Your Abilities and Talents With This Easy-to-Follow Framework (STAR - Situation Task Action Result)

Your resume can tell a prospective employer where you went to school, what certifications you have, and how your jobs have changed over the years as you get promoted or take new positions. But you will likely need to do more than just that to land your dream job in data science – you will need to showcase how you confront challenges, overcome adversity, unite teams, and provide value to your employer. That is where the STAR worksheet comes in.

Your STAR worksheet is something you can create so you shine in job interviews. STAR stands for Structure, Task, Action, and Results, and by telling the story of your work accomplishments using this framework, you can show in real terms how you work, what qualities you possess, and how you can solve a company’s problems.

STAR will come in handy when the interviewer asks any number of questions, including:
“What do you do when you have multiple competing deadlines?”
“Tell me about a time when you overcame a major challenge at work.”
“Describe a situation when you had a confrontation with a work colleague and how you dealt with it.”

Let’s look at these four components in more detail.

Situation: Set the Scene

Start your STAR story the way any good story begins – give a quick background that draws the listener in. Tell the interviewer the basics: when this happened, who it involved, and maybe a little bit of background. “Last fall, I was asked to work with a team to create a new project management workflow."

Task: Talk About the Objective

Next, talk about the objective, issue, or obstacle you had to overcome. “Three of the team members had been at the company for years and understood why we needed this new workflow to be built. But two members had just started, and they were used to a different workflow, which meant they did not fully understand why we needed this new arrangement.”

Action: How You Solved the Problem

This is the heart of the STAR – talking about the actions you took to tackle this problem showcases your problem-solving abilities. “Once I realized what was happening, I met individually with the new team members to gain a great appreciation of their backgrounds and understand what gaps there were in the way we were communicating with new team members.

Results: Show the Results of Your Actions

Finish by explaining the results of your actions – and if you can include concrete data such as time, savings, or earnings, your STAR story will have an even better impact. “With the whole team on board, we were able to successfully meet our workflow project deadline, as a result of which we are now able to finish projects 5 percent faster than before.”

Used properly, a STAR story can tell the interviewer about your ethics, integrity, leadership, communication, conflict management, and decision-making skills – all of which are exactly the sorts of soft skills that you can use to place yourself ahead of the competition.

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