Crush Your Job Application with the STAR Method

Posted by Chelsea Noel on September 19, 2017 in Career Advice

Crush Your Job Application with the STAR Method

So, you’re applying for jobs. Your resume looks great and your cover letter is well written. But what else can you do to set yourself apart from the other applicants? Try using a little something called the STAR method.

I was introduced to the STAR method by a senior manager at Hootsuite, one of Vancouver’s top-rated employers. She told me that this tool has helped her land an interview for every job she has applied for. I decided to try it myself and the feedback was great! My interviewers had a great first impression and I was granted more interviews than ever!

So what exactly is the STAR method?

STAR Method

 

The STAR method is a great tool for job applicants. It helps demonstrate how you meet the capabilities outlined in the job posting. The STAR method is used in both job applications and interviews. It provides a structure that allows you to describe a situation or problem, highlight the task you had to accomplish, outline the actions you took to achieve the task, and show the end result of what you achieved and learned.

The STAR Chart

Most job postings will list their key selection criteria, also known as job requirements. While you can outline the STAR method in a couple of paragraphs in your cover letter, it’s also helpful to create a chart to submit with your application. A job posting for an Administrative Assistant listed “leadership abilities” as a key selection criterion. Here’s an example of how this requirement was addressed using the STAR method:

STAR Chart Example

You can create more rows for each example listed in the job posting. Submitting a STAR chart with your application shows you’ve taken the time to deeply analyze the requirements listed in the job posting and can demonstrate how they align with your own skills and experiences.

The STAR Method

In addition to submitting the STAR chart in your application, the STAR method is also a great tool to use during interviews. Most interviewers will ask competency-based questions, which asks you to talk about a skill or personality trait and a time when you’ve used it. During an interview, have you ever been asked to “recall a time when…”? When these questions come up, it can be difficult to wrack your brain for an answer. While your chart may not align with each specific question asked during the interview, it will provide you with talking points and a solid structure when responding to these types of questions.

The same example above can be applied to a question asking you to “describe an experience in which you have used your leadership abilities”. Having your chart in front of you will help you answer the question thoroughly.

Don’t forget; it’s always a great idea to follow up after submitting a job application. Following up shows that you actually care about the position and are eager to work with the company you’ve applied with. If you haven’t heard back after two weeks since you’ve submitted your application, try sending a follow-up email. You don’t need to be pushy; simply resend the same email. State that your original application was sent on {date}, express your interest in the position and wanted to ensure the recruiter had received your initial email. Some job postings get hundreds of applications and the screening process can take some time.

The next time you apply for a job, try using the STAR method. While it may take some extra time to craft, it will be sure to make your application stand above the rest. Download this STAR Chart Template and give it a shot!