How to be a STAR Candidate

With more candidates looking for fewer jobs, how do you compete? What will make your resume the one to pick? What can you say in the interview that stimulates an offer? How can you be a STAR candidate?

Here is a simple approach that requires hard work and pays big dividends:

  1. Review your experience and select 3 things you did best and liked most that got results.
  2. Write a short story about each selected experience.
  3. Put the results you got in each experience in your resume.
  4. Tell the story about each experience in the interview.
  5. Start looking at your current work for opportunities to do what you do best and like most that gets results.

The hardest part for most people is writing the short story. How do I start? What do I say? How do I finish? The secret to writing a compelling story is actually in the word star: S-T-A-R. Let’s look at each letter to see what I mean.

  • S is for the Situation you faced in the story.
  • T is for the Task you had to accomplish.
  • A is for the Actions you took.
  • R stands for the Results you got.

The impact a STAR can make

Let’s take a look at just a simple story about a school picnic. The situation was that my son was in third grade, and the PTA president asked me to head up a spring event to raise money for extra activities at the school. The task to be accomplished was to create an event that would be so fun that most of the kids and parents would come, buy tickets and spend money. The actions I took started with dreaming up the “Great All-American Picnic” with games, contests, prizes and lots of food and drink. Then I wrote it all down, and sent it to parents I knew at school, inviting them over to the house for dessert and coffee. We talked about all the cool things we could do, and I asked who would like to do what. Pretty soon we had a core team of seven to handle food, games, contests, money, promotion and of course, prayer. The results were fantastic… over half the families in the school came, and more money was raised than ever before!

Years later, when I became a candidate for a management job, I told this story. I put the picnic results in my resume. When I got to the interview, the interviewer asked about the picnic. I told him the story of the situation I faced, the task to be accomplished, the actions I took, and finished off with the results we got.

Because I could clearly communicate my accomplishments with little STAR stories, the interviewer could see not only the results, but how I got them.

Developing your own STAR

Okay, your turn. Think about your own life experiences and pick out the best of the best accomplishments of things you did things that you had fun doing. Make little STAR stories. It might take a little digging to get the statistics on the results, but it is worth it. Put the statistics in your resume, and tell the stories in your interviews. That will make you in the eyes of interviewer a STAR candidate.

Just for the fun of it, send us a STAR story about one of your accomplishments. Short and sweet. The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll be looking like a STAR and quicker you’ll be on your way to your next career opportunity.


  1. I love the philosophy behind the STAR concept. I think this approach can be used in any phase of transition or pursuing an employment opportunity. I will incorporate this approach in my interview experience immediately. Thanks.WSW

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