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Be a STAR: The technique you must use when looking for work

How do you showcase your experience in an interview? How do you ensure your resume matches the job description? How do you satisfy key selection criteria?

STAR is a tried and tested method used all over the world.

Employers expect job applications and interviews to follow it’s principles. Employers expect you to use it to demonstrate your behaviours at work.  If you’re not already applying it, you are behind the crowd.

Without it, it will be difficult to produce a standout resume, nail your key selection criteria, and ace your next job interview.

STAR encourages job seekers to craft well-developed examples of success at work. Using this method, job seekers divide examples into four components, situation, task, action and results.

Hays, Indeed and the University Of Sydney outline the method and how job seekers can take advantage of it.

Elements of STAR

Firstly, let’s go through each of the elements of STAR.


Firstly, think of relevant scenario, you’ve experienced in your career. Something you were involved in that had a positive outcome.


Drawing on this example, consider your involvement in problem solving or working towards a goal.


Think about the steps you undertook to achieve the outcome.


Employers are most interested in this part.  What did your actions achieve? How did this benefit your workplace?


Using STAR for interviews

The STAR method can help you develop well-crafted responses to interview questions.

The idea is that you are demonstrating positive behaviours at work.

It is also important that examples suit the level of role you are going for.

Below are some interview questions that could be answered using STAR method. They are all behavioural style questions. The employer is trying to get a picture of how you behave at work. The STAR method is useful here to illustrate your positive behaviours at work.

Have you made a mistake at work?

To answer this question, don’t be afraid to use an example of a real-life mistake you made at work. Try to make it one that you learnt or grew from.  Did your mistake lead to personal growth and skill development? Emphasise the positive outcome.

How do you resolve conflict?

To answer this question, you could give examples of colleagues you may have had personality clashes with and the strategies you deployed to overcome this. 

How do you work under pressure?

Answer this question by thinking about what your most pressurizing task was in your previous jobs. Provide examples of how you dealt with the pressure.


More focused answers

Using STAR allows you to answer interview questions in a more focused way 

Greater confidence comes across

STAR can help you look like you know what you’re doing. Employers will be impressed if you provide examples of previous successful outcomes.

Answer questions clearly

Answers using STAR are often better structured and get to the point.


To use STAR on your resume, look at the job description and decide on key behaviours or skills you want to show. Use the method to provide examples of these.

Another way to use STAR on your resume is to provide one example for each previous job in your experience section.

Make sure your examples are appropriate for the type of role you are going for. 

Makes the best impression

STAR ensures your resume is full of relevant examples of your skills and knowledge.

May better fit job description

STAR helps you align your previous experience to what the hiring manager is looking for

Tells a story

STAR helps you present a narrative of work experience shaping who you are

Selection Criteria

Lastly, STAR can be helpful in answering key selection criteria. For each criterion on a job description, see if you can find an example of a situation where you fulfilled this criteria. Try to make sure the example is as relevant to the criteria as possible. If the criteria has multiple parts, try to address all of them

Use the STAR method to work your way through your examples.

Learning new methods isn’t always easy

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Do you need help with the STAR method? The Public Service Resumes team has used the STAR method for many years and can help. We offer resume and key selection criteria writing and interview skills coaching.