From education to employment

How to write a S.T.A.R competency based CV

Gavin O'Meara, FIRP, FCIM, BA (Hons), CEO and Head of Digital, FE Careers and FE News

Do you want your CV to shine out to Recruiters and HR professionals? Have you heard of a STAR CV? Make your CV shine like a STAR!

You may have heard of competency based interviews, but have you thought about writing a competency based CV or application form. A competency based CV can help you stand out and also help you tailor what questions a recruiter or HR professional may ask you during the interview process. Your CV or Application form is what an interviewer will regularly refer to when asking you questions about your job history during your interview.

The theory behind competency based interviews is: ‘what you have done in the past, is a good reflection of what you will do in the future’… if you agree with this concept or not, competency based interviews are regularly used during interviews.

Many HR and Recruitment professionals are trained in competency based interview techniques. You can influence what questions they will ask if you subtly write a competency based CV or application form.

One of the most popular methods of competency based interview techniques that are taught to HR and Recruitment professionals is S.T.A.R:

Situation: This is the situation you faced… or the challenge. Briefly set the scene.

Task: What did you have to do? What was your objective? (sometimes people group Situation and Task together).

Action: How did you do to complete the project or challenge?

Result: Always think of positives here. Saved 10%, generated £1 Million. Using £’s and %’s helps quantify what you have done.

£’s and %’s really help quantify what you have done… and what you could do in the future for your new employer!

S.T.A.R helps the interviewer to quantify what you have done in previous job roles. They are looking to unpick this info to make sure they are recruiting the right person for the role. So why not take this opportunity to show them all the fantastic things you have done?

If you try using the above methodology you will be giving the interviewer talking points… or another way to think about it is that you are giving them a list of interview questions for them to ask you. Which of course has its benefits during the interview process as they will be talking to you about Projects and Situations that you have a great knowledge of.

So let’s look at a way to use STAR on a CV or application form:

Let’s say you are a Verifier and you are going to apply for the Lead IQA or Verifier Job, using the STAR method you could add under your job role:

Projects / Achievements

Originally recruited to improve an Unsatisfactory Ofsted Grade. Transformed Verification process from paper based system to digital system. Set up new KPI’s for Assessment team to deliver portfolio’s. Turned Ofsted result around from Unsatisfactory to Grade 1 Outstanding within 10 months. Whilst saving £100,000 per year on the quality and assessment process and increased the learner completion rate from 40% to 85%

….. wow, I think you would get the interview with this!

As you can see, this is a lot more powerful than saying:

Job Title: IQA / Verifier

Job Role: I verify Assessor’s portfolios.

STAR helps to quantify why you are an exciting candidate, it reveals what you have done in the past and the idea being that this was not a fluke and that you will do even greater things next time.

I hope this helps. You can choose which way you want to STAR your application or CV… I’m sure you will make your application ‘shine!’ and stand out to the interviewer.

Good luck with your job search.

Gavin O’Meara, FIRP, FCIM, BA (Hons), CEO and Head of Digital, FE Careers and FE News

Gavin is a Fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He has over 18 years recruitment experience. Gavin launched FE Careers and FE News back in 2003, since then FE Careers has gone on to consistently be the largest specialist job advertising site for the Further Education, Apprenticeship / Work Based Learning and Employability sectors with over 1,250 job adverts live per day with college jobs, independent training providers jobs and a range of vacancies with specialist FE Recruiters. FE Careers has been the digital recruitment channel for the sector for the past 14 years. 

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