Creating impact in your CV and interview

Creating impact in your CV and interview  

When it comes to increasing your chances of interview success, the STAR method (sometimes referred to as CAR – Context, Action, Result) has likely crossed your path – offering a structured way to frame your answers. But there’s more to this framework than meets the eye. In this blog, we’re delving into a holistic application of the STAR method, extending its benefits from interviews to enhancing your curriculum vitae (CV).  It’s all about creating a compelling story that summarises your journey, skills and impact. 

Action as a bridge to success 

Most of your interview responses should revolve around the “A” – Action and “R” – Results. In our last blog, we focused on Action and explaining the “how.” This delved into your success stories, emphasising your role, the process you designed, and the collaborative efforts you undertook. By shedding light on your contribution, you present a well-rounded picture of your capabilities. 

The power of ‘Result’

Avoid the trap of your CV listing responsibilities, you hold the key to differentiation through your achievements. The power of the “R” – Result – lies in the impact and outcome of what you did on the business/for the organisation. Again, like with action it’s an opportunity to engage readers with dynamic verbs like “saved,” “optimised,” “improved,” “enhanced,” or “streamlined.”  

For example, a project was implemented to introduce a new customer process in the Customer Experience Team. This involved designing and testing the process in collaboration with IT and business stakeholders. The team received training, and effective communication during the change led to an on-time delivery of the project. The outcome was a notable 20% increase in customer satisfaction within the initial three months.

In your CV, there’s a dynamic approach to presenting your experiences. You can opt to begin by detailing the action taken and then highlighting the achieved result. Alternatively, you might choose to start with a significant outcome, followed by an explanation of the steps leading to it. 

For example, employee engagement rose by 30% through an initiative that enhanced employee loyalty and decreased turnover. The project involved focus groups, collaboration with employee representatives and stakeholders to identify key concerns and proposing solutions to senior leadership. These solutions encompassed an employee perk box, flexible work hours, and holiday flexibility. 

The pivotal point lies in the ‘Result’ – the impact comes from within these outcomes. By showcasing your efforts, you effectively demonstrate to potential employers the value you could bring to their organisation. 

But remember the “so what?” litmus test – every entry on your CV should prompt the question, “So what?”. Unveil the broader implications of your actions. 

 The “So what?” test

The secret weapon to improving your CV’s impact is the “so what?” test. As you write each key achievement, challenge yourself with this question – “So what?” This prompts you to avoid just listing something you were responsible for and encourages you to delve deeper and speak about the consequences of your actions. This is all about showing the difference you made in your role/organisation. So, for example, did your initiatives streamline operations, drive revenue growth or heighten customer satisfaction? Did your actions improve team relationships, enhance employee engagement, or result in positive feedback from your stakeholders? Use this question to unearth the overarching importance of your contribution to the task and add more ‘oomph’ to your stories/examples. 

Quality over quantity 

Research shows that hiring managers and recruiters spend between 6-8 seconds looking at a CV. So, it’s essential to prioritise quality over quantity. Use fewer, high-impact bullet points, each with details about the outcomes you fronted. This approach demonstrates your efficiency and keeps the reader interested in your narrative. Focus on your highlights in each role and the stories you want to talk about at the interview – there is no way you can talk about every little thing you did so it’s about the ones you think showcase your skillset most and are most relevant to your target role. 

Result equals learning

STAR isn’t limited to successes alone; it works for challenges as well. You may be asked to describe a time when you failed when you experienced a setback or disappointment when things didn’t pan out as expected. In these scenarios you still focus on the STAR formula and the results are where you highlight your capacity for growth by showing your learning from the experience, the way you have reflected on it and addressing how you’d approach similar situations differently next time – an example of your adaptability, resilience and integrity.

Coherence between CV and interviews

A seamless transition from CV to interview is the hallmark of great preparation. By weaving STAR/CAR principles into your CV, you’re not just creating a document – you’re crafting a story and preparing your examples for your future interview.  Thinking about your key achievements is helping you develop your narrative for the competency and situational questions meaning you show consistency whether you’re on paper or in person. 

Revamp your results

Your CV isn’t just a record; it’s a testimony of your expertise. Revamp it with results to add greater impact and reflect stories that capture your achievements, your skills and your approach. The journey of becoming an unforgettable candidate starts here.  

If you need help drawing out your impactful outcomes, get in touch for some personalised guidance for your CV and interview preparation. 

Featured image courtesy of unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.