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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Be a 'STAR'

Naturally, for many of us, filling up complicated forms is a big challenge. Some questions in these forms may include:

  • "Describe a tough scenario that you faced at work and how you handled it,"
  • "Narrate an incident where you made a grave mistake at your job," or
  • "Write about how you demonstrated your abilities to take charge of a situation at work"

Intimidated? Don't be! Answering these questions is rather easy, if you just follow a bit of a structured thought process. This process is called the STAR technique, not just because it helps you become one, but because it's an acronym too. :P

STAR stands for:

  1. Situation - What was the scenario?
  2. Task - What should have happened?
  3. Action - What did you do?
  4. Result - What was the final outcome?

In the situation description, try and explain briefly, in layman's language, what was the scenario like. Don't make it cound like the heavens were about to fall on your head, but still, don't hesitate to add details. (Remember - layman's language, please... )

Talk about what the ideal, utopian scenario would have been while describing the task. (Essentially, this will create a contrast between the earlier chaotic scenario, and what should have happened. :P )

And now, enters our dynamic hero/heroine. :D How did you bridge the gap between the actual and the expected situation? What did you do? Try not to say "I led....," "I did this and that..." Make it more subtle. Instead of making it a direct narration of your leadership skills, bring out leadership traits that you displayed. (I know....tough to be modest, but try it... )

Ah! What did our hero accomplish? Write about the final outcome, any accolades, and your learnings from the experience.

Note: If you do this entire process well, you can make a failed attempt at something also sound positive.

Overall, the entire technique works well with tough professional/educational situations, activities you were thrust into without being given adequate skills/knowledge, when you found your team without effective leadership, conflict situations, and times when you tried very hard but failed.

P.S. Happy 'STARring' and all the best!!

2 comments:

Balaji Srinivasan said...

Informative post! :)

Is there any structure for SOP?

Sauron said...

Thanks man!!