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Know who you are and what you want. Know your value. Use your Career Tools to talk confidently about your skills, achievements, strengths and work preferences.

Discover your achievements, now!

Discover your achievements, now!

Understanding your achievements is the key to choosing work that reflects who you are, preparing an outstanding resume, preparing to perform well in situational interviews, networking effectively, and so much more.

Discover your achievements, now!

Recalling your achievements at the critical moment can be a challenge.

If someone right now asked you 'what are your 3 greatest achievements and why', could you respond quickly, concisely and accurately? Could you tailor your response to the situation?

The S.T.A.R. model is a great way to prepare for these situations.

  • Situation - the circumstances, the background, the context
  • Task - what had to be done?
  • Action - what you did, what action you took
  • Result - the result, the outcome, your achievement

How to use the S.T.A.R model

Start at any point of the S.T.A.R. Here are four starting points (each unrelated to the other):

  • Situation - I was working for Boeing in the sales division...
  • Task - I had to reconcile months of bank statements within 2 days...
  • Action - I appointed a marketing agency to bring us up to speed on social media...
  • Result - I improved operating efficiency by 20% because...

Then fill in the remaining points of the S.T.A.R. so you have a complete story of about 8 lines for each achievement statement.

Example

Mary started by recalling a memorable Action that she took back in 2001.

  • Action - I used my network of contacts in the aerospace industry to make introductions to the chief procurement officer at each organisation. I did this socially (golf, over lunch) and in a boardroom context

Then Mary filled in the blanks for Situation, Task and Result:

  • Situation - I was working at IBM in the sales team in 2001, and I was responsible for opening new accounts and identifying new sales opportunities
  • Task - I was responsible for opening 5 new client accounts each quarter
  • Result / Achievement - In addition to my traditional business development techniques, my additional networking activities resulted in my opening an average of 9 new accounts each quarter throughout 2001

Your achievements demonstrate your personal qualities

Mary spent time interpreting her S.T.A.R. example, and was pleased with her results.

  • I recognised a potentially profitable opportunity in line with my responsibilities. This shows that I am insightful
  • I exercised my initiative by investigating and then pursuing this opportunity. It required a significant investment of my time and thus prevented me from engaging in more conventional business development practices. I considered it a high-risk, high-return strategy
  • I effectively executed my strategy, while keeping within my allocated business development budget. This required careful selection of social activities to maximise the return on my expense budget, as well as the return on my time. I chose coffee meetings at convenient locations rather than expensive and time consuming lunch appointments
  • This achievement demonstrates that I am insightful, decisive, determined, hard-working, practical, responsible, self-confident, self-directed and self-reliant

From one simple situation, Mary was able to extract many examples to illustrate her positive qualities. Mary can now use these in job interviews, in her resume and in countless other situations where she is asked to speak about what makes her unique, and why she is a good candidate for her target role.

When it comes to stating your achievements, keep asking 'so what'.

You merged two divisions (so what) which saved the company 15% operating costs (so what) resulting in the company achieving its target 12% return on investment.

The achievement is what resulted from your work.

How to write powerful achievement statements

  • State the impact - focus on the outcome of the actions you took.
  • Quantify where possible - if your achievements can be quantified, do it. Metrics are memorable, simple and powerful. They provide a concise summary of the impact you made. Use percentage changes rather than absolute numbers as these will be more meaningful.
  • Provide context - if you sell property in a country town, a $2 million sale might be fantastic, whereas a $2 million sale in a big city might be considered average.

Other ways to unearth your achievements

If you need prompting, try these practical techniques:

  • Take an old copy of your resume, and make a list of every achievement you can remember as it related to the role you held.
  • From your list of your skills and knowledge areas, select one area such as 'problem solving' and list all the achievements you can recall that involved your problem solving ability. Continue this for all items.
  • Think about any awards or commendations you have received. What achievements did these recognise?

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