How To Use the STAR Method To Write the Perfect Resume

The STAR method is a tried and true resume writing formula. For insight into what it means, how to do it — and why it works — check out this comprehensive guide.

6 months ago   •   6 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
Table of contents

If you’ve been job seeking for a while, chances are you’ve stumbled upon people talking about the STAR method. Originally devised by recruiters as a method for answering interview questions, the STAR method has evolved to become a foolproof way of writing resume bullet points.

Let’s start with a quick overview of the STAR method before we walk you through how to use it to craft a five-star resume.

What is the STAR method of resume writing?

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

  • Situation: What was the context of your accomplishment? What was the problem that needed solving?
  • Task: What were your responsibilities? What was your end goal?
  • Action: How did you address the issue? What exactly did you do?
  • Result: What was the outcome? How did your actions benefit the company?

How to write a resume using the STAR method

  1. Situation: Check the job description. What is the context of the new role? What challenges are you likely to face? Brainstorm similar accomplishments and use Targeted Resume to identify relevant skills and keywords.
  2. Task: Think about what you did at previous jobs that was resume-worthy.
  3. Action: Start with a strong action verb to describe exactly what you did.
  4. Result: What was the bottom line? Use metrics here to quantify your accomplishments — talk about how much revenue you earned, time or money you saved, the size of the project, or the amount of work you completed.
  5. Upload your resume to a free ATS resume scanner to see how your overall bullet points score.
An example of resume bullet points highlighting the Situation, Task, Action, and Result
An example of resume bullet points highlighting the Situation, Task, Action, and Result

Writing STAR method resume bullet points

The four elements of the STAR method — Situation, Task, Action, and Result — can be used in any order and across multiple bullet points. This means that if you’re having a hard time packing everything into a single bullet point, you can use one or two at a time, as long as you include all four within a single job heading.

A STAR method resume template

Let’s take a look at an accomplishment that combines Situation, Task, Action, and Result into a single bullet point:

Aligned marketing plans to the promotion of product releases, resulted in 90% of customers upgrading to the new product release.
  • Situation: The company released a new product.
  • Task: Promoting the new product.
  • Action: Aligned marketing plans to the new product release.
  • Result: 90% of customers upgraded to the new product.
The STAR method combining Situation, Task, Action, and Result into a single bullet point
The STAR method combining Situation, Task, Action, and Result into a single bullet point

Combining elements of the STAR method

Sometimes, it makes more sense to combine the Task and Action. Here’s what that could look like:

Implemented a new process for evaluating credit offers in marketing campaigns; doubled disbursements.
  • Situation: Needed to evaluate credit offers in a marketing campaign.
  • Task/Action: Implemented a new process for evaluating those offers.
  • Result: Doubled disbursements.
An example of using the STAR method on a resume by combining Task and Action
An example of using the STAR method on a resume by combining Task and Action

Using the STAR method across multiple bullet points

It doesn’t always make sense to use all four elements of the STAR method in every single bullet point, especially if you have multiple accomplishments related to the same situation. In that case, feel free to use only some of the elements in each bullet point, as long as you cover all four within the same job heading.

Here’s an example:

Operations Improvement Project
-       Drove redevelopment of internal tracking system in use by 125 employees, resulting in 20+ new features, reduction of 20% in save/load time and 15% operation time.
-       Refined outsourcing strategy, resulting in increased offshore headcount from 12 to 95 employees.
-       Reduced development costs by 25 percent by creating a plan to merge related products into one, more streamlined product.
  • Situation: A large-scale operations improvement project.
  • Task: Improving the internal tracking system and streamlining products.
  • Action: Drove redevelopment of the internal tracking system, refined the company’s outsourcing strategy, and created a plan to merge related products.
  • Result: A faster internal tracking system with 20+ new features, an increased offshore headcount, and 25% reduction in development costs.
An example of using the STAR method across multiple bullet points on a resume
An example of using the STAR method across multiple bullet points on a resume

A good way to check if you’ve successfully used the STAR Method to write your resume is to upload it to the tool below — it’ll let you know if your resume contains the four elements of the STAR Method across your bullet points.

Why the STAR method works

The STAR method combines different elements of our tried and true advice for writing resume accomplishments. The STAR method:

  • Focuses on what you did
  • Is specific about your contributions
  • Lists accomplishments, not just responsibilities
  • Explains the benefits to the company
  • Provides compelling details
  • Keeps your bullet points concise and eliminates fluff
  • Provides an easy-to-use template
  • Allows quick customization to match the job you’re applying for

If you’re ready to get started using the STAR method to write your own resume, here are some more examples of STAR method bullet points to get you started.

STAR method resume examples

Let’s break down exactly what a STAR method resume should look like — and how to transform your old bullet points using the STAR method.

Finance

Old bullet point:

Improved departmental budget and reduced spending.

This says basically what you did but lacks specificity about your actions and leaves out any metrics to illustrate the impact they had. Let’s think about the Situation, Task, Action, and Result to see if we can improve it.

  • Situation: Departmental overspending.
  • Task: Allocate resources more effectively.
  • Action: Established ROI metrics and budget controls.
  • Result: Reduced overspend by $200K.

STAR bullet point:

Achieved $200K reduction in department overspend by establishing ROI metrics and budget controls to improve prioritization of the $4MM department budget.

This is a huge improvement. It remains concise but details the context, your specific actions, and the benefit to the company.

Marketing

Old bullet point:

Managed social media advertising strategy for various social media accounts.
  • Situation: Managing 50+ social media accounts.
  • Task: Refine social media advertising strategy.
  • Action: Led team members and managed vendors.
  • Result: Increased conversions, CTR, and social web referrals in the first six months.

STAR bullet point:

Lead team members and vendors to manage the social media advertising strategy for more than 50 social media accounts. Increased conversions by 145%, CTR 50%, and social web referrals 40% in the first six months.

Engineering

Old bullet point:

Created various project specific assets for different products.
  • Situation: Releases involving UAT and regression testing.
  • Task: Create and document assets.
  • Action: Created knowledge transfer documents, test plan, and defect summary reports.
  • Result: Successfully delivered 7 releases.

STAR bullet point:

Created various project specific valuable assets such as knowledge transfer documents, test plan, defect summary reports and lessons learnt documents, successfully delivering 7 releases involving UAT and regression testing.

Design and Creative

Old bullet point:

Responsible for graphic design content, layout, and production materials.
  • Situation: Producing daily graphic design content.
  • Task: Manage content from concept to finished product.
  • Action: Oversaw graphic, layout, and production materials.
  • Result: 100% success rate on all projects and deliverables.

STAR bullet point:

Strategically oversaw the daily graphic design content from concept to the finished project, regularly working on graphic, layout, and production materials, gaining a 100% success rate on all projects and deliverables.

Sales

Old bullet point:

Grew customer base through relationship building and strong sales skills.
  • Situation: Company in need of expansion.
  • Task: Secure new customers.
  • Action: Performed valuation analysis on 150+ accounts.
  • Result: Secured an average of 10 new customers yearly and 30% overall revenue increase.

STAR bullet point:

Performed valuation analysis on over 150 accounts and secured an average of 10 new customers yearly with a 30% increase in revenue today.

Administrative

Old bullet point:

Responsible for coordinating travel for all members of the crew.
  • Situation: Arranging business travel.
  • Task/Action: Coordinate all travel-related issues and manage budget.
  • Result: Successful management of 300+ member crew and $1M budget.

STAR bullet point:

Coordinated all travel-related issues for a 300+ member crew. Maintained a $1M travel budget.

Entry Level

Old bullet point:

Ran and participated in student events while at university.
  • Situation: Student networking events.
  • Task/Action: Organized and advertised 10+ quarterly events.
  • Result: 300 participants in 3 universities.

STAR bullet point:

Organized and advertised 10+ quarterly networking events with 300+ participants in 3 universities in Boston.

Senior Management and C-Suite

Old bullet point:

Responsible for overseeing territory and meeting or exceeding sales goals.
  • Situation: Growing sales territory.
  • Task: Oversee territory and meet sales goals.
  • Action: Created and maintained consistent sales pipeline.
  • Result: Grew territory from $300K to $3 million and regularly exceeded sales goals.

STAR bullet point:

Responsible for growing territory from $300k gross revenue to $3 million in 4 years; exceeded sales goals for 4 consecutive years by maintaining and creating a consistent pipeline.

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