How To Write A STAR Resume

By Martin Buckland - Executive Career Management Professional

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I conduct hundreds of free resume critiques each year to clients at every career level and a day doesn’t go by when I’m not repeatedly uncovering people making the same mistake - failing to entice the reader with career achievements. A hiring influencer is NOT interested in your job duties or job responsibilities!

The difference between a lacklustre document and a winning resume is the emphasis on career achievements or as I like to call them, STAR stories. What’s the STAR formula?

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. The goal is to focus on these 4 key questions:

Ideally, you should have one STAR story per year of employment. Sound impossible? Not really. Everyone has something to contribute to an employer or they wouldn’t have been hired. Start thinking about how you tackled a problem, boosted sales, secured new clients, won awards, reduced a cycle time, increased efficiency, launched new products…the list of possibilities is endless.

Once you’ve noted your STAR stories, it’s time to document them in your resume using 2 or 3 line bulleted statements. Writing in bullets versus full paragraphs makes it easy for the reader to quickly scan the page.

Boost readability and enticement by starting each bullet with an action verb. Examples of action verbs include: Boosted, Elevated, Improved, or Banished. (Hint: my free downloadable 2,013 Resume Action Verbs is a great reference tool! Check back shortly for the 2,015 update!)

Here’s a BEFORE and AFTER example, transforming a responsibility statement into an enticing STAR story.


Responsible for the Maintenance Department and all PM activities.


Led the 24-person unionized Maintenance Team to create and implement a formalized Preventative Maintenance program, reducing assembly downtime by 75% while doubling production output.

A resume is about marketing yourself, sharing with the reader the impact you made at each employer and the potential impact you can make for a future employer. It all begins with a STAR story.



Martin Buckland, President of Elite Resumes, is a leading resume writer, career coach and job search strategist with a global clientele. Martin currently holds the following certifications: Certified Professional Branding Strategist, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Job and Career Transition Coach, Certified Job Search Trainer and Co-Pilot Executive Coach. Visit my website at

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