In addition to the change stories we’ve seen in Chapter 1, job-seekers need to know how to develop stories about skills, abilities, expertise, personal traits and characteristics, values, and accomplishments. But how do you develop the stories, how do you know which of these qualities to develop stories about, and how do you know how to frame your stories? First, you need to know how to formulate or structure a story.
Career experts have developed myriad formulas and clever acronyms for how to structure stories in the job search. These formulas have in common the idea of setting the scene for your story by describing the situation, problem, or challenge you faced, explaining what action you took to address the situation, solving the problem or meeting the challenge, and explaining the result of your actions. Results expressed quantitatively, in numbers and percents, for example, are especially effective. An optional inclusion is the learning you gained from this experience. Some of the common formulas and acronyms (with their originators,where knowm, in parentheses) include:
- CAR: Challenge, Action, Result
- CCAR:Context, Challenge, Action, Result (Kathryn Troutman)
- PAR: Problem, Action Result
- PARLA: Problem, Action, Result, Learning, Application (Donald Asher)
- SAR: Situation, Action, Result
- SCARQ: Situation, Challenge, Action, Results-Quantified (Steve Gallison)
- SHARE: Situation, Hindrance, Action, Results, Evaluation (Fred Coon)
- SIA: Situation, Impact, Analysis
- SMART: Situation with Metrics (or Situation and More), Actions, Results, Tie-in (Susan Britton Whitcomb)
- SOAR: Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result
- STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result
These story formulas are most often prescribed for interviews; thus, you can find a story example for each in Chapter 7 on interview stories.