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What is a good way to describe my attributes with a narrative?

Student Career Placement Consultant

Previous posts on this blog talked about the Attributes section of your 1st Gig profile and how you can select the ones that best suit you. This post is going to focus on how you can describe those attributes to your advantage.

When you create your profile, you have the opportunity to describe real-life examples that demonstrate how the attributes apply to you. While the examples are not required, they help employers understand why you’ve chosen those attributes and may help them get to know you better.

However, for many people, any kind of writing task is challenging, and this task carries with it the added burden of asking you to write something about yourself. If your parents were like mine, your childhood involved lessons about how rude it is to brag, so for most of us it is especially difficult to say that we’re good at something. Thus, writing about your attributes can easily come across as arrogant (one extreme) or overly modest (the other extreme), neither of which is productive.

So how do you approach this task? One way that works well is to think of the acronym STAR, which stands for Situation or Task, Action, Result. Start your example by describing a specific situation you were involved in or task that you were asked to complete, then describe the action or actions that you took, and, finally, describe the result of your action.  Each example only needs to be two or three sentences long. I’ll give you a few examples from one student’s profile so you can see how this might work.

Adam Marks wanted to describe himself as A Quick Study, A Self Starter, and Careful (among other things).

Note: When you write your examples, do not include the words presented in brackets ([ ]) in the examples!

A Quick Study: [Situation] Last semester I had an internship at a social media company where I was asked to work in RoboHelp, which I had never used before. [Action] I found two instructional videos online that allowed me to get started without any additional assistance from my supervisor. [Results] The content I produced was published to the company site with minimal revision.

A Self Starter: [Situation] While I was in college I had three internships, and [Action] I found all of them on my own. [Action] At those internships, I kept my eyes and ears open for tasks that needed to be done above and beyond those that were assigned to me and volunteered to help with those tasks. [Results] In the reference letters they wrote for me, my supervisors mentioned my willingness to work independently without a lot of coaching 

Careful: [Task] At one of my internships, I was responsible for producing content for the company newsletter, which was sent to thousands of employees and customers. [Action] I worked hard to ensure that my writing was accurate and grammatically correct so that I presented the company well, and [Result] no one has ever found a single error because I proofread so carefully. 

Share your thoughts!