Telling someone about your best qualities, your achievements, your skills and experience can be nerve racking. Preparation is the key to making a great impression. Let us help you.

Assess your skills and experience

Self awareness is the key to effectively understanding your strengths and what skills and capabilities you have to offer an employer.

Start by assessing which employability skills you have – what kind of things are you good at? What areas do you need to develop? Once you know what you're good at, it's easier to know which jobs and careers you're more likely to enjoy, succeed at – and get hired for!

Being self aware and having a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will help you to develop yourself as a "brand".

A good way to look at this is to see yourself as a brand which you are trying to promote to a consumer (the employer):

  • What does your brand look like?
  • What are the key strengths of your brand?
  • Why should the buyer purchase your brand and not your competitors' (ie another candidate)?
  • How do you stand out from all the other products that are on the market?

The best way to assess your skills and identify potential areas for improvement is to undertake a "skills audit". Undertaking a skills audit will help you to understand your unique selling points. There are three parts to completing a skills audit:

  1. Start listing the skills which you think you have.
  2. Provide specific examples of how you have acquired and used these skills.
  3. Identify what skills you need to improve or gain and how you will do so.

Your skills audit is a "live document" - keep it up-to-date as you acquire new skills or develop better examples to support existing skills. The examples from your skills audit should feed through to your CV as well as being used at interviews.  


Prove your skills and experience


The STAR approach

We recommend that when discussing your skills in an interview you use the STAR approach. Using STAR really helps to show a potential employer that not only do you possess a certain skill but you have used it to achieve a positive outcome.

Situation Set the context.
T Task What were you required to do?
A Action What did you do? (It is important that you focus on your role, particularly when talking about team-based activities).
R Result What was the outcome? What did you help achieve?
Demonstrate the skills you applied had a positive result. Be specific - use: numbers (I served over 300 people a day); percentages (I increased sales by 25%); or examples (I won the 2010 Staff Excellence Award).

To help you on your way here is an example of a candidate highlighting a specific skill using the STAR approach:

Example: In the second year of my degree I was a member of the student charity board (situation) which had a target of raising $25,000 (task). I set myself a personal target of raising $15,000 and went about writing a personalised letter to local companies. I followed up each letter with a visit to present my proposal (action). This approach resulted in me raising $17,000 and the committee exceeding our target by 20% (result).

Remember, make sure that the examples you give are realistic and truthful. Do not lie or exaggerate your achievements.


Attend an 'Interviews explained' workshop

Register and attend our workshop "Interviews explained". You can view workshops and registration details on our Book a workshop page.


Book a mock interview

If you would like a Business School career development adviser to help you prepare, you are welcome to make a 50 minute mock interview appointment via MyCDES.


Useful resources

Below are useful websites to help you prepare for interviews: