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STAR power

Best practices: Improving job applications

Peekskill, NY, Postmaster Sean O’Halloran
Peekskill, NY, Postmaster Sean O’Halloran teaches employees seeking career advancement how to create impressive job applications.

Sean O’Halloran tells job applicants it’s important to make a great first impression during an interview.

But the Peekskill, NY, Postmaster also reminds employees that landing that meeting first requires an impressive application.

The process of writing one’s knowledge, skills and abilities, also known as KSAs, has become a “forgotten art,” O’Halloran says.

The 12-year USPS veteran leads career conference workshops to teach employees seeking professional advancement how to write their KSAs.

“How you write your work story sets you apart from the crowd,” he says.

When addressing postal job qualifications in eCareer, for example, O’Halloran encourages employees to use the “STAR” method, which stands for situation, task, action and result.

Using the STAR method may look like this:

  • Situation: “While I was working in …”
  • Task: “I was responsible for …”
  • Action: “The improvement I made was …”
  • Result: “My team accomplished …”

Describing the steps you took to reach a goal and the outcome links an employee’s job title with performance and results, O’Halloran says.

“They are your first impression on an application,” he says.

“Best practices,” a series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.

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