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How To Write Your CV Experience Section Using The SAR Method

What makes the difference between a CV that will get you the job, and one that will get binned after 6 seconds?

It’s how you talk about your experience. 

You might be thinking “okay Grad Soc, fair enough, but how do I actually do that?”

You’ve probably heard loads of different acronyms flying about (STAR, CAR, SAR etc.) and still have no idea which one you should use to write an impactful experience section and actually get the job. Luckily for you, we’re here to break our SAR method (which you may have seen in our FREE CV Guide!) down into some simple steps, beginning with our definition of the SAR method.

What Is The SAR Method For Writing Your Experience Section?

SAR stands for skill, action, result. The SAR method is a means of structuring the sentences within your experience section on your CV to show the hiring manager which skills you possess, proof you’ve got them and the impact using these skills has had in previous experience. Long story short, SAR sentences help explain and prove why you’re the perfect fit for the role.

Think about it, writing ‘developed communication skills through serving 100+ customers daily, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and gaining multiple 5 star reviews’ sounds a lot better than ‘served customers’.

The trap a lot of people fall into with their experience section is just listing all of their responsibilities, tasks or duties. By only listing the action, the hiring manager has no idea what skills you developed in the role, or the impact you had (and therefore the impact you could have on their company). 

This can also help you get a 1 page CV!

Let’s break down our SAR method into the 3 elements you need within each work experience sentence.

Writing Up Skills On Your CV

The S in SAR stands for skill, and being able to identify all the hard and soft skills you gained in a piece of experience to include on your CV is key. In order to do this, take some time to brainstorm every skill you’ve used within a role (yep, every single one) and write them down. 

They could be hard skills, such as Canva or Python, or soft skills such as communication, team work or problem solving. Identifying these skills will also help you tailor your CV to the job application, as you’ll look at which skills they mention in the job description and be able to immediately match it to your own relevant experience. 

And it’ll probably give you a little confidence boost too.

Writing Actions On Your CV

After you’ve written your skills, you then need to consider an action that demonstrates you using or building these skills. For example, you could have used Canva to create 10 pieces of Instagram content – being able to use Canva is the skill, and creating Instagram posts is the action where you used the skill.

A laptop showing Canva

This proves to the hiring manager that you actually possess the skill, and they can get an idea of how you’ve used the tool previously. This is going to reassure the hiring manager that you can actually do the job they’ve listed.

Writing up actions for soft skills could include for example how many customers you spoke to every day to demonstrate communication, or how many team members you worked with to demonstrate team work. 

Quantify your experience within your experience section wherever possible to give the hiring manager further context. Writing ‘served customers’ could mean anywhere between 2 and 2000 people – you need to make it clear!

Writing Results On Your CV

Finally, results. If you’ve taken a look at all the acronyms, you’ll notice they all have one thing in common – the R. This means that whatever you do, always talk about the results in your CV’s experience section, WE’RE BEGGING YOU!

Results matter because they show the impact you’ve had. Aaaand, if a hiring manager can see the impact you had in another role, they get an idea of what you could potentially do for them. You should quantify your results wherever possible to give more context, but get creative if you’re struggling to quantify them, your results could include increased efficiency, increased confidence or further developed skills – it doesn’t just have to be hard numbers!

SAR Sentence Examples For Your CV Experience Section

Need some inspiration? Here’s some examples of SAR sentences for your experience section (don’t copy and paste though, it would be embarrassing if you ended up with exactly the same CV as another applicant). 

CV Experience Example Sentences for Retail, Hospitality and Customer Service Roles:

❌ Hung clothes and looked after the stockroom

✅ Streamlined inventory organisation by curating and rotating seasonal clothing across 3 departments, resulting in a more cohesive and enjoyable customer experience

❌ Answer customer questions

✅ Provided every customer with high quality service by anticipating their individual needs, resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction and exceeding set sales targets

❌ Operate the till

✅ Methodically and reliably handled EPOS/POS system transactions including credit, cash, exchanges, returns and refunds, resulting in a continuously error-free cash flow

❌ Made food orders

✅ Utilised problem solving skills to cook 20+ menu items each hour whilst simultaneously maintaining a clean and efficient food preparation space, resulting in serving 500+ customers per day with zero complaints and a minimum wait time. 

CV Experience Example Sentences for Business Based Roles:

❌ Wrote blog posts

✅ Increased SEO rankings by copywriting 10+ blog posts per week across 3 websites, resulting in 25 1st page rankings within 2 months

❌  Trained new hires

✅  Developed team leadership skills by managing 6 new employees by coaching them through weekly meetings and supervising their progress, resulting in an increase overall department efficiency and high levels of team morale

❌  Worked in the sales team

✅ Boosted sales efficiency by effectively communicating current offers and providing high levels of customer service,  resulting in exceeding personal KPIs such as X by 50% and increasing team sales by 25% 

❌  Used photoshop

✅ Gained 50+ hours of photoshop training, creating 200+ Instagram graphics, demonstrating a clear understanding of brand guidelines and target audience, resulting in an increased reach of 15k people over 3 weeks

If you’re struggling to write up your experience section or want a professional to look over your draft, book a Virtual CV Review or 1-1 CV Session with a member of The Grad Soc team and get back on track – we’re here for you!

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