By Kelsey Thortsen – Finance Director
This summer, I am doing an internship in Paris through a program with the UI. As part of my preparation, I am enrolled in a seminar where we learn how to make the most out of our global internships. This past week, I learned a strategy that I found particularly helpful and thought I would share it with my fellow PRSSAers. It is called the PAR story: P-Problem A-Actions R-Results. Using this strategy will help you develop impressive resume bullets and interview stories.
First, you want to start out by describing a problem you were faced with in your internship or job. Next, write out the actions you took to handle this problem and the results the company or firm received from your actions. This first part should be done in paragraph format, and you want to make sure you spend the most amount of time describing the actions and results (employers are most impressed by these). Once you have written your PAR story, try to identify the skills or characteristics you demonstrated with this story (leadership, problem solving, negotiating, initiative, creativity, etc.). As you go through your internship, try to write out a PAR story for every accomplishment you make; do NOT wait until the end of the internship, because you will undoubtedly forget some of your accomplishments.
Next, pick out the PAR stories that you find resume worthy and organize them into a bullet point. Remember to start with the problem you faced, then move on to the actions you took and end with the results you created.
Lastly, dissect your PAR story by bulleting the main points in a logical order. Remember to have a balance of the P, A and R parts. This last part will help you in interviews. When an interviewer asks you to tell them about a time you demonstrated leadership, you will already have a story ready. Think back to a PAR story that you identified as demonstrating your leadership and tell the story using the bullet points you created in this last step. A lot of times, students tend to be all over the place when telling their stories; using the PAR story strategy will make your answers much more decipherable and will impress the interviewers, making you a more desirable candidate for the job.
That’s all there is to the PAR story strategy. It will help you create bullets that make your resume stand out and prepare you for difficult interview questions. If you don’t want to put the effort into doing it for all your accomplishments in an internship, at least try it out for one story. Good Luck!