Make Your Case:

Beginning to Draft Your Own Case Study

After reading our last post, Make Your Case: Answer Any Behavioral Based Interview Question with this Strategy, you now know the value of a case study and are ready to begin drafting your own. Now, it’s important to look at what makes an effective case study, what kind of project is suitable for one, and how to properly draft your first case study.

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Where and How to Start

First, an effective case study gives a description of a process or action taken to overcome a professional challenge and the measureable results yielded. To do so, it must include four major parts: the overview, challenge, solution, and impact. These four pieces should be descriptive and well thought-out.

A strong case study can be based on a professional challenge, an academic project, a leadership experience, involvement with a board you sit on, or any other situation you can think of where you felt passionate about solving a problem. While a case study can be based on a range of experiences, the most important rule when selecting your case study topic is making sure you are able to answer these six probing questions about the project: What did you do? What did you think about or want? When did this happen? Who was involved? What was your contribution? What was the result or outcome?

If you think you have a project in mind and are ready to start drafting your case study, see if you can answer all six of these questions before you begin. If you can, your selected project is suitable for a case study. If you find yourself stuck on a few of these questions, keep thinking.

Mapping It All Out

Now that you have a project to base your first case study on, you can begin your brainstorm. Jot down all the specific details you can think of about the project, including the employer/organization in which you were working, information about the industry, your job position, the business challenge, the team you worked with, your strategy for solving the challenge, and the key metrics that measure the outcome and results of your solution.

Putting Pen to Paper

Now that you’ve mapped out all the important above details in your brainstorm, you can place them into the four major sections you need: overview, challenge, solution, and impact. Aim to write between one to two paragraphs for each section, and make sure you include all the specific details you brainstormed; you don’t want to forget to mention your job position and responsibilities in the overview section or the team you worked with in the solutions section! Each detail strengthens your case study.

Draft, Edit, and Finalize

Once you have four clear, concise sections, you now have your very first case study draft! Read it over a few times to make sure you’re not forgetting anything important. Practice using the case study to answer some behavioral based interview questions.

Finally, by following these few simple steps, you have just created a strong case study that you can use throughout your career. Next post, we will provide an example of an effective case study done by a manager at More Wireless, Matt. You can compare your case study draft to Matt’s completed case study to make sure you’re on the right track.