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Aug 18th

Use your personality to get a job

2678310549_1e68c09bc7In an attempt to create the perfect resume, it’s all too tempting to play it safe, smoothing any rough edges of your personality to deliver a bland, but ultimately one-dimensional picture of yourself. But it’s important to remember that it’s not just ability to do the job that counts. Hiring managers will also give the job to someone they like, and who they think will fit in well with the company, company culture, and the people working there.

A bland, characterless application won’t allow anyone to see the real you. Here’s how you can use your personality in your job search.

Know the company culture

An important part of your research into whether or not you’d enjoy working somewhere, is to assess company culture. For example, if you’re the sort of person who thrives on bouncing ideas off colleagues, a company which promotes an atmosphere of calm and silent activity will probably make you feel miserable. Find out how bosses and employees interact and communicate; what sort of behaviour / dress code is considered acceptable; whether colleagues socialise outside work; and so on.

If you can, talk to current and past employees to understand more about the culture, hierarchy and working practices. LinkedIn is a good resource for finding people and networking your way in – a better resource than the company website or press releases and brochures, which tend not to be as objective.

Ask about company culture at the interview, too. Find out about company structure and hierarchy and how your role would fit in to that; what people like about working for the company; how top management likes to communicate with employees and so on. Your aim should be to build up a picture of what it’s like to work there, and whether you could realise your full potential in that particular environment.

Know how to express your value to the company

You’ll need to know yourself well enough to match your attributes to the organisation’s needs – not just now, but also into the future. You can only do this if you’re aware of your unique strengths and what you can offer. Being able to communicate your uniqueness in a professional profile or positioning statement will help you convey your personal worth.

Make it personal

Don’t be afraid to take charge of your own resume / CV. Just because you’ve read somewhere that a particular format or certain phrases make you sound like a high flier, be confident enough to choose the words that really describe you – not an idealised version of you.

Avoid cliches. They’re tired, and they make you look uninspired – and therefore uninspiring. Do not use them just because you think they’re what the company wants to see from an ideal application. (See an earlier post on how to avoid the red flag words on your resume.)

Use your own words to illustrate your strengths, personality and enthusiasm for the role. For example, a teacher who writes “Passionate about teaching and helping students communicate clearly and fluently” shows more of her personality and attitude than one who writes “Dedicated, results-driven teacher with proven track record in helping students achieve A grades” because she’s read that “results-driven” and “proven track record” look good. Using a range of vocabulary that accurately describes you will help you avoid sounding stilted or as if you’re copying from a “how to write the perfect resume” manual.

Use a CV / resume format that you’re comfortable with. Ask 10 professional writers to design a CV for you, and you’ll quite possibly get 10 variations on how the information is organised and presented. The different versions will all probably be excellent, but in the end, it’s you selling yourself on your CV and at interview, and you have to be confident about what you write.

Do be careful with templates. If you use one, personalise it as much as possible in terms of layout and design. If you’ve just graduated from an accredited professional training programme, beware of using the same wording on your CV as everyone else, but find ways to illustrate how you will bring your unique attributes and personality to the role

Photo credit: Mike Baird

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