Career Advice, Resumes

Ask a Resume Writer: How Can I Show Culture Fit?

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“Does showing culture fit with a company add value to my resume?”

There’s a fierce battle going on in hiring circles between those who believe skills should matter most in deciding who gets the job, versus those who believe culture fit should win out.

Both sides raise valid points.

After all, if you’ll only need 3 weeks of training to get going versus 8 weeks for the other guy, isn’t that a great reason to give you the job?

Then again, what if you’re a nightmare to work with? Some extra training isn’t a deal-breaker if it means taking on a TRUE BELIEVER, someone who looks at this as more than just a job, but a chance to do something meaningful. That’s priceless, isn’t it?

So what does this mean for you?

A skills-only resume, not matter how strong, is ignoring a huge factor in what makes a hiring agent take notice. A skills-heavy resume that weaves in culture fit, on the other hand, presents a fuller, more confident portrait of who you are. It invites engagement, and that’s the real purpose behind a resume, not a dry accounting of skills.  

Here’s how to do it the right way:

Boil a company’s culture down to its essentials.

HR tends to get mighty “poetic” on the About Us pages of company websites! Get a deeper understanding of a company’s values through following their social media accounts (Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, etc.) and really taking the time to read through status updates and customer engagement. Glassdoor is also a great way to peek at what the culture’s like behind closed doors.

Here’s the secret: nearly all companies base their value system for new hires on some combination of the following:

  • Incredible Customer/Client Service
  • Can “Ride the Wave” of Change
  • Creative and Open-Minded
  • Loves to grow and learn
  • Communicates Openly and Honestly
  • Knows How to Get Things Done Regardless of Resources/Efficient
  • Humble
  • Adds a Little Fun into the Mix

Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel- use the skills list above as a template for your resume culture fit efforts, and prioritize the list according to what a company deems most important.  

Create a Buzzword-Free Bio

Start the resume with a brief rundown of what you do, only DON’T use the tired, buzzword-heavy approach most people go for: “Dynamic self-starter with a 10-year track record of excellence in……”

Try something honest and conversational, like:

I love to find the opportunity in adversity.  

When a company is in high-growth mode, or facing major industry turmoil, or simply at a crossroads in their journey, I’m the one they call to lead the charge. Over the past 10 years, the teams I’ve led have delivered over $600M in cost savings and a $75M sales revenue gain across High Tech, Consumer Durables, and Telecom. And we’ve done it in a way that enables long-term growth, not just quick wins.

I take an “inside out” approach to leadership. Our people hold the key to the next game-changing product or initiative. Everything I do is designed to empower, guide, and help them bring it into the spotlight.  

Add Context to Career Details

Think about the stories that lie behind your biggest career accomplishments. Get beyond the metrics and take a more holistic approach. Are there places where you can integrate some culture fit information?

Here’s an example:

  • Before:

Developed global program offices to solve mission critical issues, and led teams on Engineering and Product Complexity Reduction programs.

  • After:

Developed global program offices adhering to a “1 Company, 1 Goal” mindset, and led teams in solving mission critical issues, and delivering major improvements in Engineering and Product Complexity Reduction.

Go Beyond Career

Does your target company support a cause or charity that’s near and dear to your heart? Highlight this shared connection within a “Special Interests” section at the tail end of the resume. And why not include a note when applying proposing a plan to get more employees involved- this shows major initiative AND alignment with cultural values!

Key Takeaway: The goal of showing culture fit on a resume is making it clear that you’re just as interested in the company as the position. What unique personal attributes can help them? What combination of qualities do you bring which no one else can?

Anish Majumdar is an internationally recognized Career Coach, Executive Resume Writer, and LinkedIn Expert. His posts and videos reach a combined audience of 30M professionals every month. 

Take part in Anish’s free webinar training on Generating New Career Opportunities ON DEMAND in the Age of LinkedIn:

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