6 Ways You Fail to Show Personality on Your Resume
When you’re a recruiter, sometimes you cannot but marvel at the uniformity of most candidates’ resumes. In most cases, you can tell one from another only by a name at the top. For some reason, most candidates write generic resumes even if they themselves aren’t generic people.
Sure, it’s only natural that everybody wants to be the right fit for the company they’re approaching. Unfortunately, most candidates try to achieve this by erasing their personality entirely. In the end, you could hardly find a surer way to make your resume end up in the bin.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t present yourself in a way that fits the company’s needs. You should. The main challenge lies in striking a balance between fitting in and standing out at the same time. It takes a bit of an effort to successfully walk the thin line between the two and you’re going to fail before you make it work. These are the 6 mistakes you probably make:
1. You write in third person.
Never underestimate the power of “I”. There’s no easier way to show your personality on a resume than to write it in first person. Don’t listen to those who tell you otherwise. After all, your resume is your main career branding document. It’s meant to be about you presenting yourself! What better place to use the word “I” then?
Ultimately, the main purpose of a resume is to help you stand out from other candidates and get invited to an interview. You could hardly find a better way to do this than giving your resume a friendly voice. When you write a resume in first person, it’s as if you were speaking to the hiring manager directly. In other words, you stop being just another faceless (voiceless) applicant.
2. You use buzzwords and jargon.
If you want to show your personality on a resume, you need to give it a unique voice. Yet, that’s impossible to do if you’ve just packed your resume with meaningless phrases like “Results-Oriented Professional” or “Motivated Self-Starter”. Would you use these words to describe yourself to someone in a conversation? Of course not, that would be silly.
Moreover, these done-to-death buzzwords are anything but informative. What does “Results-Oriented Professional” even mean? Not much when every other candidate in your pile of job applications claims to be one.
You have a voice of your own. Don’t be afraid to pack your resume with words of your own. It’s the best thing you can do to connect with the person who wants to hire you.
3. You don’t tell stories of your accomplishments.
Many candidates make the mistake of saying too little when describing their previous jobs. Nevertheless, to make your personality shine through on a resume, you need to go into detail.
First, you should never list your past responsibilities instead of actual accomplishments. If you do this, you end up repeating the job description. What’s unique about that? Everybody with the same job title is going write the same thing. On the other hand, when you describe your past accomplishments instead, you show contributions that were uniquely your own.
Second, remember to provide context for each accomplishment. Don’t simply tell what you did, explain how you did it and why. In other words, tell stories about the problems you had to face and the ways you solved them. In the end, it’s their stories that make people memorable and unique.
4. You apply for jobs using automated recruiting websites.
If you manage to write a resume that oozes with personality, don’t pitch it into automated recruiting websites. After all, there’s no point in showing a personality if there’s no one on the other end to appreciate it.
Applicant Tracking Systems is where personable resumes go to die. Sure, you can optimize your resume for ATS to slightly increase your chances. Still, all they can do is to scan your resume for keywords. At the end of the day, mainly the candidates who approach hiring managers directly get to the last round of interviews. Remember to show personality in the way you submit your resume too.
5. You don’t care how your resume looks.
Don’t underestimate the visual side of your resume. All resumes created in MS Word look almost the same. If you want to stand out, pick a sleek template to accentuate the contents of your resume. At the end of the day, humans are visual beings first and foremost. For this reason, content and form need to go in hand if you want to make an unforgettable impression.
Even if your skills in graphical design leave much to be desired, your resume doesn’t have to be boring. A number of resume builders like Kickresume or ResumeGenius allow you to choose from a wide range of professional resume templates. Just make sure to pick one that fits the position you’re approaching.
6. You overshare personal information.
Lastly, be careful not to overshare on your resume. For instance, if you decide to include your hobbies, only list the ones that might be relevant for the job. Also, don’t share anything that might be too personal or intimate. Yes, it’s great to make your personality show on a resume. just make sure you stay professional. Remember—you’re looking for a job, not a friend.