Looking for a job can feel very rules-driven: Resumes and cover letter must follow certain formats and include specific information, while interviewers expect you to have strong answers for standard interview questions. With all this repetition and structure, job seekers can easily fall into the trap of becoming rigid and robotic.
While certain parts of the process should be meet expectations, it doesn’t mean resumes, cover letters and interview answers ought to be devoid of all personality. Including personal details about yourself sets you apart and can make you a more appealing applicant.
Why personal information can be useful.
Personal details can be a road to sharing about applicable skills and transferable abilities. Talking about fun facts also helps to keep an interview from becoming an interrogation, making it a bit more conversational.
Personal details can also provide an employer with a good sense of how you might fit into a company culture, so it’s important to get a sense of the culture beforehand, to see if you’ll be a good fit. Supervisors and co-workers are keen to get a sense of what applicants are like, so opening up to them like this gives them what they want, which makes them more likely to think highly of you.
Don’t go overboard!
While there are benefits to sharing personal details in a job application process, showing too much personality can work against you. You definitely don’t want to share anything too personal, offensive or controversial.
It should go without saying that you need to be honest. Don’t try to impress anyone with your marathon time when you’ve never run in a marathon. Also, personal details should be interesting. Talking about your cats or watching TV last night isn’t helpful.
Ideally, any details you share should be related to the job. For instance, if you don’t have formal leadership experience, but you have been the coach of a kids’ soccer team for the past five years, it would be beneficial to bring that up.
How to share personal facts.
Even though it’s thought of as a pretty formal document, you can share personal details on your resume, if you have the space to do so. Don’t go deep into the second page of a resume to mention you enjoy backpacking. If you’re going to include a section on personal interests, it helps to beef it up with substantial items like volunteer experience and participation in social organizations.
Generally speaking, a cover letter isn’t the ideal place to include personal details because it’s supposed to be as concise as possible. However, volunteer experience or community service could be used if it is highly relevant to the job.
In an interview, personal details can be used to get a conversation going or attempt to connect with an interviewer, and they should not be the foundation for your pitch to the interviewer. As with the cover letter, personal facts should be mention only if it feels natural, not forced.
At NSC, we help job seekers find best-fit job opportunities for their careers. Please contact us today to find out how we can help you take the next step on your career path.