Injecting Personality Into Your CV

When you write your CV / resume, your primary concern is always going to be convincing the employer that you have plenty to offer in terms of relevant skills and experience.

At all times you are going to be endeavouring to sound courteous and professional. In doing this, you are addressing the uppermost of the employers’ major concerns: your ability to do the job and your willingness to do the job.

However, you also need to address their other concerns: will you fit into the organisation and the team? If they are going to be managing you themselves, they will want to know this and also whether they like you.

In this article, we look at some of the ways in which you can convey your personality in your CV / resume, encouraging them to believe that they will like you before they have met you.

What the Employer Fears

There is always a degree of risk involved in appointing a new member of staff. While the employer may feel that you offer the relevant skills, they can have little notion of whether you are willing to work hard and apply those skills.

Whether you will do so or not comes down to your personality and individual attributes as an employee. Are you motivated and dedicated to your work?

Next, they will wonder what you are like as a team member. Will you accept instruction well, or will you react negatively to constructive criticism?

No employer wants to work with someone who is argumentative or who doesn’t listen. Most people would prefer to work with someone who can do their job and yet is good to have around as well.

Personal Attributes Reflect Your Personality

One of the problems with CVs / resumes is that people list what they consider to be their personal attributes, but make them sound meaningless and superficial. The result is that no personality comes across at all.

This is usually because they make a bold statement that is both vague and unsupported by any evidence. For instance, a candidate may say that they have good communication skills, yet be so unclear as to how they make use of them, that the employer concludes they can’t really communicate at all. There is nothing for the employer to get hold of when they read each sentence.

Your personality is going to be evident through your personal attributes at work. If you are unable to communicate details of your attributes, then your personality is not going to be conveyed through your CV / resume.

Achievements Make You Individual

The same holds true for achievements. Whether these are based on team or individual actions, they do much to mark you out as an individual. Whatever else is included, the achievements will attract the employer’s interest most.

Anybody can list duties and responsibilities, yet achievements talk about your contribution as an individual.

It is therefore important that you include personal attributes in your Achievements. The employer is more likely to be convinced about your personality if the connections between your attributes and results are clearly made in your CV / resume.

What you are doing is communicating your value as an individual candidate – achievements are what make your CV / resume stand out and mark you as an individual amongst other candidates with similar skills.

Communicate Your Values

All employers look for personal integrity in a candidate, because they wish to work with someone they can trust. While it is true that someone who is dishonest is unlikely to say so in their CV / resume, there are different ways in which you can convey your integrity.

The most obvious route is not to stretch the truth. If the employer thinks you are exaggerating at this stage, they will wonder about your general honesty. It is certainly true that you need to ‘blow your own trumpet’, as nobody else will be doing this for you, meaning there is no place for modesty. Yet you can express your strengths in a professional, matter-of-fact way, always backing up your claims with results.

One way to convey honesty is to include challenges that you overcame in your CV / resume. By acknowledging that not everything is always perfect in a job, you are showing that your strength is in being honest. Make sure you describe how you dealt with the challenge, however.

If applying for an Executive role, then you can state in your CV / resume what your management style is. Are you hands-on? Do you lead from the front? If you mention the fact, somewhere in your CV / resume, that you believe in listening to and learning from your staff, you are always going to score points in the integrity stakes.

Anticipate Their Questions

Anything in your CV / resume that raises a query in the employer’s mind runs the risk of inducing a negative answer, before they have even met you. If they have enough doubts, then you will never have a chance to meet them to set the record straight.

This is another reason for avoiding ambiguous or vague statements, or – worse – leaving gaps in your CV / resume. You do not have to go to great lengths in your CV / resume, but a word or two of explanation can take you a long way.

Avoid Clichés

If it isn’t already clear, we will state categorically that using clichés in your CV / resume will reduce the presence of your personality in your CV / resume. The more your CV / resume sounds as if you copied the bulk of its content from the Internet, the less individual it is going to be sounding to an employer.

Use Warmth in Your Language

You may wonder how it is possible to express yourself with warmth in a CV / resume. This does not mean that you should be chatty or too friendly. Generally speaking, flowing sentences make an easier read, and consequently feel ‘warmer’ than short, clipped sentences.

If you are not naturally a good writer, find somebody who is and ask them to iron out the wrinkles in your language.

Create a Picture of Yourself

What makes a good picture of a person? A rounded portrait creates a general impression, but has the greater effect if it includes significant details. There is usually something that captures your interest, too, as well as something that makes that person unique.

The more you can strive for this effect in the composition of your CV / resume, the more chance you have of landing an interview. If the employer can visualise you, they are more likely to picture you in the job.

Please let us know how you’ve injected your personality into your own CV / resume by leaving your comments below.

If you need further help with your CV / resume please check out our professional CV / resume service.

Kindest regards,

Paul Bradley.

Managing Director.
Bradley CVs Ltd.

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