Half of a recruiter’s job is finding employees with the right skills. The other half is making sure they have the personality to match. So how do you express your personality in a job search? Follow our expert advice to make sure your application stays in the recruiter’s mind for all the right reasons.
Start with a good cover letter
Whilst your CV is generally about providing a concise time line of your experience and achievements, your cover letter is where you get a chance to show your enthusiasm, suitability and a view of who you are as a person. Some industries are very creative and will therefore want to see as much personality from candidates as possible. Whilst some other industries prefer something a little more conventional. It’s sometimes thought of as a high-risk (but high-reward) strategy to create a cover letter that doesn’t immediately appear traditionally professional however you don’t want your application to be forgettable. The trick is to gauge from the ethos and culture of the company how much personality they want to see, before striking an appropriate balance. If you need help with your cover letter, our team can help.
Strike the right tone
What should you include that will help you stand out from the competition, without being rude, inappropriate or unprofessional? Although it’s fair to say that most people don’t particularly like having to write applications and cover letters, don’t assume that hiring managers dislike reading them! Although it’s tempting to break the ice with humour, it won’t be well received if the first thing you write is a suggestion that having to write the application has been a complete chore. Remember that showing personality is not the same as being sarcastic, so be respectful and tactful.
What to say
Think of your application as a story that needs to engage the reader – in this case, a potential employer. Recruiters will read hundreds of applications and cover letters, so think about what it is unique about you that couldn’t possibly be replicated.
Candidates with interesting stories or accomplishments, interests or exciting hobbies will grab the attention of an employer. Remember that ultimately your cover letter is trying to sell you in the best possible light, so any lines you include need to have a purpose. Let’s say that one of your biggest achievements is running a marathon, or completing a sky dive. Both are great examples of what sort of thing you’re interested in, but more than that, suggest someone who is bold, dedicated and not afraid of a challenge.
Think about what you would say about yourself if you were meeting someone new. Then cut out anything you wouldn’t actually say in person to a new contact.
Don’t completely abandon the rules…
It’s tempting to get carried away when trying to inject personality into a job application, but never forget your audience. As we’ve already highlighted, it’s important to keep in mind that you are aiming to strike a balance between expressing your personality and remaining professional. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that you can forget all other rules about searching for jobs. Applications must always show attention to detail, a solid structure and tailored information that’s relevant to the role. It won’t matter if your personality shines from the page if your application is littered with spelling errors.
Once you have an interview
If you’ve made it to an interview, the prospective employer has evidently looked at what you can offer and on paper, decided that you fit the bill. Now is your chance to really prove that, not only do you have the right skills and experience, but you also have the character to suit the company’s culture.
As with your cover letter and application, you still need to strike a balance between being personable and over the top. To help you stay calm and collected, make sure that you feel fully prepared so that you can focus on showcasing your personality rather than how nervous you are. Most employers will want to see a sense of humour and whilst this doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to deliver a comedy sketch, it’s best not to appear too severe throughout the interview. If it’s appropriate, anecdotes, light-hearted comments and the ability to poke fun at yourself are generally safe ways to bring a little personality into the room. Finally, don’t forget to smile!
Ready to start applying and putting yourself out there to find your dream job? Browse our current job listings now and get your application in. If you need any help or would like to discuss your options, please drop us a note and someone will be in touch shortly.