Job searching can feel very regimented: There are guidelines for resume and cover letter formats and once you make it to the interview stage, there’s an expectation that you’ll have the perfect answers to every interview question.
Amidst all these rules, it can be easy to forget that you are an individual, with a personality that can add something to a vibrant work environment. Your personality separates you from the crowd, and can make you a stronger, more attractive applicant.
Why personality is valuable in a job search
Mentioning personal details keeps an interview from becoming an interrogation. Fun details can give interviewers a feeling of your disposition and they’ll get a peek into your day-to-day self. Direct supervisors and co-workers are eager to get a feeling for what various applicants might be like at work, as well as at important meetings or even on business trips. Plus, dropping personal details here and there may show how skills you have outside of work could transfer to your job.
How to appropriately show your personality
If your resume some room, include a section for personal interests. Ideally, any details you share in this section should include significant achievements or some degree of professional relevance. For instance, if you want to mention that you’re a member of an organization like 4-H, try to include any responsibilities you might have, such as bookkeeping or event planning for a charity or your child’s travel hockey team.
While you’re in the interview, the information you share should feel natural. For instance, if the topic of work ethic comes up and you regularly train for marathons, go ahead and mention that. Just be sure that you can also talk about your work ethic in a professional setting. It’s very important to be ethical when sharing personal details: Don’t tell people you run marathons when you’ve never even run a 5k. The consequences of being found out aren’t worth the risk.
Don’t use personal details as the crux of your interview performance. They should be used to facilitate a natural conversation, first and foremost. While personal details can be what push you past the competition, remember the skills you have to do the job well are what really matters.
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