Cultural managements

How important are resumes when assessing a candidate’s cultural fit?

Determining whether someone is suitable for a position with a company is more than just whether they tick all the boxes in terms of education, training, and previous experience. Modern companies are increasingly aware of the implications of organizational culture as part of the recruitment process.

This is obviously something that can be thoroughly assessed when candidates reach the interview stage. But how much of a role do resumes play in filtering candidates from a corporate culture perspective, and what can you do about it as a potential employee?

Understand culture in a business context

To master the art of making your resume an effective tool for selling your aptitude to potential employers, you must first appreciate what culture means to modern organizations.

The impetus behind companies choosing to formulate a cohesive and shared culture is that it allows them to reflect their values ​​around the world, while creating an agreed upon framework for internal communication and collaboration.

So to be “culturally appropriate” you need to be able to adapt to everything from how co-workers are expected to work alongside each other, to how they treat clients and customers.

Explore industry-specific variations

Company culture may differ not only due to the management style of the founders and decision makers, but also due to the industry in which the company operates.

Some companies operate with a calm, collected professionalism. Others focus on innovation, thinking outside the box, and reframing received ideas.

Either way, you can be sure that such varied views of culture will determine whether or not your resume presents you as a worthy candidate.

While you can win plaudits for a left-leaning resume format in some industries, others will be more receptive to candidates who take things in a more traditional direction. So it’s worth looking at the BeamJobs CV examples to see how styles might diverge and to select a template that matches the organization you’re targeting.

Considering the content

Having the elements of a good resume in place is great, but to continue your efforts to align your application with the culture of the company you want to work for, you need to think about content.

You don’t need to say up front that you have studied the company’s values ​​and that you also adhere to them, but rather do your research and indirectly base the discussion points of this document around them.

Whether it’s mentioning teamwork-related accomplishments or highlighting what you’ve done as an individual in your professional past, it’s about being as personalized as possible. Recruiters are smart people, and they can tell when candidates have done the reading and not just pulled another generic resume without giving the company culture a second thought.

Don’t forget your cover letter

Another way to make sure you’re considered a good cultural candidate for an employer is to double down on what you identify on your resume using your cover letter.

It’s fine to return to the same ground, as long as you do it concisely. Hit the main examples you want to give, and do so without extending the letter beyond a single page.

Finally, don’t try to impose yourself in an organization whose culture is at odds with your professional preferences and your personality. Even if the job looks good and the pay is attractive, you’d better find a company that aligns with your values, because your chances of having a satisfying career in that environment are slim.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get carried away when analyzing company culture, both from the perspective of the candidate and as a recruiter or decision maker. What matters most is whether the companies that make a big noise about things like inclusivity, equality, and positivity actually support him in their actions.

A resume can be an effective business card, but the research needed to write it should also examine the track records of the companies you’re applying to so you can make sure your expectations match reality.