Designing Your Resume for Culture Fit

Designing Your Resume for Culture Fit

In Leadership Resources by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

I have spoken to hundreds of CEOs and hiring managers over my career–both as a recruiter and as a podcaster–and it’s clear that a shift has arrived in what both are looking for when they hire someone new for their team. For job seekers, this means designing your resume for culture fit. 

It’s no longer enough for potential candidates to possess the technical skills that are needed for the job–now a culture fit is a must, too. In some cases, aligning with a company’s culture is actually more important and the company will instead choose candidates who they believe will fit the role and train them should there be gaps in their knowledge.


Because good leaders know that the magic isn’t in the skills of their team, but in how well their team works together. Can they collaborate? Are they comfortable sharing new ideas? Do they all communicate similarly, or at least understand one another? Does everyone have the same values, and do those values align with the company’s? It doesn’t matter if you have the brightest minds all together in a room if they can’t communicate or be a team player, or aren’t good to be around.

These might feel like soft, touchy-feely sort of concepts because so much of the job search process is feels focused on resumes and job requirements, but job seekers can build these concepts into their resumes the same way that job posters can add notes about culture to the job description.

So, if you’re looking for a job, how do you hit on these culture notes in your resume?

First of all, focus on the how and the why of each of your achievements. Did you lead a collaborative team? Was that 57% increase in sales due to an adaptation in your methods? How did you help your team grow? What achievements are you proud of that maybe don’t end up on a spreadsheet? What challenges did you overcome, and what was the result?

Then, focus on personal growth. How are you investing in your own skills and leadership? How have you grown since the start of your career? What leadership lessons did you take away from your last position?

And then: what makes you you? What do you love? Can you talk deeply about it? It doesn’t matter what it is–good leaders want to know that you have interests outside of work, whether that’s gardening or rec soccer or reading memoirs. They want to know who you are, because ultimately if you’re being genuine, that’s who you’ll bring to work.

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