Determining whether a person is right for a role within a business is about more than just whether they tick all the boxes in terms of education, training, and prior experience. Modern firms are increasingly aware of the implications of organizational culture as part of the recruitment process.
Obviously this is an aspect which can be assessed thoroughly when candidates make it through to the interview stage. But to what extent do resumes play a part in filtering candidates from the perspective of company culture, and what can you do about this as a prospective employee?

Understanding culture in a business context

To master the art of making your resume an effective tool for selling your suitability to would-be employers, you need to first appreciate what culture means to modern organizations.
The impetus behind businesses choosing to formulate a consistent, shared culture is that it allows them to reflect their values to the wider world, while also creating an agreed-upon framework for internal communication and collaboration.
Thus to be a ‘cultural fit’, you need to be able to gel with everything from the way that colleagues are expected to work alongside one another, to how they treat customers and clients.

Exploring industry-specific variations

Company culture can differ not just as a result of the management style of founders and decision-makers, but also because of the industry in which the business operates.
Some firms function with calm, collected professionalism. Others are all about innovation, thinking outside the box and reframing received wisdom.
Whatever the case, you can be certain that such varied takes on culture will influence whether or not your resume showcases you as a worthy candidate.
While you might win plaudits for a leftfield resume format in certain industries, others will be more amenable to applicants who take things in a more traditional direction. It is therefore helpful to check out the BeamJobs resume examples to see how much styles can diverge, and to select a template that matches the organization that’s in your sights.

Considering the content

Having the bones of a good resume in place is all well and good, but to further your endeavors of aligning your application to the culture of the company you want to work for, you need to think about the content.
You don’t need to come right out and say that you have researched the values of the business and that you adhere to them as well, but rather do your research and then base the talking points of this document around them indirectly.
Whether that means mentioning achievements which are to do with working as a team, or highlighting the things you have done as an individual in your professional past, the point is to be as bespoke as possible. Recruiters are smart people, and they can tell when candidates have done the reading and not just fired off yet another generic resume without giving company culture a second thought.

Don’t forget your cover letter

Another way to ensure you are seen as a good cultural fit for an employer is to double down on the things you pinpoint in your resume using your cover letter.
It’s fine to go over the same ground again, just as long as you do so concisely. Hit the main examples you want to give, and do it without extending the letter beyond a single page.
Last of all, don’t try and force yourself into an organization which has a culture that clashes with your own working preferences and personality. Even if the job looks good and the salary is attractive, you are better off finding a business that is accommodating to your values, as your chances of having a satisfying career in this setting are slim.

Final thoughts

It’s easy to get wrapped up in analyzing company culture, both from an applicant’s perspective and as a recruiter or decision-maker. What matters more is whether the businesses which make a big noise about things like inclusivity, equality and positivity actually back this up with their actions.
A resume can be an effective calling card, but the research that goes into writing it should also scrutinize the track record of companies you apply to so that you can make sure your expectations match the reality.


Claire Ward