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Resume Rescue: Should You Incorporate Behavioral Traits on a Resume?


One of the first things that hiring managers look at on a resume is the skill set you offer and what you bring to the table. They assess your core competencies and see if they are a good fit for their organization as well as the job you are applying to. You have 10-15 seconds to showcase your personal brand and highlight your unique skill set that distinguishes you from other candidates. The big question is whether or not behavioral traits fit into your resume and comprise your personal brand.


What Makes You Stand Out From the Crowd?


When you are applying to a job, you have to keep in mind that the volume of applicants for each job is quite high. You are only given one opportunity to present a company with a resume that clearly shows why you are the candidate they have been searching for. By keeping this in mind, you have to evaluate what makes you unique and what skills you offer that fit with the requirements for a job. Jobs require a specialized skill set and each job is different. Your goal from a resume perspective is to determine what skills you offer and how you want to highlight those skills on your resume. When you review a job posting, they clearly identify what skills and core competencies they require in a candidate that would be hired for that position. An accounting job would focus on things like financial reporting or financial analysis. Marketing jobs would focus on things like collateral development or social media strategy. Teaching jobs would focus on things like classroom management or curriculum design/implementation. When you review job postings, it becomes clear rather quickly what skills you must possess to land that job.


Do Behavioral Traits Belong on Your Resume?


Once you look more closely at the job postings, you will see a commonality in all of them. They require tangible work-related skills in the field. Most of the time, you will not find any behavioral trait requirements. The reason you will not see any behavioral trait requirements is that they carry absolutely no weight with hiring managers. In order to do an accounting job effectively, you would have to know how to prepare and interpret financial statements. Just because you might have great analytical skills or be a superior communicator, that does not mean you can adequately prepare a financial statement or interpret its results. Behavioral traits would be conveyed during interviews in person. It would give you the opportunity to show a hiring manager that you can prepare financial statements, but you also fit into a team environment with your excellent communication skills. A resume is your opportunity to establish your personal brand while bringing out unique skills you offer. It does not make sense to take up valuable real estate on your resume to focus on your ability to be detail-oriented or to show your stellar interpersonal skills. In a competitive job market, it makes more sense to focus on knowledge you have, core competencies you excel in, accomplishments you achieved, and all of the unique qualifications that make you a good fit for the job.


Once you evaluate a job and assess its requirements, it will be the first step in helping you to determine what should be included on your resume. When you are engaged in the resume writing process, focus on unique skills and core competencies that you bring to the table. Do not focus on any behavioral traits because they will not distinguish you from another person. Everyone thinks they are a great communicator, have awesome interpersonal skills, and can focus on the details like no one else! But in reality, most jobseekers reference the same behavioral traits as everyone else. Use this opportunity to focus on differentiating factors in your resume and save the behavioral traits to wow them in your next interview.



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