The words “cultural fit” have had a checkered past, sometimes being used to bar groups of people (women, minorities, anyone not Ivy League educated, anyone of a certain age). At its best, cultural fit refers to a company’s values and the way a job applicant matches up with those values. In fact, a JobVite survey found that 60% of recruiters look for cultural fit on a resume, right after experience.
How can you figure out the culture of a company? Look for the words a company uses, especially the adjectives, to describe itself. Often, those words will appear on the website in a mission or values statement. Sometimes job descriptions will include words like “transparency” or “customer-centric.” Articles in the company newsletter or profiles on LinkedIn may reveal what the company finds valuable in long-term employees and managers. Sometimes company photos posted on social media will offer the biggest clue to the culture.
What can you do to make yourself a better cultural fit? When you finish reading about the company, you should know if you are a cultural fit in the best sense—you volunteer in the community, and the company believes in volunteering; you like to work independently, and the company values independence; you want continuing education, and the company has a strong training program. Make sure that any of your own social media posts and photographs put you in a positive light.
How can you write your resume for cultural fit? Try to use the company’s cultural keywords, like volunteer, lifetime learner, creative thinker, and so on, appropriately—and honestly—in your resume. Search in your career for examples that illustrate those qualities: when you volunteered for a community project or met with community leaders, when you explored a new country or got certification in a new subject, or when you innovated or recommended a change—whatever that quality is.
How do you know when you’ve found a cultural fit? You will want to look for companies that come close to having the same values that you do. However, what you discover during your job search and interview may be more revealing than anything the company writes about itself. If you are told you are a candidate and then are ignored for weeks, that says something about the company culture. If you go for the interview and everyone you meet is friendly and outgoing, that says something about the company culture.
Cultural fit is an elusive quality, but it may make the difference between loving and hating a job. It is worth taking a look at your resume to see if it projects cultural values that you hold dear, whether that’s cooperation or independence, a fun atmosphere or a clear organizational structure, a commitment to meeting quotas or a commitment to giving back.
At Robin’s Resumes®, we try to make every word in a resume count. Let us help you figure out your cultural fit.