Business Magazine

How To Show An Employer That You Are Well Rounded

Posted on the 26 January 2012 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

Today’s post is written by Alex S., a freelance writer that has a passion for the business world and helping you find ways to be better in your career.

With the economy still stagnant and unemployment still high, businesses and employers have the ability to be more selective when it comes to filling a given position. Not only do they seek someone with the proper experience and credentials, but they also want an engaging, dedicated, and motivated individual who will add positively to the office culture. In short, they want someone is who both highly talented and undeniably well-rounded.

If you fit this description, then, you theoretically stand a better chance in today’s hiring process. But there’s just one problem: the concept of “well-roundedness” is an abstract one, making it difficult to display on a resume or in an interview. You can’t simply stand up during your interview, put on your best business speaker voice, and tell the interviewer that you are a highly balanced individual. Moreover, you don’t want your attempt at showing your life balance to come across instead as evidence that you lack career direction. What, then, can you do? How can you positively display these attributes on your resume and in your interview? It’s not always an easy task. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Diversify Your Resume. The central portions of your resume (educational background and work experience) should largely brag about your credentials for a given job or industry. Outside of the education and work experience areas you have more opportunities to display your diverse interests and strengths. It is increasingly appropriate these days to include an “Activities” or “Personal” section on which you can include sports you play, places you volunteer, honors you’ve won, or any personal interest of your choosing. Take advantage of this by adding such diversification so that you can be unique and stand out from the crowd.
  • Convey A Well-Rounded Attitude in The Interview. Your resume can show some of your passions and activities that make you a well-rounded person. But, interviewers are usually more concerned with those elements of one’s life balance that can positively benefit a workplace – elements such as having a combination of fun and diligence, work ethic and sociability, an eye for details and a positive attitude. It is during the interview that you can convey these less concrete components of your diverse nature. There are several ways to do this. One is to start the interview by foremost emphasizing your dedication to the work you seek to do. At the same time, however, use proper interview techniques to come across as engaged and relatable. As the interview progresses, begin referencing non-work activities when asked more personal questions (greatest challenges, proudest moment, example of leadership, etc.). Make sure to diversify the influences you reference, in doing so helping you tie back to the diversification evident on your resume.
  • Ask Varied Questions. After an interview is complete, the interviewer will often turn the tables and ask if there are any questions you’d like to ask. A well-prepared applicant will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the company and convey the depth of their interest in the process. This is also a good time to come off as balanced and well-rounded. Rather than simply asking questions about your narrow line of work, ask more general questions about the company as a whole, its history, and even the background of your interviewer. These broader questions can illuminate your sociability and curiosity, traits both of which can contribute to the perception of balance in an individual.
  • Use Key Words in The Cover Letter. Most employers would probably agree that the cover letter should be a concise and focus piece of writing. It should clearly convey your interest, your personal reasons for wanting the job, and the talents you can bring to the company. A long discussion of your “well-rounded background” would be appropriate here. However, briefly using key words and phrases — such as “my diverse background” or “appeals to my varied interests in…” — can hint at the balance you bring without corrupting the true goals of the cover letter.

Hopefully, these tips can help you better present yourself as a well-balanced applicant to employers. As a young professional, you probably live a very balanced life, but this is not going to help you unless an employer can appreciate it.

How do you show that you are well rounded during an interview?

Photo Credit (left image): Jen Mueller


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