When you think of the word “fit,” what comes to mind? Clothing? Trying on a new pair of jeans at the mall?
You’re thinking: Do these jeans give the right impression? Will they work well with the shirts I own? Will they make a nice outfit? Can I afford them?
Funny enough, these are many of the same thoughts running through a hiring manager’s mind when interviewing candidates. Is he/she making a good first impression? Will they work well with others in the company? Be a good team player? Can we afford them?
Fit is much more than simply matching up your experience to the job description’s qualifications, writes L. Michelle Tullier, Ph.D., in her book The Unofficial Guide to Landing a Job (Wiley Publishing, Inc.). Fit is the unique package that you bring to the table. It’s how you bring to life the words on your resume.
So do you “fit” the job you're applying for? Michelle explores three main areas in her book:
What kinds of value would you bring to the organization? Yes, there are different kinds of value:
- Content knowledge: The subjects you know about and overall expertise.
- Transferable skills: These are skill sets you’ve acquired from many different aspects of your life. You might have learned how to manage multiple projects while volunteering or how to make deadlines through a position unrelated to the one you’re applying for. These are skills that will serve you for life and can be used in many roles throughout your career.
- Personal qualities: The characteristics that you make you unique are valuable to employers. Examples include being detail-oriented or a leader. (Learn how to develop your leadership qualities, here.)
- Experience: And of course, employers look at your value in terms of past performance and achievements.
2. Fitting In
“In an employer’s ideal world, all positions would be filled through personal referral.”
Company culture is important in organizations, and hiring managers want to find a person who meshes with the organization’s values. They’re looking at:
- Personality: Will you work well with others in the company? Is it a good match?
- Image: In addition to physical appearance, employers are looking at nonverbal characteristics like whether you carry yourself with confidence.
- Values: Do you match the core values of a company? What drives you? Is it money? Competition? Helping people?
- Work Style: Everything from being a talkative person to how many hours you expect to work relates to meshing with a company culture.
Do you simply need a job or do you really want this job? This question is top-of-mind for employers during the interview process. They want to make sure you fully understand what you’ll be undertaking in the position, and that it’s something that you’re not only able to do but excited and passionate about.
Employers are making an investment in you and they want to be confident you’ll be there for the long haul. Things like your resume, follow-up and overall correspondence offer clues to your level of interest and commitment. (When does the interview actually begin? Read more, here. )
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