How you write your resume is just as important as what you put in it.
I’ve written a few posts on the impact your personality type has on how you interview for jobs and the stress that can come with that, and now I’d like to discuss how you can leverage personality types to draft a resume that appeals to the various kinds of hiring managers that might be reading it.
You can find all kinds of resume writing tips on the internet. Some are really good — and some, not so much. What I’m hoping to share with you now is an approach that you can use to overlay any of those good tips. This approach focuses on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) preference pair of sensing vs. intuition (S/N), which is concerned with how we take in and present information. This is a good starting place to think about as you begin to put your resume together or tweak the resume you already have.
Sensing vs. Intuition (S/N): The Kinds of Information We Like and Trust
People who prefer sensing (S) usually take in and present information in a sequential, step-by-step way. This means that when they read something like a resume, they prefer to get specific facts and concrete evidence about your qualifications. They likely want precise dates and locations for where and when you did what you say you did. They also want that information presented in chronological order — no skipping back and forth, please. Get to the point by avoiding long sentences. Too much narrative and not enough specifics could be a turn off.
People with this preference represent the majority of the general population. Current published data states 73 percent of us prefer sensing! If you also prefer sensing, your resume may already look like what I’m suggesting. If you do not prefer sensing, your resume might need more brevity.
Tip: Bullets points instead of long paragraphs will help make your qualifications stand out for someone who has a sensing preference.
People who prefer intuition (N) usually take in and present information in a big-picture way. This means that when they read something like a resume, they prefer to get a general overview of your qualifications first. They will likely be overwhelmed if your resume contains too many facts and figures, so pique their interest by starting with an overarching message about why you are qualified for the job. Too many details may turn them off from reading more.
Tip: Remember, it’s the cover letter that should include the big-picture summary paragraphs about why you are the right person for the job. Three or four sentences totaling about 50 words in 2-3 paragraphs should be just about right.
While people with this preference represent the minority in the general population (only 27 percent), they still could be the people reading your resume. If you prefer intuition, your resume may already follow the approach outlined above. If you do not prefer intuition, you can probably free up some space on your resume to appeal to that particular audience. Think about how you could cut back just a bit on the details so you can include that overarching impactful message.
Covering All of Your Bases
It’s important to note I am not suggesting you include sensing items over intuition items or vice versa. Instead, make sure your resume includes items for both sensing and intuition to cover your bases. Start your resume with a single sentence stating an overarching objective to appeal to intuition preference, and follow that with clear, concise bullet points proving why you are the perfect candidate to appear to sensing preference. Give dates, facts, and evidence, and avoid filler words.
Michael Segovia is the lead trainer for CPP, Inc.’s MBTI Certification Programs. He recently presented a TED talk reflecting on how type theory has informed his understanding of his own life story.