How do you show personality in your CV and cover letter?

Kala ManagementShowing personality in a job application can make you stand out from your competitors if done correctly. If done incorrectly, it can make you stand out for the wrong reasons. Primarily a CV needs to showcase your qualifications, achievements, skills and experience. The cover letter highlights the link between these and the role/company in which you are applying and your interest in the role. The following article offers some guidance to help you. It is not suggested you add all of the elements listed below as when injecting personality, it needs to be subtle and well placed. It is best to reserve any major political or religious views from your job applications as these can impact negatively. Anything controversial has no place in a CV unless the role requires it.

High impact personality addition ideas:

Core competencies:

Throughout the CV and cover letter show behaviours that describe how you did the tasks, your modus operandi and your value system. This can give a prospective employer an insight on how you do the job and how you will be a good fit for the role. It adds another dimension to just listing basic tasks.


After each of your 3 most recent roles, you could show how you stood out from the crowd by writing about some of your core achievements. Show the value you added to the company. Focus on the input you personally gave to accomplish this so a prospective employer can buy in to how they can benefit from your many skills.

Hobbies and interests:

Hobbies and interests are an excellent opportunity to show that you are not just a one dimensional worker. They can also highlight skills that may not be possible to show in your current role but would be valued in the role in which you are applied. For example, management or leadership skills in a club of society.

Sports can show you are fit and healthy and a team player. They can also show a competitive nature – all of these qualities are sought after by employers.

Voluntary/Charity work:

Charity work can show how you go the extra mile and that you are passionate about others interests and not just your own. They can show good networking skills and that you are active in your community. They also suggest good time management, as you make time to do extra curricular activities. A lot of charity work involves event management and fund raising. These are valuable and transferrable skills.

Keep social media sites clean while you are job hunting – but what does this mean in practice?Formatting: Coloured paper – headings.

You can stand out at a glance with uplifting and eye catching formatting of your CV. It also shows strong IT and presentation skills. This can be as simple as having coloured headings and/or font to match the logo of the prospective employer. If you are sending in a print copy, then a soft coloured paper or mildly textured paper can be a nice touch.

As you make these additions, always keep in mind what the new employer looking for and target those key areas. Look up the company’s values and strategic objectives- how can you fit into these – sell that back within your application.

I look forward to reading all your interesting CV’s!

Written by Gillian Knight, MD of Kala Management Solutions We offer consultancy services on all aspects HR including Recruitment and Selection. For further information on our services please mail or go to for more details or call 01 619 02 82.    Send article as PDF   

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