There’s very little doubt in the world of work that the word “culture” is the hot trend of the year. Everyone seems to be talking about it, from HR reps to career advisers to recruiters to CEOs to job candidates.
Therefore, without question, as we move into the era of promotions, this issue of culture and “cultural fit” is going to play a large part.
And with it is going to come lots of discussion about your “soft skills”…you know, how well you play with others, how you are perceived by your staff and peers, how much of a team player you are.
In other words, your personality is going to come under the microscope, and all those results and achievements you worked hard for will be weighed against it.
(Therefore, in a social media era that screams for authenticity, we are going to make sure we never get it. But I digress…)
In other posts, I have questioned and written about some of the things that come with this quest for the right “culture”. I have waxed philosophical about perception versus reality, I have asked just how much culture should matter in the workplace, and I have discussed the age of systems thinking in the workplace. In each case, I have received one common response: “It’s ALL about culture! Perception is reality!”
In the meantime, I’ve read blog post after blog post telling me that techies better get their soft skills in order.
So, in this post, rather than debate the finer points, I want to lay out some steps you can take in addressing the culture issue during the promotion vetting process:
- Don’t forget soft skills on the resume. All too often those in technical careers want to focus on their skill sets and experience because to them those are what’s needed to accomplish the goal. They tend to overlook the soft skills on the resume (partly because, for a time, it was considered redundant to include them). Therefore, it is wise to think of relevant ways to highlight them in the text of the resume. In other words, don’t just say you are a hard worker, demonstrate that through the resume.
- Build a Testimonial page. Businesses do this to great effect, but individuals tend to be more uncomfortable with it; however, when the perceptions of those around you weigh more heavily than (or as heavily as) your measurable accomplishments, you need to find a way to showcase the feedback you’ve received from clients, colleagues, management, and staff. A testimonials page can help you do that. Hopefully, you have been keeping some of those kudos e-mails you’ve received because these testimonies about you are considered references, and in today’s world of work, being “referable” is highly sought after.
- Spin it positive. For those who are more introverted or used to looking at problems all day, and coming up with solutions, positivity isn’t necessarily a concern; directness is. But HR and management crave positivity, not necessarily straightforwardness. In other words, the parade is always sunny, so be careful not to rain on it (see what I mean about authenticity?)…So answer truthfully, but make sure to offer a positive outcome to each response.
No matter where you stand on the culture discussion….specifically, what exactly is a “good” cultural fit…there is no question that today’s professionals are being asked to address it, especially when it comes to promotions.