Originally published here.
A resume client recently sent materials to update his resume. Included was his StrengthsFinder 2.0 profile, which was completed in his previous corporate role.
StrengthsFinder 2.0 is “The #1 Wall Street Journal and #1 BusinessWeek bestseller that introduced the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment with features that include a personalized Strengths Insight Report, an Action-Planning Guide, and a web-based Strengths Community.”
I can understand why the client sent me this information. I ask them to send any documentation that highlights their skills, achievements, experience, background and strengths. But it got me thinking, would adding one’s StrengthsFinder results to a resume do more harm than good? The reason is, if I added 5 specific characteristics as identified in StrengthsFinder, it may actually hurt the job seeker. Why? The recruiter may read their traits/skills and stereotype them before they even get to interview them. They may view those results and think, “maybe this person wouldn’t fit into our corporate culture?” Or, “this person seems to be the exact opposite personality type of what we are looking for.”
Missi McKown, a Recruiter at CorTalent, a Minnetonka, MN-based recruiting and human resources company, agrees.
“When I see the StrengthsFinder top 5 traits on a resume, I cringe a little,” says McKown. “While I would hope that a salesperson I am looking to find would have the qualities of “Winning Others Over” or “WOO” I don’t really want to see it spelled out on the resume. Maybe it’s just me, but it somehow feels disingenuous. I know that sounds weird because this trait has been revealed in a test, but I’d rather discover that in my own conversations with a candidate, rather than having it emblazoned on a resume with five bullet points.”
McKown says that if a candidate has a solid understanding of the job they are applying for and knows that your skills/traits align, and that the company you are applying for values the Strengths Finder 2.0, listing these traits on your resume could backfire in ruling you out as a candidate if the person reading your resume doesn’t fully understand Strengths Finder 2.0 or if they misinterpret your traits/skills, ultimately doing more harm than good.
Bottom line: Include your strengths, but not your StrengthsFinder results on your resume.