There’s nothing that can brighten a hiring manager’s day more than a passionate candidate. A candidate that’s in love with what they do and with the industry they want to join. It’s because being passionate isn’t only about knowing, but also about feeling. Passionate candidates are more likely to stay with the company for longer, they will try harder, they will get excited easier, they will be willing to risk more, and think positively about the future. All these are the traits every company dreams for their employees to have.
It’s significantly easier to tell your potential employer how passionate you are at an interview. But to get to that stage you first need to get invited. And that’s the harder part. I want to share 5 ways and sections you can use to show you’re passionate on your resume when applying for your next new job.
1) Side projects & volunteering
Side projects or volunteering positions show so many things to potential employers. One of them is the fact that you do something outside of your job, which means you must be passionate about it (and that you’re not lazy). It also shows that you like to learn and improve in different areas. If you can connect at least one of your passions to your side project – perfect!
In your resume, simply name the section “Side Projects” or “Volunteering” and add bullet points describing what you do. The trick here is to quantify your results and achievements. While it’s great to have side projects, it’s even better to explain what impact you made in each, what your role was, what are the things that wouldn’t happen without you being there. For example, you increased ROI by 15% in one year, or you created an Instagram account and reached 1000 followers within 2 months with no budget.
The Summary section sits at the top of the first page of your resume. Often it’s the only thing hiring managers to read. They’re looking for a quick answer to “Is this candidate suitable?”, they’re looking for keywords and most important passions. If you manage to outline those, you’re in the game.
Talking to my friends and colleagues it seems like this section is something we struggle a lot with. It’s because it needs to be short, concise, and straight to the point. You need to say a lot in just a few sentences. To help you out, I drafted some examples. Both of them show the balance of professional experience, specifics, and passion:
Experienced change management professional with a successful track record of delivering high-profile, complex change programs in IT infrastructure. Vast practical knowledge of how to drive engagement and implement change that meets best practice goals and maximizes ROI. Areas of expertise and passions include strategy, business transformation, governance, process, and organizational design, program, and project management.
I’m a creator, a master collaborator able to unify concepts and operationalize teams so they work together seamlessly. Over the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some great projects with lasting impact. I love bringing big ideas to life while maintaining focus, strategic orientation, and the ability to lead and inspire others.
3) Life philosophy
Do you have a quote that has been a source of inspiration for you, reflects your work style, or has been a leading principle in your life? Then it’s a good idea to share it on your resume.
A simple quote can speak volumes about you as a person and your attitude to work and life itself. If you use a quote from someone well-known in your industry, it signals that you’re aware of the experts, you’re most likely following them and learning from them. It’s a great section to add to your resume, especially if you decide to try a one-page resume out.
4) Favorite books
“Favorite books” is a section we’re not used to seeing on a resume. But I believe it’s a great way to show that you’re passionate. For example, if you’re applying for a marketing job, share books that are related to market research or a marketing strategy (and make sure you read them!) You can do this for any industry out there.
Additionally, this section can help you show that you’re a culture fit. Before applying to your dream job you surely did extensive research on the staff members of the company. Did any of them share they like reading a certain type of book? If it appears you both like the same ones, it’s a great opportunity to make yourself more relatable.
The last benefit of this section is that it can be more visually appealing. If a recruiter scrolls down the list of resumes and stumbles upon something colorful or just different, there’s a higher chance they’ll read further.
5) My time
This section is also something we’re not used to seeing on resumes. It can look similar to the one used for a mock resume for Marissa Mayer on Business Insider. It helps you show what you do in a day and allows you to further demonstrate your passion.
There are a lot of great examples I’ve seen, here’s one of them (it’s for a Content Marketing position):
- Reading and writing
- Practising Yoga
- Attending events & workshops
- Spending time with family & friends
- Travelling & dreaming
In just a few words it was clear to me that this person spends a lot of time thinking about content, it’s their real passion. That’s why they were invited for an interview.
The fact that this section is more visually appealing can play an important role in your job search too. Just as the Favorite Books section, it stands out, it draws the reader’s attention which is exactly what you should be looking for.
It’s your turn now
I know for a fact that the perception of sharing your passions through a simple “Passions/Hobbies” section has a bad reputation. People think they’ll look childish if they share them on their resume. Still, showing that you’re passionate about the future job or the industry is one of the most important things companies are looking for.
Often, they choose candidates that are passionate with less work experience over the experienced ones with no more life in them. And while there are loads of successful resume examples, I hope I gave you enough of directions and inspiration for when you’re in need of a resume.
Do you have any experience with showing your passions on a resume? Let me know in the comments.