Passionate Buzzkill

Well that is just bad timing. If I was looking for a job last year all would be fine. The term passionate on my Resume would work. Yet for 2014 passionate made the list for the top 10 overused “buzzwords” on LinkedIn and thus it had to go.

That was the first piece of input from my Outplacement Consultant as we reviewed my Resume. “Everyone adds passionate to their Resume these days and you will not stand out from the pack if you use it,” she told me.  From there we turned my Resume upside down and sideways. All the feedback and advice was great and indeed, my Resume today is far better. Yet, my use of the word passionate is gone.

The term passionate was not even on the top 10 list here in the United States the previous year. Interestingly, passionate was the number one over-used term in Australia and New Zealand. Somehow, passion migrated here in the U.S. and now it is #3 behind motivated and creative.  Two more words to limit on my profile and Resume. Why? Because apparently we are all motivated, creative and yes, passionate. 

I pause to think this through. Should we not all add passionate to describe ourselves on our Resume?

Passionate: showing or caused by strong feeling or a strong belief.  Synonyms: ardent, emotional, heartfelt, eager, excited, spirited, and energetic.

If I was reviewing job candidates today and saw passionate on a Resume I would not be turned off. If I had then a chance to interview this passionate candidate, I would dive in and explore what this person means by passionate.

Give me examples of how passion plays out for you at work.
How will you seek to add passion to your position with my organization.

Imagine with me the variety of answers. Yes, the content of the answers provided is important. Yet, how the person talks about it is key. This is where you want to see the candidate sit a little taller, grow a smile and talk of people, place and producing something great.

Did you see it … the true passion or was it indeed an empty buzzword added to the Resume? You are on your way to hire a great person for your organization.

2 thoughts on “Passionate Buzzkill

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  1. I’m not a big fan of words like “passionate”, “motivated”, and “creative” on a resume. But I would not rule a job candidate out based on that alone.

    1. So says the Attorney 🙂 Indeed adjectives and adverbs on a Resume can act as empty filler. Yet it can be an opportunity to dive in and ask the candidate what they mean by using such a term.

      Thanks Ryan for the read and comment.
      – Michael

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