OK. I admit it. I used to think "passionate" was a good CV or resume word. It conveys more than "hard-working" or "diligent" and adds "caring" and emotion. If you're passionate about something, you're fully absorbed, engaged and enthusiastic. I can remember when, if I saw it on somebody's CV, it added value.

But oh, how the lustre is scrubbed off by over-use...

For me, it's the most overused CV word for 2013. Everybody seems "passionate" about their customers, about their service and about their colleagues. I've even come across one candidate who's "passionate" about Human Resources! Now that's really testing credibility!

Well sorry, it's all cobblers. It over-used. (I'm afraid too many candidates and recruiters are lazy with their language). It's over-used by candidates, recruiters, CV/resume writers and copy writers.

Congratulations to the first person who used it. You were original then. Whoever you are, wear your crown with pride, but the rest of you, you're showing a distinct lack of imagination. You've seen it somewhere, and though "Ooh. I should use that. That will mark me out as different...."

It doesn't. It displays a lack of imagination. If you say you're "passionate" on your CV I no longer believe you. Actually, it's worse than that. You're incapable of original thought. Subtle tones pass you by. You're one of the herd.

And I feel passionate about that...


(Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/)

Views: 604

Comment by Matt Charney on December 19, 2013 at 9:59am

Passionate is OK in my book (compared to other noxious, amorphous terms we like to use to describe our professional selves) - if you're really passionate, then you're going to say so.  It's the fact that everyone uses the word "innovative" that kills me - were that one true, the word wouldn't be inappropriately co-opted in the first place.  But either way, nice article - and I'm passionate about good content like this, so shoot me for saying so :)

Comment by Martin Ellis on December 19, 2013 at 10:07am

Matt. You're right about "innovative" - especially where somebody says "Passionately innovative"! I've seen it. Honest.

Comment by Matt Charney on December 19, 2013 at 10:12am

"Passionately innovative" - I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. That's truly terrible.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 19, 2013 at 1:20pm

Thanks, Martin. IMHO, if you ARE passionate you show it, and if you aren't you SAY it.

A  "passionate" employee :

"Someone who is willing to put in unlimited time and effort doing whatever we tell them to do until we have no more use for them and toss them out on their passionate (r)ears."

Me: I'm "old school. I don't look for "passionate" candidates. I look for: "self-starting, hard driving, disruptive and engaged team players who go for the brass ring and not the low-hanging fruit. They boil their own ocean, eat their own dog food, but don't get lost in the weeds. They have wills of iron, nerves of steel, but not feet of clay, and they do not build houses of cards on foundations of sand."



Comment by Valentino Martinez on December 19, 2013 at 3:10pm

I've always been a fanatically passionate recruiter.... Is there any other way to be as a recruiter?

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 19, 2013 at 3:35pm

@ Tino: I think there is.

I'm the "Last of the W**s****** ****e*******s".

I've seen it all, I've done it all, and I know it's all *u****i*.

If you don't know who I am — then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.




Comment by Valentino Martinez on December 19, 2013 at 7:05pm


For me -- "passion" can never ever be overused by a job candidate.  If they're dripping with passion and have the right qualifications -- we need to talk. 

The lack of passion, in word or deed, should be the concern not the use of the word in a resume to describe what one feels and can demonstrate. 

I look for moxie in candidates, particularly in written form -- because now they have to describe to me what motivates their passion and what work related results have come from their passion. 

No passion...no discussion.

Keith, YOWZA?

Comment by Martin Ellis on December 19, 2013 at 7:47pm

Passion is great. But not when it's just a word copied from others. Most candidates can't sustain the claim, and those that do are bright enough to use a brighter and more original language.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 20, 2013 at 2:42pm

Thanks, Tino. I have no reason to believe that a willingness to openly display strong emotion is a particularly strong  asset in *most jobs. well they've done it and not how much they love what they do or how much they want the job.

Happy Holidays,

Keith "Is 'Moxie' Like 'Spunk'?" Halperin 

*And rather scarce among IT folks and other engineers/techs/scientists, accountants, etc..

Comment by Valentino Martinez on December 24, 2013 at 11:02pm

We recruiters, at least some of us, love it when passion and purpose are closely bonding within the job candidates we meet and work with relative to career interests and related discussions.



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