Purpose, Passion, and Your Personal Brand: Rarely Mentioned Keys to a Successful Resume
I was reading an article on LinkedIn today that answers the question why people like Mark Zuckerberg (the highest-paid CEO—who makes BILLIONS of dollars, by the way) don’t quit their jobs. Here’s the link to the article—but I’ll save you the trouble of reading the full text, and tell you it all comes down to purpose and passion. Zuckerberg—and many others—has a mission that he won’t see fulfilled in his lifetime, and this purpose drives him to keep working away at it. Money ceases to be the greatest motivation—or it simply never was—and instead, the purpose and fulfillment from what these successful executives do every day is what drives them.
What does this have to do with writing a successful resume, and with your career?
Well, determining your purpose and effectively conveying your passion can help you write a successful professional resume that can start you on the path to a fulfilling career. Without an understanding of your purpose, it becomes difficult to express just why you care about what you do and why you’re good at it—two important hallmarks of a successful resume. A business wants to see your skills, but they also want to know that you care about their long-term success and want to contribute to it.
Why Do You Work?
Have you thought about your purpose for going to work every day? Do you work every day just to collect a paycheck, or do you have a larger purpose?
You might be thinking, why would I work if not for a paycheck? And that’s perfectly reasonable. But let me share my story to help get you thinking about your professional purpose.
When I started Great Resumes Fast my desire was to run a successful business, but also to be a resume writer who could use my experience in HR as a hiring manager to help people create really great resumes. I saw a need—so many people that had no clue what their resumes should communicate, look like, or include. It was holding them back in their job search and preventing them from landing their dream careers. And I just wanted to help change that. I knew I could use my HR experience to write a resume an employer would want to read—and then these really awesome people (that would be YOU) would get that wonderful career they really wanted. My purpose is to help others on their journey to fulfilling their purpose by creating resumes that win interviews. And doing so isn’t exactly a need that goes away…there are millions of job seekers—and very few people who know how to write an interview-winning resume.
Because my business was started with a purpose in mind, one of the key elements that make what we do so successful is helping you convey your purpose on your resume. We create personal brand-driven professional and executive resumes that speak to your individuality as a candidate, communicate your value as an employee, and showcase those things that you have to offer a business that no one else has. It is important that you are marketing yourself to potential employers and not just going through the motions of listing out your experience in chronological order. Building your personal brand is part of our resume writing process because your personal brand helps you stand out from the crowd of applicants. We write a resume that of course includes your work experience, your accomplishments, and your skills, but also conveys your purpose—and your passion.
How Can I Determine What My Purpose Is?
As part of the Great Resumes Fast process, our professional resume writers take the time to have a conversation with you and help you suss out your purpose, build your personal brand, and talk through other factors that can help create a successful resume and get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
If you are writing your resume on your own, though, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help focus in on your purpose and get you thinking about your personal brand:
*Why am I working in this industry/sector?
*Why am I applying for employment in this industry/sector?
*What professional achievements or accomplishments am I most proud of so far?
*What jumped out to me about this job description / job opening?
*If I could make any career change right now, no matter how ludicrous it may seem, what would it be?
*What is my favorite responsibility/task at work?
*Where do I see myself in five years? Ten years?
*What is my personal brand in my current job? What do I want it to be?
I’ve Determined My Purpose, Now How Do I Professionally Convey It with Passion?
If you’re working on your resume, one of the questions you are probably asking yourself is how can you make yourself sound better on your resume? Because you should never (never!) exaggerate or lie on a resume, you can help yourself come across as an ideal candidate by showing that you have passion for the work you will be doing in the new position because it aligns with your purpose.
One of the reasons so many resumes flounder in the job market is because they lack passion and purpose. They lack individuality and distinctiveness and don’t establish a unique personal brand for the job seeker. Too many job seekers think they can hop onto a resume sample website, find a free resume, grab a resume template, or even entirely copy something someone else has written for a similar position, and ride it all the way to a new career. What they find out is that doing this amounts to nothing. It’s as futile as trying to convince a dog that it’s really a cat or vice versa. You are who you are with your own personal brand—and you don’t fit the mold of someone else. You have your own unique abilities, achievements, work history, and career goals that will bring you long-term success in your career and fulfillment when you have a career path that fits your purpose.
Rise above the temptation to take the easy way out by copying text from resume templates or using lackluster, cliché terms and instead tailor your resume both to your passion and purpose and to your prospective employer’s needs and purpose. One of the best resume tips I can give is that your resume needs to be customized to fit the needs of the job you want. Talk about what you know and what you love, but be sure it addresses your target employer’s needs. Share your purpose with passion, work on your personal branding, and land that next great career.
Instead of trying to utilize resume samples, or some generic phrases that almost everyone else uses on their resumes, communicate your purpose and communicate it with passion. Use your resume as your personal branding and use it to convey your purpose and how pursuing that very purpose fits into your target company’s mission.
Your resume format can help you convey your passion about your career. How can you format a resume to get the attention of a potential employer? There are a few resume tips for formatting that I often give.
A resume with strong visuals can make it stand out from the standard resume with black and white bullet points and paragraphs that a potential employer probably already has a pile of on his or desk. An employer will see the time you invested in your resume, and that in itself shows the type of employee you will very likely be—a strong, successful employee with passion for what you are doing! You want a prospective employer to come away from looking at your resume with a clear idea of your personal brand. Building a personal brand starts with defining your purpose and passion, and then working that into your career documents. Does your creativity shine through in your resume format? Are you a numbers guru? A people person? Creating a personal brand doesn’t have to be difficult. Developing your personal brand will happen alongside your exploration of your passion and purpose. Then, it needs to be worked into your resume.
For more on how to format a resume, take a look at some of these sample resumes for inspiration. But don’t copy them! Use them for inspiration and to help you determine what resume types are best suited for you and conveying your purpose and brand.
Beyond your resume format, word choice is crucial for demonstrating your passion and writing a good resume. The content of your resume is what tells an employer why you’re valuable. We’ve already covered that filling your content with stale, cliché terms like “effective communicator” and “strong leader” is ineffective as those terms will probably be used on every other executive resume that lands on a hiring manager’s desk, but what can you use instead? Improve your content by using strong, action verbs. Talk about what you have actually accomplished, not just vague skills and experience. Talk about how you’ve used the skill set they want to see and how you can make it work for them. “Managed team of 30 in expanding company’s presence into two new states with accompanying revenue growth of $1 million” sounds much better than simply “demonstrated leadership skills.” It also shows that you have a passion for what you accomplished—you know the numbers, and you’re proud of what you did. Companies want people who take pride in their work.
How Do Purpose and Passion Help Make a Resume Successful?
When you can align your professional purpose with the company’s mission, you’ve met one of its greatest needs: you’ve positioned yourself as an asset to the organization and single-handedly eliminated the bulk of your resume-sample-site-copying competition. Trust me, an employer can easily tell the difference between the type of resume that came from a one-size-fits-all site and a resume that you have put time and thought into.
An effective resume shows that you have a purpose and a personal brand that aligns with the company and position you are applying to, and it clearly and effectively conveys that. The best resumes are so much more than just a list of achievements and a skill set. They clearly tell an employer why they should hire you. They tell why hiring you will be a decision that helps the company find long-term success.
By figuring out your purpose and why you actually want this job, you’ll be able to better tell an employer why you, your work experience, and your skills are exactly what they need on their team. By default, your purpose is something you are passionate about on some level and that will come through on your resume and in your cover letter if the job you are applying to aligns with it. You don’t have to be an established thought leader or an expert in a field to be passionate about your work.
Think about your resume like your personal marketing strategy. It needs to show your personal brand and how that brand is valuable to an employer. TV commercials tell you why you need a product or why a service is helpful for you. That builds their brand and makes a connection with you, their audience. Think about the level of passion you see in Coca-Cola’s ads, for example. Now, certainly keep it professional and don’t go over the top gushing about how much you love the company or using unprofessional or unnecessary graphics. But remember that you do need your resume to build a personal brand that connects with hiring managers. You don’t need to make up a personal brand, instead you need to take your established skills and your purpose and define them in such a way that you define your personal brand and express it with passion. Your employer is your target audience and the best way to reach them is with purpose and passion.
A resume that tells an employer why you care about their mission and why you are valuable is much more effective than a resume that lists your qualifications. Share your purpose and your passion with your prospective employer, and your resume is more likely to be successful.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never breakthrough the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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[…] “I was reading an article on LinkedIn today that answers the question why people like Mark Zuckerberg (the highest-paid CEO—who makes BILLIONS of dollars, by the way) don’t quit their jobs. Here’s the link to the article—but I’ll save you the trouble, and tell you it all comes down to purpose—and…Two Rarely Mentioned Keys to a Successful Resume […]