How having a passion can help with your job search

It’s great that you love creating spreadsheets, but employers really like to know that you have a life outside of the office.

How having a passion can help with your job search

Your hobbies can help you find a job you love.

If you're wondering how to find a job you love, ask yourself this question: What are you passionate about? While dedication to your job is an awesome quality to have, there’s a big difference between being someone who works to live and someone who lives to work. Newsflash: Smart employers know the former group is where the top talent’s at.

Finding your passion—volunteering at an after-school program, organizing bird-watching outings, cycling with friends—and embracing it isn’t just good for your well-being, it can also help you in your job search.

Read on to find out why your new boss wants you to have hobbies and interests; plus some tips for showcasing your passions during your job search.

Passions keep you, well, passionate

When employers ask, "What are you passionate about?" they are looking for people who have a fire in their belly, not someone who sits at a desk and runs on autopilot. Pointing to your side projects, hobbies, and passions are good ways to show off what drives you.

Julie Vessel, a career coach and chief talent officer at the Minneapolis creative agency Mono, says her team asks a key question about potential hires: “Will this person make us better?”

“It’s not enough to be able to do the job,” she says. “We’re looking for people who will bring us different experiences and perspectives. We believe that interesting people drive interesting ideas, so passions are part of our evaluation when we’re hiring. A full personal life makes people more interesting, innovative, and valuable at work.”

This info can be especially useful for introverts who are otherwise uncomfortable tooting their own horn in job interviews, says Pete Mosley, author of The Art of Shouting Quietly. "If you are not a raving extrovert, the thought of self-promotion can feel like boasting or bragging,” he says. “Being able to tell a future employer, customer, or client about the things you feel passionate about—the things that give life to your beliefs and values—is a way of impressing them while staying in your comfort zone.”

Passions show you’re able to develop skills and share them with others

If you’ve dedicated yourself to a hobby, chances are you can incorporate the skills you’ve learned into your professional career. Let’s say you’re an avid record collector. Over time, what have you done to learn more about the music industry, recognize what makes a noteworthy album or discover whom to ask for recommendations? How has your skill for recognizing great albums evolved?

Nancy Anderson, author of Work with Passion: How To Do What You Love For a Living, recommends focusing on the strengths your hobby uses, such as “organization, a can-do attitude, resourcefulness, teamwork, and the ability to enroll people in one's interests.” Even if your hobby doesn’t involve other people, it can demonstrate personal strengths, she says. A solo hobby, like reading voraciously, could show off your intelligence and curiosity, while building things in your spare time could demonstrate patience.

Passions help you network and meet people

Having a passion also helps get you together with others. Those people not only share your interests, they’re uniquely qualified to vouch for your enthusiasm and participation, and might even be called on as a reference, or for an introduction to someone who could help you find a job. 

“By building connections outside of work, you’re also building your overall career network,” Vessel says. “The connections made outside of work, through shared interests, tend to be more authentic, deep, and personal than work connections can be. And while the source of your relationship might be a shared passion, these connections can easily be leveraged for career introductions and personal recommendations. The more people you know, and get to know, the better.”

If you’re still having a hard time mapping your side hobbies to your job hunt, Anderson has this advice: “Look deeper into what you do better than most people you know.” Don’t take your gifts for granted, she says. Instead, look for what makes you uniquely talented and share that side of yourself with employers. And, Vessel says, resist the temptation to put your passions at the bottom of your to-do list. “Be sure you’re still making time to give yourself the fuel that our passions so beautifully provide,” she says. “Start viewing play and passions as crucial.”

Find the right fit

So, what are you passionate about? The answer is important to help you find a job that keeps you engaged, which means finding a company that shares your values is key. Not sure how to go about the search? Join Monster for free todayAs a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you and tie into your passions. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. There's no reason to work a job that makes you feel indifferent. Let Monster help you tap into your passions and potential today.