How to Showcase Your Passions for a Culture Fit

passionate guitar player

Our research shows that 92% of company executives believe that culture skills are as important or more important than technical know-how. These are the six characteristics that entrepreneurial leaders value most:

  • Desire to learn
  • Passion: for the mission and culture
  • Scrappiness and grit
  • Ability to thrive amidst ambiguity
  • Excellence at collaboration
  • Willingness to put the company before oneself

92% of executives believe culture skills are as or more important than tech skills - @zimmerbugg Click To Tweet

Your professional background, education, and technical savvy are key in positioning you for a new opportunity. Still, other non-work experiences may help paint relevant and compelling pictures to your interviewers about your “softer skills” and the kind of contributor you’ll be. The trick is not to let these speak for themselves.

We have the chance to learn and grow with each endeavor and encounter—if we’re tuned-in enough to pay attention. The ability to articulate this growth speaks volumes about you as a learner. Reflect on your own interests and experiences so that you can effectively highlight your passions to showcase your culture skills and transferable skills on your résumé and in the interview:The ability to articulate growth speaks volumes about you as a learner - @zimmerbugg Click To Tweet

The Athlete


Photo credit: Mobilus In Mobili via Flickr cc

You understand that teamwork can make the dream work. Highlight your strong collaboration skills, and willingness to put the success of the team—or company—over personal glory. Your competitive nature demonstrates persistence and determination, which will help a growing company succeed.

The Artist

There's a place on Venice Beach where graffiti artists can do their thing without breaking the law or destroying property. It was neat to see these guys creating their artwork, and they were very receptive to talking about it and having conversations while they worked.

Photo credit: Brian Auer via Flickr cc

Artists live and breathe their passions, infusing their work with energy and emotion. Still, they’re rarely satisfied with their work—always striving for self-improvement. If you’ve learned to play the guitar or have refined your painting techniques over years of practice, your growth as an artist demonstrates dedication to learning and a grit to improve.

The Traveler


Photo credit: Shai Barzilay via Flickr cc

If you’ve lived or worked abroad and are committed to exploring new places and spaces, leverage your ability to thrive amidst ambiguity as a willingness to take risks and confidence in navigating the unknown. Your interest in people and cultures highlights your innate curiosity and means that you can probably navigate complex social dynamics, too.

The Activist


Photo credit: Laurel L. Russwurm via Flickr cc

Whether you’re an environmentalist or social activist, you’re a mover and shaker who inspires action in others. You are a passionate person who puts your cause and integrity above all else. Any company that aligns with your values would be lucky to have you as a leader and evangelist.

Athletes, artists, travelers + activists—here's why you're a great #hire - @zimmerbugg Click To Tweet

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Photo credit: Feliciano Guimarães via Flickr cc


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Christine spreads the Startup Institute magic as Marketing Manager. The lead editor in charge of The Whiteboard, Christine's main goal is that our media hub be a digital reflection of our remarkable community—celebrating lifelong learners, innovators, and difference-makers. An alumna of the full-time program, Christine transitioned her career into marketing after four years of teaching high school English in the US and in Thailand. She is an avid contemporary and jazz dancer, a lover of cheese, and believes wholeheartedly that a life without risk is a life without gain. She is always cold; if you stop to visit her at her desk, she'll have a blanket with her—guaranteed.

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