Published: Jun 28, 2021
To make the next step in your career, you need to do everything you can to stand out from the competition. One way to do this is to make sure you’re demonstrating your passion—for the position you’re applying for and the career you’re pursuing. So, here are six ways to highlight your passion in your resume, cover letters, and interviews.
1. Use power verbs
An easy way to show that you’re passionate about the job and your career choice is to use power verbs in your resume and cover letter (and any other written parts of your application). Doing so not only demonstrates your achievements and how you added real value in the past but also shows your drive and enthusiasm. So, consider using words like led, developed, created, designed, managed, outperformed, introduced, motivated, improved, and influenced. Of course, there are hundreds of other power verbs that you can choose from, too.
2. Do your research
Passion isn’t just about saying you’re passionate; it’s also about proving it—showing that you’ve put in the work and really want the role. This means doing your research effectively. You can do this by carefully studying the job description and researching the company online. You can browse through its website, social media, and any relevant news stories.
Armed with this information, you can tailor your resume and cover letter to the role and company you’re applying to, highlighting why you’re passionate about the position and the firm in particular—and draw out any relevant skills learned at school, in internships, and at previous jobs. Doing your research also better prepares you to answer questions during interviews and explain why you’re attracted to the role in particular.
3. Ask the right questions
During interviews, you can of course show your passion when answering interviewer’s questions. You can also demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm by asking questions. Asking questions about the company, its strategy, its team, and the position shows that you’re curious and interested in the company and role—and that you care about choosing the perfect position in the industry. Asking questions shows that you’re determined to find out if the role will help you achieve your goals, which highlights your active interest in and passion for your career.
4. Highlight your achievements
There are several reasons why you should highlight your achievements during your job search, including that it can help show how passionate you are about your work and always strive for results. Some of the easiest ways to demonstrate your passion through achievements are by listing or speaking about: awards or accolades you’ve received, outstanding results you’ve achieved in past roles, and occasions where you’ve gone above and beyond to achieve great results. If you can quantify any of your achievements, even better.
5. Share your relevant hobbies
Adding a hobbies and interests section to your resume is optional. But if you’ve got room to do so and your hobbies are relevant to the role or industry you’re applying to, then this could help to show your passion—especially if you have little or no experience.
For example, if you’re applying for a marketing role and you spend your spare time blogging or doing photography, this can show your interest even outside of work. Similarly, if you’re applying for a product design role and you love to code at any given opportunity, be sure to shout about that on your resume. You can also talk about hobbies and interests in your cover letters and interviews if you think it’s appropriate.
6. Reiterate your interest
Finally, if you’ve applied for a role you’re genuinely passionate about, then don’t be afraid to reiterate your interest and excitement in your thank-you email after you interview. You don’t have to go over the top, as it can come across as forced. So, including something like “our conversation reinforced my excitement to join the team” should suffice.
Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of Job Description Library and StandOut CV, two leading UK careers advice websites. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.
In the past week, on three separate occasions, I've overheard someone ask, “How do I answer that interview question about what my passions are if I don't even know what I'm passionate about? ” And so, here, I'd like to offer a few thoughts on what appears to be a common issue when it comes to interviewing.
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