Most of us are drawn toward people who are passionate about their work. Their enthusiasm can inspire us to do bigger and better things, spur us into action, or just make us feel good about ourselves.
That's why someone like Oprah Winfrey has been successful for nearly 25 years. That's how Martin Luther King Jr. changed the way we view ourselves. And that's why a sports team that wins a big game against great odds inspires more than just its regular fans.
In short, they exude passion, and they can ignite passion in us.
Could your resume and cover letter use a little passion? If you're not getting calls for interviews, take a good look at how you're presenting yourself in those critical career documents. To see if your resume needs a dose of passion, ask yourself these three questions:
1. What is it about my career and my target jobs that excites me?
Is there some aspect of your work that you truly enjoy, that you know you're good at, and that doesn't even feel like work? Maybe even something that makes you look forward to getting into the office on Monday while you're spending a quiet Sunday at home?
2. Do I express enthusiasm for what I like to do and the results I deliver?
Consider these two ways of expressing your value in a cover letter:
• In my seven years as a financial analyst at XYZ Company, I made critical recommendations on corporate investments in other countries.
• I enjoy sifting through data to assemble clear, coherent reports to executives and corporate boards of directors. That's part of what made me a successful financial analyst at XYZ Company, where I used that data to make critical recommendations on successful investments in other countries.
Which one shows more passion?
3. What words do I use to express my enthusiasm, skills, and accomplishments?
Strong action words can reflect your passion for your work, and help convey the message that you'll bring that passion to a new job.
In the two examples below, one conveys just the facts, while the other adds a little something extra:
• Led $1.5 million project to replace 2,500 corporate desktop and laptop computers, finishing 2 months ahead of deadline.
• Spearheaded and oversaw $1.5 million desktop and laptop replacement project, finishing 2 months ahead of deadline.
When you're talking about your career accomplishments and your abilities to do the job you're applying for, give the hiring manager a reason to call you for an interview. Being qualified isn't enough, since others are likely to have the same or even a higher level of qualifications. But a positive outlook is contagious, and injecting a little passion into your resume and cover letter can grab the hiring manager's attention and improve your chances of landing an interview.
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