Hiring managers usually love to see signs of excitement and high interest in a potential candidate. Though job skills and hard credentials are important to the selection process, attitude can also play a key role.
And in fact, an increasing number of HR pros and hiring managers are now giving attitude, interest levels, and cultural adaptability even more weight than job skills and degrees. Over the long term, studies show that the most successful candidates are those with high levels of engagement, not necessarily relevant experience. And as it happens, many employers now offer on-the-job training at the entry level that can close basic knowledge gaps.
So what does this mean for you, the candidate? It means you’ll need to express your energy, enthusiasm, and desire for the job in your cover letter and resume. If you’re dialed in—heart and soul—and you’re ready to give this job everything you have, now is the time to make this clear. Here’s how:
1.Explain your “desire timeline.”If you’ve loved this field since you were four years old, that’s terrific. Tell your employers how your grandmother inspired you, or how you used to pick up the tools of the trade and drag them around everywhere you went. On the other hand, if you developed your passion in the middle of your life, after a specific experience or a random conversation with a stranger, tell this story. Explain what moved you to set your sites on this industry and this job.
2. Use concrete self-descriptors, not abstract ones. For example, don’t call yourself “a committed worker.” This says nothing specific and doesn’t set you apart from the crowd. Instead, explain exactly what you’re willing to do and how far you’re willing to go to express your level of commitment. Use hypothetical scenarios if you need to. Consider statements like: “I’m available nights, weekends, and any time I’m needed. This is my dream job, and I’m just eager to help out whenever needed.”
3. Describe past occasions in which you threw yourself fully into your work. Your resume can list awards you’ve won and projects you’ve completed, but use your cover letter to describe the hours you spent in the office, the miles you traveled, the sleep you lost, and how you’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
4. Explain how your personal interests overlap with the interests that make you great at this job. For example, for an archeology job, describe how you’ve always loved solving puzzles, resolving mysteries, or imagining life in the past. For a sales job, explain how you’ve always loved meeting new people, or the pride you feel when you’re standing behind a product you trust.
5. Explain how you intend to equate the success of this company with your own personal success as a teacher, a scientist, an industry expert, or an honest, hard-working person. Be clear that this job means so much to you that you’re ready to tie your own fortunes to the fortunes of this company. Needless to say, if you’re hired, you’ll stay here for the long haul.
To create an attention-getting resume and cover letter, start with clear formatting, and don’t let your medium get in the way of your message. Visit LiveCareer for samples and templates that can help you let your positive energy shine through.