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A demonstrated passion

Entertainment… airlines… hotels… manufacturing sales… equity research…

What do all these industries have in common? Executives and recruiters from companies in each of these industry categories has shared with me a criteria they use for narrowing down wide pools of well qualified candidates to a few front-runners. “A demonstrated passion for our business is key,” they say.

Like you, I never imagined I would be using the words “passion” and “manufacturing sales” in the same sentence. But you know I’m always telling you to THINK LIKE AN EMPLOYER. And what employer doesn’t want employees that are passionate about what they do?

So how do you document something as intangible as “passion” on a resume? Good question! Some specific tips for demonstrating a passion for a seemingly cut-and-dry business can be found in another piece of advice I have given before… Let your career documents tell a story. Your resume may not contain experience that is specific to the airline industry, for instance. But, you may have held some service-industry jobs while getting your degree. Highlighting this experience on your resume does demonstrate a passion for customer service. And the airlines, like their esteemed colleagues in hospitality, retail, healthcare, etc., are customer-service businesses. Their bottom line is driven by customers… preferably satisfied customers. So if you can’t demonstrate that you have some experience and love of customer service, you’re barking up the wrong industry tree, and they know this.

Somesimes you may have to dig a little deeper to demonstrate that all-important passion for your intended company or career field. Maybe you haven’t quite figured out why you are interested in an industry or company… you just ARE. Well if you were interviewing someone for a job at your company and they explained that they wanted to work for you becaues they just DID, you probably wouldn’t be too compelled to hire them. Take your experience and your goals and spin them into something that would make you want to hire you.

Make sure to check in for some frequent self-exploration about what it is that motivates you, and be able to talk about it fluently in your networking and interviewing. In doing your research for your career search, you can probably find something in the story behind any seemignly boring old company, industry or person that ignites your passion. Or at least your interest! You can make such findings a part of your strategy and repetoire in cover letters, resumes, interviews and networking conversations. For instance, “I read that XYZ company was founded by Les Morris, who was formerly a clock maker with no prior business leadership experience. Through hard work and ambition, he attained phenomenal success. Stories such as Mr. Morris’s are exactly what motivated me to go to business school…”

They say you can’t teach passion. But you can be advised that lots of great employers are hot for signs of it in their new recruits, and plan accordingly.

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