Many career professionals stress the importance of working hard and constantly honing your craft. While those things can make or break your career success, there are two other important things that I don’t see or hear being discussed nearly as much - passion and enthusiasm for what you do. I’ve learned that sometimes being the most passionate and enthusiastic person in the room is more valuable than being the most talented or having the most experience.
Employers want to hire people who will bring passion, vigor, energy, and fresh ideas to their projects and companies. In fact, most employers would probably prefer a candidate with those traits over a candidate with a hefty resume (or a sense of entitlement because of their hefty resume). A positive attitude alone can get you very far in your career. However, it’s not something that can be faked. If you are pursuing (or have) a job you hate, don’t bother trying to fake enthusiasm for it.
The following insights will only benefit you if you are climbing the ladder of your dream career.
Focus more on keen interest and devotion rather than qualifications and previous experience when applying or interviewing for a gig.
You will more than likely be asked about your qualifications and previous experience in almost any kind of job application or interview. You will be asked to show your resume. You will be asked to discuss your skill set and strengths. If you don’t have much to show for in these areas, make up the difference by telling your prospective employer how passionate you are about the position, how badly you want it, how hard you will work for it, how they won’t regret hiring you, etc. Seeing your eyes light up for the position that needs to be filled could very well be enough to inspire your prospective employer to take a chance on you, regardless of the experience (or lack thereof) they see on paper. And even if you do have a lot of qualifications for the gig, you must still show your enthusiasm and willingness to work hard. That is essentially what most employers want in a job candidate.
Fight for what you want.
As the old (and slightly strange) adage goes, "It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings." As long as you have your foot in the door of a potential dream job, you have to make every effort to force yourself the rest of the way in. It doesn’t mean you’re desperate. It means you’re determined and willing to do whatever it takes to make the position yours. Most employers will appreciate that level of determination and be curious to see what all your fuss is about. Don’t give up on what you want unless a definitive "NO" has been firmly set before you. Otherwise, there’s still hope.
Don’t be afraid to follow up and stay in touch with prospective employers.
If you’re waiting to hear back from a potential employer, don’t wait too long. Follow up as many times as is appropriate and make sure they know you’re serious about filling the position. It is also a good idea to stay in touch with them about other matters aside from the job you want and attempt to form a genuine companionship. If the only reason you ever talk to them is because you want the job, you’re basically just kissing their ass and engaging in a take/take relationship. Write thank you notes. Ask them how they’ve been doing (without being rude or invasive). Get them a gift on their birthday. Take them out for dinner or coffee. A vast majority of your gigs are going to come from networking and being friendly. People have to actually like you as a person before they consider working with you.
Know your priorities and values.
If you’re working for money or fame, you’re working for the wrong reasons. Do what you love simply because you love it and because it fills you with a sense of pride and meaning. People will see right through you if you are only doing something to obtain a certain level of status or notoriety. Be passionate about the work, not the recognition you get from doing the work.
Show, don’t tell.
After all this convincing that you’re the perfect person for the job and will work harder than anyone else, prove it. Do the job well. Work harder than anyone else. Be everything you promised to be and more. Knock your employer’s socks off. And if and when it’s time for that employer to refer you to someone else, they will speak highly of your passion, energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic and it won’t matter if you have a skimpy resume.
Don’t let a lack of experience hold you back from pursuing your dream job. You will be highly remembered for your passion, and no one will care that you got a D in Algebra or fired from your previous job. They will remember your zest for life, work and yourself. They will remember your refusal to settle for less than what you’re capable of - and you are capable of so much more than you think.