I’m Big On Enthusiasm

Have you noticed the word, ‘Enthusiasm’ more and more embedded in job postings as a desired quality employers are looking for? I sure have. Look for yourself in the job postings you see. It’s not typically under the Qualifications heading but in the preamble; the opening few sentences that describe what the job is about.

Many people looking for work skip reading this preamble and zero in on the stated qualifications. To do so sounds obvious so you’re forgiven if your one of the people who do this. However, this is only one part of what you should be aware of when sizing up a potential job to apply to. That preamble was carefully constructed by the employer giving an overview of the job, and reading it gives you insights into the kind of people who will thrive in the environment being described by the employer.

Enthusiasm then is showing up again and again in job postings. Why? What is it that this word is meant to convey to potential job searchers to attract the kind of people employer’s find most desirable? As always, a good place to start is defining the word; so we have a common shared understanding of what we’re talking about – and more important what employer’s are talking about.

So…enthusiasm; a few definitions:

  • intense and eager enjoyment
  • strong excitement about something
  • a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject and an eagerness to be involved in it
  • something one is highly interested in and spend a lot of time doing

Okay, so there we are with 4 definitions for enthusiasm. Enjoyment, excitement, interest, eagerness, and investing in one’s time tend to sum things up. It seems obvious to say but the 4th bullet reminds us that to be enthusiastic is tied to spending a large amount of time doing whatever it is we are highly interested in. That makes sense doesn’t it? I mean in your personal life you likely spend a lot of your free time choosing to do the things your enthusiastic about whether it’s reading, gardening, vacationing or home renovations etc.

As for work, it stands to reason then that employer’s would love to have a staff composed of people who are excited about the work they do; who show energetic interest and who are eager to come to work and immerse themselves in it. If you and I were employers – perhaps you are an employer for all I know – we’d likely want people working for us who are highly self-motivated, who are invested and show genuine enthusiasm.

Now I’ve been a big proponent of enthusiasm in the workplace for decades. I’ve made it my goal to surround myself with positive people who are similarly enthusiastic; who immerse themselves into the job with a commitment to doing their best and who add to rather than detract from the positivity of the culture. As a co-worker, I feel I can influence those around me just as they influence me. Hopefully my co-workers see me as enthusiastic and positive; committed to providing the best possible service I’m capable of. It works both ways; I feel I can talk with them openly and honestly from time-to-time when it seems to me we could collectively deliver more.

My reasoning for wanting to work in an environment where enthusiasm is highly valued is selfish really; I want to be happy where I work and in the work I do. If I surround myself with others who feel as I do, then together we should create an environment where we arrive looking forward to the day ahead of us; where we actually care about each others success, and this collective feeling makes us better as people and as a team. These after all are people who I spent 7 or so hours with a day 5 days a week throughout a year.

During a prolonged and frustrating job search it can grow increasingly difficult however to genuinely convey enthusiasm. Sure you’re smart enough to know you should be upbeat, positive and show real enthusiasm for the job you’re applying to, but it can be hard to keep that attitude when you’re experiencing rejection or being ignored completely.

I tell you this though; showing genuine enthusiasm for both the job you’re applying to and the organization you’re working for is always a refreshing quality for interviewers to spot in the people they interview. Use the word when describing yourself early in your cover letter, then again early in the interview when describing yourself. Show it with your smile, fully engage in the interview and convey strong interest. You can even use the word when wrapping up your interview, telling them just how enthusiastic you are having found out more about the job and the company. If you’re asked to pose any questions of your own you could even tell them how important it is for you to surround yourself with others who are enthusiastic about the work they do and ask them to comment on the culture you’re stepping into.

Not everybody shines in job interviews and you may be overly nervous. While I can understand that, it is critical nonetheless that you convey throughout the interview some real enthusiasm. After all, you aren’t applying for a job you’ll dislike intensely I hope. If you’ll just be going through the motions and really aren’t invested, save your dignity and look for another more satisfying job to apply to.



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