In the employment workshops I run, I often ask those in attendance what they believe is the number one thing employer’s are looking for in the people they choose to hire. The most common answers are dependability, honesty, working hard and being a quick learner.
Those are all desirable qualities I acknowledge, but the number one thing that I hear from employers themselves is that they are looking for employees who demonstrate enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for the job and what it encompasses; for the organization and most importantly the customers, clients, end users – whomever benefits from the services and products the company creates and delivers.
The thinking goes that if each individual in a workforce is truly enthusiastic about the work they do, then collectively the organization becomes a motivating place to work. As the environment and the culture becomes one of enthusiasm, it attracts new people who are similarly motivated and energized and the organization takes on a dynamic spirit where people want to be, want to stay and want to grow.
When you have the above you have higher productivity, better products with fewer defects, services are delivered with personal ownership and people take pride in what they do and want to do better.
Ever worked in an organization like that? Is that the kind of environment you thought you could only dream of? Some people who are looking for work have an attitude that seems to suggest they’ll only believe it when they see it, and they never see it because in the interview and selection stages, they don’t exhibit any indication that they themselves will bring enthusiasm to the workplace and as such are passed over.
So how do you communicate professional enthusiasm? First and foremost use the word itself. Introduce the word when you compose your cover letter. I personally use it as my trademark sign off instead of words and phrases like, “Sincerely”, “Regards” or “Yours truly”. Typically I write, “With enthusiasm.” At the outset I might commence with, “It is with great enthusiasm…”
If you have a look at my LinkedIn profile, you’ll note that how I am marketing myself is not simply as an Employment Counsellor, but rather, “Your Enthusiastic and Empowering Employment Counsellor.” The inclusion of these two descriptive words tells you I’m excited and motivated about assisting and I’m at your service. Sure my business card and title at work is Employment Counsellor, but LinkedIn is where I create my own identity and my employer doesn’t govern how I identify myself on my own profile.
As for my resume, I have the word enthusiasm prominently inserted near the top of the document so it becomes one of the key first things a reader takes in. As for the job interview itself, I make sure I communicate my personal enthusiasm both in my choice of words and in my body language; my smile, eye contact, sitting slightly forward and varying the tone of my voice so it consistently communicates and commands interest.
A number of people; no, a very large number of people don’t believe employers care much anymore about the people they hire. They get passed over for jobs or can’t keep the jobs they do get for very long, and as a result they have a jaded and decidedly negative attitude when it comes to the whole selection process. They’ve come to believe that employers don’t care anymore about investing in people. Unfortunately for those who have this viewpoint, they grow to have a distrust of organizations and their hiring practices. They come to believe based on their own experience that good jobs and good employers don’t exist anymore and worst of all they spread this to others.
Actually the exact opposite is true. Employers take great pains to find the right people who will contribute productively to their products and services. They agonize over choosing the wrong person; take extra time in many cases with 2nd, 3rd or event 4th interviews in order to select the people they feel will best fit and bring enthusiasm with them to the job. Selecting people takes time and money; selecting the right people takes more time and money and it takes skill to differentiate between those who are genuinely the right fit and those who are faking their way through the selection process. The more they can rule out those who are faking their way into a job the better they’ll be off in the long run.
Someone who is enthusiastic about a potential opportunity behaves in certain consistent ways. They find out about what the job is really all about before an interview. They only apply for jobs they sincerely wish to take if offered and they learn about the people who work in those organizations in order to determine how they will fit if hired. Enthusiastic people are positive, engaging, interested and come prepared with some well-thought-out questions of their own; things they really care to know.
Look, if you walk in with a forced smile, scowl and sigh heavily when you’re kept waiting 4 minutes after your scheduled appointment and then ask, “Will this take very long?” as you sit down, you might as well be okay with the answer, “Absolutely not; why you can be on your way right now actually if you’d like.” This job you applied to is no longer available.
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