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Do You Know What Drives You

Passion can be irresistible to employers.

Gone are the days when it makes sense to put your objective on the top of your resume. In today’s market, flooded with applicants, it’s irrelevant. Employers just want to know what you’ve done and what you can do.

While the change in protocol may seem as if the cards are stacked against newer job market entrants, there is an ace in the hole that those without years of experience can draw upon. If you know what you are truly passionate about, can articulate it clearly and channel it toward the business owner’s interests, your energy and passion can be your trump card — your key to a dream job.

So how do you identify your passion? And how do you get it across to prospective employers?

We asked those questions to Katy Caschera, leadership coach, HR consultant, former business owner and founder/president of Need2Be, Inc.

While working at Chrysler, Caschera designed a program that provided a framework for managers to develop their leadership capabilities. In 2008, she left the company and wrote Need2Be Living Life to the Max, a book that takes readers on a journey of self-discovery.

Caschera says she likes to ask three questions to people seeking a job or a new career:

• What do you do better than anyone else?
• What do you love to do?
• What do you see as the biggest problem in the world?

“The next step is to look for where those three circles intersect — your confidence, your passion and your sense of purpose,” she says. “You really have to take a close look at how you like to spend your time. What do you look forward to doing?”

She notes that many find their passions at any early age. “One of my sons was drawing floor plans to his ideal bedroom at age 10. He became an architect. Another son liked to draw pictures. He became an industrial designer. I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a teacher and a coach.”

For many young people, working on computers may be a passion, but because computers are such a part of their daily lives, they may not realize their natural affinity for computers can translate into huge value in the workplace.

If your passion is not obvious to you, Caschera recommends conducting a self-assessment. “Some self-assessment tools are available online, and many are free,” she says. “They help you learn more about your interests, personality and potential career paths.”

You also want to find out if you are a fit for a company’s culture. How? “Just ask,” says Caschera. “Go to LinkedIn. Find people who work there. Ask your interviewer. Is the culture more collaborative or competitive? Do they have a flexible work schedule?”

To get your passion across in a job interview, “you just have to tell your story,” says Caschera.

“If you love to work on cars in your spare time and you’re applying for a position as an automotive engineer, talk about it. Tell your story. Your passion will shine through. It can’t be faked.”



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