June 7, 2013, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers

Love what you do and you will be a success

By Beth Cooper

The headline for this article is displayed in my office. It may seem idealistic when there are bills to pay but by identifying where your passion lies, it can make your working life so much more enjoyable. With the pensionable age increasing, we could be working for more than 50 years. Wouldn’t it be great if those 50 years were spent enjoying ourselves rather than dragging ourselves out of bed every morning?  Investing in our education and learning helps place us in an advantageous position to follow our passion. It also increases your chances of success in the recruitment process, particularly in areas of high competition.

A few questions to start…

What is going to get you out of bed in the morning even when it is pouring down with rain? What is the subject that once someone gets you talking, it is hard to stop you? What makes you evangelical to the extent you want others to share your passion? Is it something that gives you career opportunities? Is it more important to you than a salary that might be attached to it? Will following your passion in your personal life help make you happier in your working life? What is stopping you? Can you overcome these barriers? What is the worse that can happen?

Sounds so simple…

For many people, they’ve never had the opportunity to really think about what they enjoy. Throughout their schooling, even at university, they may be following what others want of them or what they feel they should be studying rather than thinking what they truly enjoy. The first job may fit into this mould and suddenly making changes becomes far harder as the career progresses, perhaps without any conscious thought but living for the weekend. When working in headhunting, I saw many people in senior positions who had got to a point in their career where they were no longer enjoying what they did. When asked what they felt passionate about, it flummoxed them because they’d never taken a step back to think. I’ve seen many students react in a similar way – don’t worry, it’s normal as it can challenge all that you’ve been led to believe whether individually, by your family or the broader society in which you live. However, by not knowing your passion, you are making your chances of recruitment success far more difficult.

Why is it important?

Passion reflects itself in energy and enthusiasm. At job interviews or even networking events it is often the differentiator that helps you be remembered and cast yourself in a positive light. It is what shines through at assessment centres with successful candidates where assessors can see the drive an individual has to join a particular organisation. Recruiters often talk about the need for commercial awareness. When you are applying for roles in a sector in which you are interested, this comes without you even noticing. You will want to be reading articles and broadening your knowledge, whether someone asks you to or not. You know what is going on with the firm because it genuinely interests you and this is reflected in your interactions with their employees. If you are going into investment banking and working 20 hour days, you will still be expected to keep up to date with what is happening in the external market. You are only going to manage that if you love that need to know and have alerts set up to come straight into your email box, not that you picked up the FT on the morning of your interview and have not looked at it since. How much more do you enjoy classes where the lecturer is enthusiastic, even if the subject in itself may not be of interest. Their enthusiasm rubs off on you. That is what employers want to see too. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

In the Business School postgraduate careers service, we have a range of tools to help you find your passion and a one to one consultation can help turn such a passion into career opportunities. Do make an appointment to find out more.


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