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Most resumes and cover letters are boring. Even though they contain plenty of information, they don’t attract the attention of a hiring manager. When a hiring manager sees a little personality in a job applicant, she immediately starts looking for other candidates.

Aside from being able to demonstrate a passion for learning and a willingness to expand your skills, you also need to stand out from the crowd. For instance, if you’re a startup marketing candidate, you might think that your Spanish isn’t up to standard, but the boss might think differently.

Instead of focusing on the traditional roles and responsibilities of a company, focus on projects that are related to your work. This will allow hiring managers to see how you can contribute to the organization.

One of the most important factors that a hiring manager wants to see in a candidate is their personal “why.” This question should include a variety of details about their passion for the job and how this fits into the company’s culture.

In the application instructions, the hiring manager asks candidates to list down the various websites and books they’ve read in the past couple of months. This helps her see if they have the necessary depth of knowledge to excel in the position.

Despite the value of degrees, most people who continue to earn them are still driven by their curiosity and want to improve their skills. Those who continue to learn through online courses or community workshops are more likely to bring more than just skills to the company.

If a candidate has a large social following, they’re more likely to be able to demonstrate their passion for the industry and be in touch with the people who are working in it. However, if they don’t have a social network, they might not be able to connect with the people who are working in the industry.

Although a resume is important, I don’t care about the details of a candidate’s work history. Instead, I want to see examples of what they’ve actually done. This includes projects that they’ve contributed to, blog posts, and photos from an event they helped organize.

The X factor that a hiring manager uses to evaluate an application is the candidate’s excitement about the position. Although it’s impossible to measure, I can feel it. Most people who are applying for a job are not showing the same level of excitement as they would if their resume was in a traditional format.