Ask LH: How Can I Demonstrate A Passion For IT?

Dear Lifehacker, I am going for a job interview soon and I have been asked to demonstrate my passion for technology. I don't have any ideas on how to do this. Please help! Thanks, Passion Popped

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Dear PP,

For the sake of discussion, we're going to assume that you actually do have a passion for technology, and that you're not merely looking for ways to fake enthusiasm in order to score a job. If you do fall into the latter category, it's going to become apparent to your interviewer fairly quickly that your alleged enthusiasm lacks depth. (It's also possible that the "passion for technology" requirement is job ad boilerplate and will never be mentioned once during the interview, but you can't be certain of that.)

One advantage of living in an era with ubiquitous online activity is that it should be fairly easy to document your enthusiasm for technology. Here are some tactics we've often recommended in the past:

  • Prepare a brief summary of your own technology history. It's better to be able to say "I've been interested in ITever since I first installed Linux when I was in year 7" than to say "I've always liked tech". While you don't want an overwhelming volume of detail, being able to describe personal projects and setups you've worked on is a clear way of demonstrating a "passion for technology". Keep it relevant; your Xbox skills are less likely to be of interest to an employer.
  • Maintain your own blog about technology topics. A regularly-maintained blog covering is one of the most visible ways to demonstrate your interest in technology. In this context, regularity is more important than length; a blog which has five recent posts and then nothing for more than a year won't make you look committed or enthusiastic. While you can easily do this for nothing using a free platform such as Blogger or Wordpress.com, setting up your own host will demonstrate both enthusiasm and technical nous.
  • Contribute to online discussions about technology. Regularly commenting on posts on relevant sites also demonstrates your interest clearly. Many sites will let you view all your contributions on a single page (on Lifehacker, this is the address https://www.lifehacker.com.au/user/profile/), which can easily be shared with potential employers.
  • Work on open source projects. For developer roles, this is a very good tactic: it demonstrates that you're comfortable working with code and that you can effectively collaborate with others.

Good luck! If readers have additional tactics they'd like to share, we'd love to hear them in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    I wouldn't bore an employer with your "history" with technology - single out one specific instance of something and elaborate on it fully, why you were passionate about it, how you got involved, how it went, etc etc.. If you don't have anything that stands out, then do a project off your own back, it makes very little difference if the idea is complete or not when you go to interview - as long as it's on its way, in fact you could go so far as to excitedly explain all the grand things your plan for it in the future.

    Last edited 26/04/13 5:42 pm

      Michael is correct. This is likely a KSC question being addressed in a SoC (why the asker believes they need to address it at the job interview, I'm not sure). You should apply STAR, which requires you focus on a single example within the last 6 months. Everything else will lose you the job.

      Last edited 29/04/13 2:55 pm

    You don't need to be evangelistic about your passion, just factual, and tell the potential employer about an interest relevant either to the job, or to your interest in technology, and your efforts!

    Your potential employer is looking for a story about your behaviour, not your emotions, which the word passion may confusingly imply. Talk about what you discovered, your achievements and the problems you solved to get a result.

    I was interested in technology A because I wanted to do B. I did some research and found C. I pulled this together to result in D. Along the way I had problems E, F and G, which I solved by doing X, Y and Z. You get the rough idea...

    Don't get too opiniated, otherwise you may have posts on Lifehacker you would rather your potential employer did not see. And besides, you may well get moderated. ; )

    Last edited 27/04/13 9:23 pm

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