Shy? How to show passion in a job interview

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(MoneyWatch) For some of us, showing passion for a job during an interview comes easy. We naturally talk and gesture in an animated way and our enthusiasm shines through our demeanor. But for others among us, our usual way of speaking and interacting is more subdued, even when talking about something we're excited about. Here's how shy -- or just restrained -- candidates can subtly show that a position is their dream job.

Show don't tell

Saying "I'm a team player" isn't as effective as sharing a story demonstrating when this characteristic helped you and your previous team achieve success, explains Heather McNab, author of "What Top Professionals Need To Know About Answering Job Interview Questions." "The easiest way to show passion is by using carefully crafted interview stories and examples throughout your interview," says McNab.

Give non-verbal clues

A firm handshake. A confident smile. These are the first steps you can take to show that you're very interested in a position without saying a word, says Distinguished Toastmaster and career consultant Jennifer Blanck. "Using body language, you can also show passion by leaning forward, maintaining eye contact, smiling, and occasionally shaking your head as if you're saying yes or encouraging the interviewer."

Ask open-ended questions

People love to talk about themselves, and your job interview questions should be about the company and how you can be of service to it. "Ask open-ended questions about their challenges," says McNab. Then, she says to listen closely to the response you get. "After they've finished share your ideas and past experience using examples of how you solved similar problems at other organizations using your expertise."

Follow up afterwards

After your interview, send a (preferably hand-written) note to everyone who spoke with you. "Everyone knows it's important to send a thank you note, but most people do not do it," says Blanck.

And remember that even if you're an extrovert, shouting or gesturing wildly isn't always appropriate, and while they show enthusiasm, they may also show that you're not the right person for a more refined role. The tips above are much better ways to show that you're passionate, as well as professional.

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