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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

4 Ways to Show That You Really, Really Want the Job (Without Looking Desperate)

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in an interview, discussing the position, and realizing that you really, really want this job, at this company. It just sounds perfect for you. So, it’s time to start selling yourself to the hiring manager as hard as possible, right? Nope.


That’s a surefire way to look desperate, which is not a great look on even the most qualified people. Mostly because the recruiter will assume you’re not only desperate for this job, you’re just desperate for any job. And that’s the exact opposite of the message you want to send.

However, you can still show someone you’d be really pumped if he or she were to make you an offer without getting on the floor and begging. In fact, there are four ways to show that you really, really want the gig.

1. Send a Handwritten Thank You Note

I know, I know. If you’re anything like me, you were using email back when *NSYNC was still together. And in most cases, pinging someone to thank him or her for an interview over email is just fine. But, if you really want the job, don’t discount the power of the handwritten thank you notes in addition to that. Bonus points if you mention different things than you did in the original note.

2. Go Above and Beyond

Sometimes it’s easy to think you can take a break when a job description says certain materials are optional. But, if you’re really pining over a particular gig, make sure you include those things as part of your application.

I learned this the hard way when I was starting out as a professional writer. I still remember a handful of times when I’d see the words “portfolio optional” and think to myself, “Oh, cool. One less thing.”

When it dawned on me that this mindset was probably keeping me from getting interviews, I realized that some applications would take a little longer than I’d like—but if I really wanted a job, I’d better spend the time on them. Once I shifted my mindset and put more care into my applications, a funny thing happened: I got an interview with The Muse for this gig, which I had been wanting for a long, long time.

3. Make it Clear You Want the Job

I’m sure this sounds like common sense, but think back to your last interview. I have a hunch that you were so nervous, the last thing on your mind was flat out asking for the job. I mean, you’re there interviewing—it’s obvious, right? Not always.

While you won’t want to go into a first round interview and tell the hiring manager that it’s this job or bust, I always appreciated it when a candidate nearing the final stages of the process made it clear he or she really wanted to come work for us.

In one final interview I had as a job seeker, my soon-to-be boss point blank asked me if I was the kind of person who just sent my resume to anyone who’d look at it.

My response? “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t actually want this job.” A few days later, I got an offer, which I happily accepted. Of course, play it by ear when you’re gearing up to ask for a job you really want. But, if the opportunity is right, don’t be afraid to put all your chips on the table.

4. Ask for Swag

So, this one might be a little controversial. And I’ll warn you now that it’s up to you to feel out the situation and decide if you should do it. But in my experience, it’s perfectly fine to ask for a souvenir after an interview if it’s that kind of company. (You’ll know if it’s that kind of company.) Things like stickers, lip balms, and koozies take up a lot of desk space, and I remember being all too happy to give those things out whenever someone asked.

But before you run into your next meeting and squeal, “Oh my goodness, I just have to have one of those t-shirts you’re all wearing,” remember that the goal here is to make it clear you want the opportunity (and would be proud to represent the company) without making everyone you meet think you’re out of your mind. So if you spot a pile of stickers on the corner of a desk, or a box of notebooks, it’s OK to calmly say, “Are those new? They look great. If you have any to spare, I’d love to take one home with me.”

It’s really awesome when you’re interviewing for a role you’re feeling good about. So, it makes sense that you want the hiring manager to know how excited you are. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But, you also don’t want to make anyone think you’re desperate because we know you’re not. And we also know you’re smart enough to make the correct tweaks to your interview game to give everyone you meet with the right impression.

Photo of good interview courtesy of Shutterstock.