When applying for a non-profit job, a common piece of advice given is to show passion for the organization’s mission and the organization itself.  But how can you demonstrate passion in a resume, cover letter, or even in an interview?

Have a basic understanding of current issues related to the organization’s mission: What are some policies or best practices currently being discussed in the organization’s field? What events have recently taken place that can potentially affect the organization? Having a firm grasp on key issues will show during an interview.

Be knowledgeable of important groups and individuals: Partnerships are very common in the non-profit world so it is helpful to know who the organization you are interested in has worked with before. Also, who are some of the leaders in the organization’s field? What do you know about the organization’s staff? Doing your homework shows that you are interested in the organization and its future.

Highlight previous experience working with issue: In an earlier post I outline four ways high school and college students can begin their non-profit careers. They involve volunteering but also integrating service into their learning and inviting non-profits to lead discussions. In other words, there are plenty of ways to get involved so choose one and discuss your successes, what you are learning, and what you can contribute.

Create your own ideas/suggestions on how to address issue: Coming up with your own ideas demonstrates that you are engaging the issue on a personal level. Make sure your ideas match what the organization does and stands for to emphasize a good match.

In other words, being able to speak intelligently and act deliberately regarding the organization and its mission goes a long way to showing you are genuinely interested.