First impressions can have a real impact – both positive and negative. First Impressions can occur in person, over the phone, or simply from your resume or cover letter.
The old saying “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” can be very true. Judgements are being made and impressions formed all the time. Whether in social situations, or at any stage of the interview process. The person you meet at a social gathering may lead to a career opportunity.
When meeting in person, your clothing style, posture, hand shake and level of confidence will have an impact. You want to dress neatly, and it is a good idea to dress one level better than the position to which you are applying, if possible. If your handshake is limp, you may appear too passive or lacking confidence. Prepare and practice your greeting and how you will respond to a variety of questions. Be personable and stay professional.
Over the phone, your voice and tone are key. Speak clearly, slowly and in a warm, confident manner. Listen carefully to what is being said to you, so that you can respond appropriately. Again, prepare and practice your greeting and responses. You need to appear alert and engaged in the conversation.
Your resume and cover letter need to be well written with no misspellings or typographical errors. Be sure you have valid contact information, which includes a phone number where you can be easily reached. Yes, we have seen resumes with either no contact information or incorrect phone numbers. For the phone number you provide, ensure your name is included in the greeting and that the caller will have the means to leave a message. Do your research so that your cover letter is customized for the position and company.
Once you have the job, start getting the ‘feel’ for the environment, and building relationships, you will have a better idea of how to be a stand out employee. However, you need to first get the job!