How many chances do you have to make a good first impression?
We have all heard the saying, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. This is especially true when it comes to your job search. Right or it is wrong, and mostly wrong, many hiring managers make their hiring decision within the first 90 seconds or less.
Conducting a job search has many opportunities where first impressions come into play. At each new meeting, the stakes of the first impression are more serious than most candidates realize. Make a wrong first impression and even if you get the meeting, you are just digging yourself out of a hole the entire time. You may have had 3 interviews with the same company, but the wrong first impression with the 4th interview can lead a candidate to be declined.
Where first impressions come into play:
- Phone interview: Just because the first interview is over the phone, first impressions matter. How you answer the phone makes a difference.
- First face to face meeting with the recruiter
- Meeting the hiring manager for the first time
- Introductions to the team for the first time
- Meeting the VP of the department for the first time
And finally, the place where most candidates don’t realize they are making the first impression is through the presentation layer of their resume. Yes, the resume is really the first impression and will set the tone for the rest of the meetings.
Your cover letter and resume are the real first impression
Most candidates don’t realize their cover letter and resume are their first impression. Our experience shows that the number one reason candidates are declined or don’t hear back is because of a typo in the resume. Another common way candidates blow the first impression is addressing their cover letter to the wrong company. This usually happens because the same cover letter is being recycled for multiple applications and not being proofread. These are obvious indications to a lack of attention to detail.
Career Tracker keeps track of your cover letters and resumes
Here at Career Tracker, we highly recommend that you have a tailored cover letter and resume that is targeted to each position you apply for. Our cover letter software and resume builder will help you write these documents, spell check them, and then track them individually. Not only do you not have to worry about tracking your documents, but Career Tracker will also track when you should follow up and send thank you notes. Our resume building software makes it really easy to make a great first impression with formatting, font’s, colors, and resume templates.
The first impression over the phone
If you are in job search mode, every time you answer the phone, you should answer it like there is a recruiter or hiring manager on the other end of the line. Say hello, announce your name and be upbeat. This is how any hiring company would want you to answer the phone when you are hired.
“Hello, this is Johnny speaking”
You would be surprised how often I call for an interview at the designated time and hear:
- What’s up?
It’s not professional and as the recruiter, I don’t know if I called the right person. I am actually hoping I called the wrong number when I hear this response. This is not the way to make a good first impression.
The face-to-face first impression
If you want to make a great first impression in a job interview, smile. Yes, smile, it’s as simple as that. A big smile will draw attention to your face and eyes. Of course, you are going to extend your hand for an introductory handshake, but you would be surprised how often this obligatory gesture lacks an upbeat emotion. The way to show emotion is with a smile that conveys you are genuinely happy to meet this person.
The other quality that a smile conveys is that you are a happy person. Very few people want to work with a colleague that is unhappy, ho-hum, or just going through the motions. You don’t have to be super outgoing. I am not asking you to be someone you are not. But a big smile will convey so much in that first split second. You can be an introvert and still have a great smile.
Pay attention to your first impression, because you don’t receive a second chance!
Key Takeaway: Remember that first impression are not just when you meet someone face to face. Your real first impression is your resume and your greeting when answering the phone.
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