First impressions can make or break any relationship.
People’s perception of you start with an initial encounter, which may last no longer than a just few seconds. These perceptions can make or break your chances of getting a job you are seeking.
Making a great first impression isn’t about changing who you are. It requires a degree of self-awareness and some introspection. You need to know your strengths so you can focus on them, and also know your weaknesses so you can downplay them.
In addition to knowing your specific strengths and weaknesses, there are also a number of basic steps almost any job seeker can take.
Making a good impression with a resume and cover letter
First impressions aren’t just made face-to-face. Resumes and cover letters can also make a first impression.
To start with, both your resume and cover letter should be well-designed and well-formatted. Don’t stuff every detail in to a resume without having margins and small type. Use white space and a second page, or cut material, if you have to. Keep your cover letter to four short paragraphs or less. Use the same letterhead, font and paper on both your resume and cover letter.
Addressing the recipient by name in your cover letter helps make a strong first impression. You should also start with a dynamic first paragraph that is customized to the job and conveys your enthusiasm, as opposed to a bland, generic paragraph found on the internet.
Making a good impression at the interview
Making a good impression at the interview starts with arriving on time, or better yet 10 minutes early. Planning on arriving 10 minutes early makes room for unexpected delays, and if you do get there early, you can get settled in your surroundings.
It’s also important to dress the part. You will be judged on your attire, so you need to put a lot of thought into it. For office jobs, you should wear a business suit that doesn’t have flamboyant colors or isn’t too revealing. For jobs that involve a lot of manual labor, a button-down dress shirt and slacks is appropriate.
Grooming is also key. Your hair should be styled conservatively, fingernails should be clean, and your breath should be fresh. Perfume or cologne is OK, in limited quantities.
During the interview itself, you should try to maintain good posture and be attentive to everything that is said. It’s also important to maintain eye contact: A good rule of thumb is to look into the person’s eyes long enough to see the color of their eyes.
A good handshake is also important in making a good first impression. Your handshake should be firm, but not bone-crushing. Practice shaking hands with a trusted friend and ask for feedback.
At NSC Technologies, we help job seekers with everything from resume writing to interview prep. If you’re currently looking for a new job, visit our job board today.