Thursday, March 31, 2011

Often-overlooked Aspects of First Impressions

Effective management of first impressions is critical to your job search success. In a previous post, we examined professional image and tested your interview image IQ. However, there are several ways to create and manage your first impression with a potential employer before you even go for the interview.

The Resume and Cover Letter
The resume and cover letter communicate for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. Look at your resume and evaluate what type of impression you are forming on potential employers. There are a few areas that are often overlooked to which you should pay special attention.

Email Address – Establish a separate email address that is dedicated solely to job hunting. The email should be simple, straightforward and professional. Do away with your unprofessional email address that communicates personal or unfavorable information such as or

Paper Style/Color – Simple and professional is your best bet. Use white or off-white paper with no color or design. Use a heavyweight bond paper that can be found in any office supply store.

Voice Mail Messages
From the instant that the HR manager picks up the phone to call you, you are creating impressions. Many phones now have the feature of listening to music instead of ringing while the caller waits for an answer. A ring is best, but if using music choose your music carefully and don’t use anything inappropriate or unprofessional. Additionally, your voicemail greeting creates an impression of the type of person you are. Be polite, cheerful and concise in your message.

The Phone Call
If you are able to receive the phone call from an HR manager regarding an interview, once again you have a chance to manage your first impression. Make sure you are able to speak without distractions – kids, traffic, televisions, barking dogs, etc. Don’t forget to smile when speaking on the phone to the employer, the smile will come through as warmth and enthusiasm in your voice. Keep a file of information next to the phone so you can quickly access the job posting details. Keep a pad of paper and pen handy for notes and details about the interview to ensure you show up on time and well prepared.

Making a good first impression is a multi-faceted endeavor. It is a combination of attention to details and common sense. Ensure your first impression won’t be the last impression you ever get the chance to make on your potential employer.

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