By Rowe Leathers
Contributor and Career Coach, APUS
“Make a good first impression” is one of the oldest and best bits of career advice you can receive. First impressions while conducting a job search speak volumes regarding who you are and how you will be as a team member.
When we think of first impressions within the job hunting process, we naturally think about the interview and how we will “dress to impress.” However, if you wait until your interview to make a good impression, it may be too late.
First Impressions Start with Your Initial Contact with An Employer
When it comes to job hunting, first impressions begin the moment you draft your cover letter, resume and application. All interactions, whether in writing, telephone conversation or online, provide a peek into a job applicant’s personality, intellect and professionalism.
Cover letters and resumes that are well written give insight to the type of employee you will be. Your resume should be well developed and concise; it should also illustrate relevant competencies and present you as a high-level professional.
On the flip side, cover letters and resumes written without a defined target role and riddled with irrelevant experiences are difficult to understand. They leave the reviewer with more questions than answers.
Be Careful with Your Resume, Cover Letter and Follow-Up Messages
Before submitting your next application, take a moment to assess your approach:
- What impression are you sending with your resume? Be sure your resume is easy to read and understand, and conveys the message that as an employee, your work will be just as accurate and concise.
- Do your presentation and message align on your cover letter? If you are touting your attention to detail, be sure your documents are free of typos, spelling errors and poor grammar. The documents should also be formatted in a professional manner. A cohesive presentation drives home your strength as a candidate.
- Do your follow-up messages include information that identifies you? When you’re writing an email or leaving a voicemail, be sure to clearly identify yourself, the reason you are reaching out and how your interviewer(s) can reach you. Providing the necessary information from the start will help reduce the need to play “phone tag” and send the right message about your efficiency.
You May Not Get a Second Opportunity to Correct Your First Impression
A professional presentation from the start will solidify how employers perceive and respond to you. It is important to get it right, as there are no second chances.
In today’s social-savvy society, first impressions and professionalism are not only important – they are crucial. Those first impressions are also the first step to building your personal brand.