As the saying goes, “you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.” People tend to form judgments based on what they see and hear during the first few seconds. Extended contact may modify their initial judgment but probably won’t change it significantly.
In terms of job or career changes, this means you need to consider carefully how you present yourself. Clients typically think of this in relation to interviews, which is certainly important, but waiting until then to focus on it would be a big mistake.
Why? Because in many cases your first impression occurs before you see the employer–through your resume and cover letter. If you don’t bother to make sure your documents represent you well, you may never have to worry about the impression you’ll make in the interview!
Here are 7 tips to ensure that your first impression is a good one:
- Know your audience. Find out all you can about the company and position you’re submitting for, and use that information in preparing your materials.
- Research your competition. Gain as much information as you can about the type of competition your resume will be up against. If you think others might be more qualified than you are in a certain area, try to counter that in your resume by emphasizing key strengths you can offer.
- Organize your information well. Don’t ramble. Both the order of the information you provide and the amount of space allotted to each part are important.
- Nail those keywords. When you incorporate into your resume the appropriate buzzwords for the position you’re pursuing, you show the employer that you’re aware of and can meet the critical knowledge requirements.
- Pay attention to quality but avoid overkill. If you’re submitting hard copies, use a decent-quality paper; but don’t use lavish paper and expensive folders, for instance, if you’re applying for a receptionist position at the local pet-grooming facility.
- Watch your attitude-indicator. Balance your presentation comfortably between excessive modesty and arrogance. Show that you have the employer’s needs uppermost in your thought.
- Have an impartial expert check everything before you send it out. The mistake you miss may spoil the great impression you had going for you until then.
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