After securing a job interview, many people start to think about how to make the grand first impression on the big interview day. But contrary to popular belief, the famed first impression on a potential employer begins long before the job interview--and carries on into every new point of contact you have in the company, from the recruiter who peruses your resume or LinkedIn profile, to the hiring team you meet with to the new coworkers you meet in your first week.
Truth be told, that’s a lot of first impressions--and you should make sure that every one of them is a good first impression. After all, you’re not only representing yourself. You’re showing how you will represent a company if hired. So every move you make, from an error-free resume to a smart, clean, professional look (or otherwise, depending on the type of job you’re applying for), is vital to creating a portfolio of great first impressions.
Our team of experts at Careerbliss know that happiness on the job stems from things like one’s relationship with one’s boss or one’s coworkers--and those relationships all begin with first impressions. So the way you present yourself to the wonderful world of work really does matter--because it affects your hireability, and your future happiness on the job.
Sure, it may take a bit of preparation to make sure you’re in good-impression condition, but we’ve got your back. Helping people prepare for and secure work they love just so happens to be our specialty.
So follow this guide from A to Z to make a great impression on your ideal employer, every step of the way.
Make a good first impression on your Resume
Your resume says a lot about you. Make sure it’s saying the right things, and in particular, the things that will move you into the next phase of the hiring process--the interview.
Proofread--then proofread again
While errors may appear small (depending on the font you use!), they are quite glaring to an employer looking to hire someone who is going to represent their company well. Before hitting the “Submit” button, give your resume a read-through for grammar, punctuation and spelling, then read it again. It doesn’t hurt to have someone else look over your resume as well to help ensure it’s error-free and paints you and your professional (or academic) history in the best light possible.
Highlight your strengths and accomplishments
Don’t be humbly dismissive of what you’ve accomplished or can and will accomplish in your professional life. Your resume is the time to let your accomplishments and strengths shine. Be to the point. Provide quantitative data whenever possible (something along the lines of “Instituted new system for acquiring customers that decreased cost per customer by 15%”). While accomplishments are easily connected to your time at a specific company, your strengths can best be highlighted in a few bullet points near the top of your resume. For more tips on drafting a winning resume, check out our Careerbliss Tips and Trends section!)
Focus on formatting and design
A poor design can make your resume look sloppy, and like you just don’t care--or like you don’t have the know-how to use a resume template or figure out how to make your resume into everything it can actually be. There are many templates that are tried and true. Word Suite has a number of resume templates. You can also find some smart looking resume templates that you can download from the web. Just make sure it organizes your resume into a clean, easy-to-read design and format.
Make a great first impression on Social Media
It’s not a secret that job recruiters are looking at social media accounts to determine what they can about prospects either before or after an interview. Make sure your social accounts are set to impress.
Connect professionally on LinkedIn after you submit your resume
Solidify your interest in the job you just applied for by connecting with the recruiter or hiring decision-maker via LinkedIn. The recruiter or person in charge of hiring will likely be impressed that you had the good sense to seek them out online. Use the opportunity to send them a message letting them know that you just applied for the job, and are excited to connect with them about your experience. Not only does this show that you are pretty tech-savvy, but also that you’ve done your due-diligence in seeking out names, and finding connections (and/or shared connections). Rather than being just a faceless name in a stack of resumes, you’ll stand out by generating a sense of professional familiarity.
Make sure your LinkedIn and Social Accounts are professional
Fill out your LinkedIn profile so that visiting recruiters can get a good sense of who you are, what you’ve done, what volunteership or internships you’ve done, your professional affiliations and your portfolio. Populate it with enough information to generate intrigue that leads to an interview. For any other personal social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, you’ll want to set them to private to avoid biasing a recruiter against you for things like your wild hair colors, your crazy weekend escapades, your political stances, religion, etc. Unless all your social media accounts present a consistent professional image like your LinkedIn does, make a plan to either clean them up or set them all to private.
Make a good impression during your Phone interview
If an employer likes what they see on your resume, the phone interview is often the next step an employer takes to figure out if you might be the right person for the job. But just because you’re unseen, doesn’t mean you don’t need to prepare. Follow these steps to make a good impression on your phone interview.
Find the right location
Background sounds are not only distracting to the interviewer, but they can also distract you from presenting yourself in the best light. If a train happens to go by or a plane flies overhead, your mind might start brainstorming where to go to escape the noise. But loud noises aren’t the only problem when it comes to location. Places that are too quiet can make you feel self conscious, like anyone around might be listening to you. Don’t put yourself through that. Find the right location from the start to ensure that you have great phone connection and no unwelcome or unexpected noises--or lack thereof. Make sure that you select a location that is distraction-free, where you can hear and be heard easily and stress-free.
Do your research ahead of time
Eagerness for a job can go a long way with a potential employer. Show your interest by reading up on what the company’s been up to recently. What awards have they won. What companies have they worked with? What contracts have they secured? By sleuthing out interesting facts about the company, and learning more about what the company actually does, you’ll have loads to talk during your interview. This will also give you insight into the company as well, which is important as you consider whether or not this is really a company you’re excited to be a part of.
Keep the job description and your resume handy
The great thing about a phone interview is that you can easily keep notes, resumes and the job description at hand so that you can make sure you talk about aspects of your experience that are relevant to the job you’re interested in. You may not need to look back over any notes, but knowing they are there is reassuring and can help calm any nerves or worry about forgetting your job history and professional experience.
Write out the points you want to be sure to address
Sometimes, in the first-interview flurry, it’s easy to forget to mention things that really matter during the phone call. But creating a sort of cheat sheet before your phone interview can help calm the nerves, and keep you on point to addressing the things you and your interviewer care about. Make sure to jot down the talking points you want to make, the questions you have and keep the pen handy to jot down notes as you go. Prepping yourself like this in advance can help you shed the best light on your qualifications and work history, and help prepare you for the next part of the interview process.
Come prepared to ask questions
Asking questions about the company or the job is an important aspect of any interview process, and while phone interviews may not be as long or in-depth as regular in-person interviews, they are still a great time to start getting your questions answered. After all, in responding to interview requests, you should also be interviewing the company to determine if it’s the right fit for you. Being prepared with at least a few questions (avoid questions about salary at this point thought!) can help you get the answers you need to make your own decisions about your future, and determine early on in the process if the company is really somewhere you want to be.
Remember the thank-yous
At the end of it all, a little gratitude goes a long way in making you stand out, and is always greatly appreciated. Dropping a brief email message to your interviewer after the call shows that you are eager about the position, gives you a forum for asking a question or talking point you missed, and creates a positive image of you as an appreciative person of intentionality. The ‘thank you’ email is also a good place to go over the next steps in the process, when you might expect to hear back, etc.
Stay tuned for Part II of this post, to discover more ways to make a positive “first impression”.
The CareerBliss Team
CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!