Dear Client: We recently visited with Career Strategists Senior Career Coach Angela Loeb who has helped thousands of men and women through successful job searches while finding clarity and focus on their career path. Angela had some great wisdom to share around the job search process and specifically around the importance of making a great first impression.
A wise person once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Whether it’s a social encounter, a business meeting, or a job interview, it’s true. This is not do-over territory!
When it comes to your job search, especially when you’re networking and interviewing, you want to make a memorable impression. A positive impression. You can be superb in your field, demonstrate amazing creativity, and have worked with a professional to develop a top-notch resume, but all of that can be overshadowed in an instant if your first impression falls short.
There are five fundamental things to remember about making a great first impression, but are you remembering to do them?
Here’s a quick refresher.
1. Be Yourself.
Professional integrity and authenticity is highly appealing. So, just like you wouldn’t misrepresent your skills and qualifications, don’t misrepresent who you really are. It will only backfire anyway. Case in point: A job seeker decided to do something during a panel interview based on advice he’d read somewhere – that you should interview the interviewer. He misinterpreted how to do it, thinking it required that he must behave nothing like his usual personality. When he noticed that the panel had begun to wind down their questioning, he shuffled his papers, cleared his throat and said, “Now, I've got some questions for you.” This usually mild-mannered man then proceeded to “interrogate” the panel members. He took over the interview, clearly shifting into a more superior mode than the situation called for. Unfortunately, not only did he blow up the opportunity, the HR manager was embarrassed that she had invited him to interview.
2. Dress appropriately and be well-groomed
. This one is a given, but you can’t have a list like this and not mention it. So, dress according to the situation and always be well groomed. You never know when or where you will meet someone who is in a position to recommend you or hire you. If you suspect your image, grooming, or wardrobe needs an update, then it probably does. Make the investment. Hire experts to help you look your best.
3. Watch your body language.
Did you know that what you say with language only makes up 7% of your communication? The rest is communicated through your tone of voice, eye contact, hand gestures, the way you sit, the way you stand, etc. Even if you don’t mean to, your body language will give away what you’re thinking and feeling. Think about it. What are you saying when you’re not talking, and are you being misunderstood? A good resource for general information on body language is Let Me See Your Body Talk
by Jan Hargrave. Her Strictly Business Body Language
is excellent too. If you’re on the job hunt, do yourself a favor and check out Knock ‘em Dead
by Martin Yate, which includes tips on body language for the interview. Also, practicing interview skills with a coach can help you become more cognizant of what your body language is revealing about you.
You don’t have to be as gorgeous as Grace Kelly or Cary Grant to make a great first impression. But you do have to smile! When you smile, your face lights up. You become attractive. Smiling also makes others relax and smile back. This will affect the major portion of the first impression – and that is how you make the other person feel
when they meet you. Maya Angelou said it best: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
5. Be positive.
This dovetails nicely with the smiling advice. But being positive is more than giving people smiles. It’s what you say about yourself and your situation. It’s also what you say about others, including your former employer(s). Be positive and upbeat in order to make a great first impression. Besides, being positive helps to keep your intelligence intact. Studies show that complaining actually shrinks your hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for learning and development.
Want more job search tips? Check out 6 Job Search Mistakes to Avoid.
and let us know how we can help you with your job search, resume/interviewing and personal branding. We’d love to help you gain clarity and focus around your next steps.*
Warmly, Renee, Angela and the Career Strategists Team
P.S. The Career Strategists coaching team—a boutique coaching firm based in Austin, TX and serving clients worldwide via personal sessions, phone, Skype—has been supporting clients around the globe since 1999. We are incredibly grateful to do the work we do and find tremendous joy and satisfaction in knowing we have helped thousands of men and women find their calling, land great positions and experience enhanced job satisfaction. Read some of our past newsletters here
to learn more about our philosophy. We offer 20 min. complimentary initial phone consults to all prospective clients- just drop us a line at email@example.com
or call 512-459-6700.
*Note: If you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, consider purchasing a $99 DIY Job Search Toolkit
for samples of our award-winning job search materials and strategies, created specifically for mid to senior level professionals.