Job-hunting can be stressful. You might end up applying to dozens or hundreds of job openings before you even manage to snag an interview successfully, and that’s a difficult stage to pass in itself. But it all comes down to the first impression you make, at the end of the day. Of course, after applying to so many jobs, you might start to lose focus; it can be hard to tailor-make a resume to each individual job opportunity when you have to apply to so many in order to stand a chance of being noticed. Still, if you work on your overall resume and credentials then you’ll improve the impression you make on each potential employer you contact. Here’s how to make a “BAUCE” first impression when job-hunting.
Get your resume in great shape.
If you want to nail the first impression you make on employers when job-hunting then you need to get your resume in great shape. You need to talk the talk in order to improve your odds of meeting a potential employer in person and proving your worth. Of course, it can be hard to prove how great you are in words; it’s much easier to make an impact in person. But you need to talk the talk if you want to make that happen. Employers have stacks and stacks of job applications, so they can only skim-read the majority of them. You’ll probably be unfairly dismissed by numerous potential employers down the line, but you need to make sure that the few companies who do pay attention to your resume are majorly impressed by what they read.
Get your personality across in your writing. Don’t just say “I’m passionate” – show that you’re passionate. Talk about the things you’ve done that demonstrate your dedication and determination. That’s how employers decide who’s the real deal and who’s simply exaggerating their worth. As we’ll discuss later in this article, you could flesh out your resume further by increasing your expertise and experience. In fact, everything mentioned in this article will be important when it comes to putting together your resume. Every skill you acquire should be mentioned in every job application that you give to an employer. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you need to ensure that your potential future boss gets the best snapshot of what you can achieve if you want them to give you a chance. That takes us to the next piece of advice…
Impressing employers with your resume is a worthy achievement, but you have to follow up on this by impressing them in the interview (unless you’re lucky enough to get the job on the basis of your credentials alone, but that’s uncommon in most lines of work). An interview is an opportunity for an employer to see whether a candidate lives up to the promises they made on paper. That’s why you need to practice interviewing if you want to nail the first impression (second impression if you include the impression you made in your resume) you make when you talk to a potential employer face to face or over the phone.
Get your friends or family to help you by firing questions that are likely to be asked in an interview. It’s important to learn how to stay calm and collected under pressure. You might be a talented individual with the determination to work hard, but that might not come across well if you’re stuttering and stammering during an interview. Remember, this is the first time that your potential employer will talk to you. You need to give them the right impression of yourself.
An important aspect of making a good first impression when job-hunting is to know yourself. You need to know what you want when networking with professionals in the industry that you’re trying to enter or meeting an employer for the first time in an interview. When you walk into a room full of professionals at a networking event or you step into a room with your potential future boss, you need to be confident in yourself (we’ll discuss this later). You need to know what you want out of that job. Make your goals and characteristics clear. Know yourself so that you can ensure the person interviewing you or talking to you knows who you are as well. Remaining clear and focused is important to making it in this competitive world. If you’re passionate then let that passion come across in every interaction you have with professionals in your industry. You never know if an interaction with the right person could lead to a job.
Build up your expertise.
When competing with so many candidates for the best positions at the best companies, expertise is important. In the modern age, most people have a degree or some form of higher qualification. You need to keep studying and training if you want to stand out from the crowd. Take additional courses related to the career you’re pursuing so as to impress employers. You’ll not only be better qualified for the jobs to which you apply but you’ll show the person reading your resume that you’re dedicated to this career path and you want to excel.
Build up your experience.
This ties in with the previous point, but the experience is more about showing that you can apply your knowledge in the real world. Expertise is important, but employers see dozens upon dozens of candidates stroll through their doors with all the right credentials for the job at hand. They want to see something more. They want to see that you can actually make it in the real world of business, and experience shows that to them. Of course, it’s difficult to get experience until an employer gives you the chance to work for them, so you can end up finding yourself trapped in a negative cycle, but there are always ways to seek opportunities and receive the chance to build up your resume further.
This is a straightforward suggestion, but it’s something that could make all the difference when it comes to the first impression you make during an interview or a work experience opportunity. Whilst we’re all told that we shouldn’t judge by outward appearance, we can’t help but make split-second judgments about people based on the way they look. That’s why it’s so important to dress well if you want to make the right first impression on a potential boss or future colleagues. You can make a big impact by wearing sharp and formal attire.
Different industries have different dress codes, of course, but if you’re in a customer-facing role then it’s important that your appearance is bold and appealing. You might even want to get some unique earrings to give your outfit an extra edge. Accessories can give your look that additional “wow” factor to make you stand out over the other candidates (just make sure that you maintain a professional appearance). Dressing well tells people that you take great pride in the way you look. It says that you’re a meticulous person. In turn, an employer will expect you to take the same approach to your work. Sometimes, your appearance can say so much more about your character than your resume ever could.
Believe in yourself.
It’s a corny piece of advice that everybody’s heard at some point in their lives, but there’s a reason for that: self-belief is important in all walks of life. No matter how intelligent and experienced you might be, you can’t achieve the things you want in the business world without a healthy dose of self-confidence. It’s all about getting the balance right, of course; nobody wants to work with somebody who has an inflated ego. But you do need to foster and maintain a healthy self-esteem if you want to make it in the business world. You need to expect rejection along the way. When you don’t get a job, make sure you keep your head held high and keep applying for other opportunities. Don’t let it knock your confidence. You’ve not failed – there are just too many excellent candidates out there and too few job openings. Employers are spoiled for choice.
Remember that you’re competing with people who all believe they’re the best. If you don’t believe that you’re the best then potential employers won’t either. As mentioned earlier, knowing yourself is very important too. You need to know who you are and what you want out of a job role. You need to enter interviews or networking events with a clear idea of what you’re going to say and how you’re going to get your thoughts across to the people you meet. Employers notice candidates with a spark of passion and potential. You might not have as much experience as you want, but you have the potential to grow. And that’s what companies like to see. They like to hire smart candidates who have room for improvement and growth.