First impressions are such an important factor when it comes to potential employment. What people forget, however, is that an employer can already make a judgement of you before you have even stepped foot into an interview.
Although a great interview is essential when it comes to landing a job, there are several other things during the days or weeks leading up to this initial part of the employment process that could potentially increase your chances of success.
Focus your job search
You might think that the more jobs you apply for then the more likely you are going to get hired from at least one of them. This isn’t really the right attitude to have. If you’re just applying for every job you see available then you are not truly devoting yourself to those that spark interest, and employers will notice this lack of enthusiasm.
Focus on finding a job that excites you and you will have more time to spend on your application, making it thoughtful, enthusiastic and unique. As well as this you will have more time to prepare for any interview that may be offered, by researching the company and the job thoroughly.
Write a good cover letter
Cover letters are not always required, but I think it is still of importance if you want to make a good impression on that initial connection with a company.
If you’re going to write one, then you need to make it great. It should have four essential components: an explanation of why you want the job, why you’re qualified for it, why you’re the right cultural fit and how you’d add value to the company.
It is no good just using the cover letter to tell the hiring manager what past experiences you have had, that is what the CV is for. Go one step further and show them exactly how these experiences have directly prepared you for the job.
Tailor your CV to the job
When it comes to the CV, you want to make the hiring managers job as easy as possible. This means including the most relevant work experience near the top so that they don’t have to hunt for it. If they have to hunt, then chances are something will get missed.
You also want to “mirror” the hiring manager, which means including exact language from the job ad in your resume. For example, if the ad calls for someone creative, redraft your job descriptions to incorporate this key word.
You should consider formatting your CV in order to make it easy to read. Simple things like using bullet points, and making sure it is all aligned and in the same font will make a big difference.
Be professional with every communication
Finally, every interaction with a potential employer, no matter how small it may seem, is important in helping them get an impression of you and the kind of employee you will be.
Do things such as, making sure you follow any directions given to you during the employment process, avoid picking up the phone at a time when you cannot be professional, and double check for any typos and errors in emails that you may send.
For more suggestions about interview preparation see our blogs Top questions to ask and not to ask in an interview and A guide to job interview preparation