By Laura Bristow
Think a successful job interview starts on that positive first impression you make with a firm handshake? Think again. The impression you make during your job search happens long before you meet with a hiring manager – and could even make or break your shot at an interview.
Errors on your resume are the classic interview-stopper. If there are typos or inconsistencies in chronology on your resume, chances are the employer will jump to the next candidate once he or she spots a mistake.
But let’s assume your resume is free of errors and an excellent match for the job. Here are some key steps you can take to ensure a great first impression:
- Edit your email address. If your email address sounds more like a vanity license plate than a professional label (for example, RavensFanatic16, FuzzyBear), sign up for a new one. Get as close to your full name as possible. If your name is taken, consider putting your zip code after it to differentiate. Applicants for IT jobs might want to sign up for a Gmail account; a recent survey of tech employers indicated they prefer Gmail applicants because they consider Yahoo and Hotmail to be outdated domains.
- Set up and then call your voice mail. Does your voice come through clearly? If you have a musical interlude longer than three seconds before your outgoing message, delete the music. A call to a weak outgoing message might compel an employer to hang up and move on.
- Curate your social media presence. Check your Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Twitter posts for objectionable content that could turn off a prospective employer. Take accounts private while job searching.
- Don’t negotiate for an interview time. If you are contacted for an interview and given a selection of times for your appointment, don’t reject them and send your own suggestion. Be as flexible as possible to accommodate the interviewer’s schedule.
In our competitive job market, it is hard enough to connect with an employer. Paying attention to your presence beyond the resume could improve your chances at being invited to interview.
Laura Bristow is the Director of JCS Economic Services
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.