Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Making Career Changes: First Impression Do's and Don'ts

We've all grown up on "dress for success," and certainly, how we dress during our employment application process is a significant piece of how people judge us. First impressions are huge factors. Making a good first impression goes a long way, and making a poor first impression is hard to overcome.

That's why you should pay careful attention to other things that give first impressions:
  • Your email address
  • Your phone greeting
  • Your business card
  • Your resume
  • Your cell phone ring tone.
Do use an email address that looks professional, preferably one with yourname@somedomain. DON'T use one that is cute and designed for your intimate friends (partyguy, dogsbestfriend, etc.)

Do use a phone greeting that identifies you by name, and make it very business like. You don't want to leave a perspective employer guessing if they got the right number. DON'T use some cute greeting or one your 4-year old has recorded that's really nice for the grandparents but hard for others to understand.

Do have personal business cards. They can be ones you print yourself on the computer or free ones such as from VistaPrint or ones you have printed at your local printer or office supply store. Do keep them simple and businesslike. DON'T get cutesy.

Do print your resume on good paper using a standard font and a simple, readable layout. A good white ink-jet or laser paper is fine. A serifed font such as New Times Roman is a good choice because it says "business." DON'T use colored paper (buff or light grey if you must) to try to attract attention or use a font like Comic Sans or add decorations.

Do keep your cell phone either turned off or on vibrate while meeting with potential employers. DON'T EVER let it ring with your favorite rap or rock cell tone.

The opportunity to make a good first impression is priceless. Don't blow it by being cute.

Jim Hughes is a Christian Life Coach helping people make successful career changes. To learn more about coaching or to contact Jim directly, visit Mapmaker Coaching.


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