Four Communication & Digital First Impression Blunders to Avoid During Your Job Search

First impressions can make or break you, and you don’t always get the chance to redeem yourself. That’s why it is extremely important to always put your best foot forward- especially as a job seeker! Here are some obvious, and not so obvious, first impression killers.

Did you know that a third of Managers say they know within the first 30-90 seconds of meeting a candidate if the person has a shot at getting hired? First impressions can make or break you, and you don’t always get the chance to redeem yourself. That’s why it is extremely important to always put your best foot forward- especially as a job seeker! Here are some obvious, and not so obvious, first impression killers.

Voicemail

There are a few ways voicemail can impact the impression you give.

  1. No voicemail set up - A recruiter thinks you’re a great candidate and wants to chat, but your mailbox isn’t set up for them to leave a message…now what? A quality voicemail is incredibly important, so set one up and then scope it out!
  2. Full mailbox - Again, someone thinks you are a great fit for a position and wants to talk, but can’t leave a message because your mailbox is full. So now the impression could be that you’re unreliable on follow-up and/or difficult to get in touch with.
  3. Recorded voicemail greeting - You may think it’s funny to have a greeting such as “Hello…just kidding, I’m not available right now so leave a message,” but the hiring manager probably didn’t appreciate the deception.
  4. The message you leave - Please don’t assume the person has caller ID or is a genie that can figure out who you are. Include both name and number, and don’t talk so fast that the message has to be played three times in order to catch all the digits. You will likely be leaving voicemails back for Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists, so practice leaving a voicemail for yourself and listen back.
  5. The length of your voicemail - Leave the key details like name, number and reason for the call, not your whole life story. Aim to keep your voicemails to 30 seconds if possible, and definitely under 45-60 seconds.

A third of Managers say they know within the first 30-90 seconds of meeting a candidate if the person has a shot at getting hired.

Email

  1. Address - Keep it professional. If you can’t give up the account using your AIM screen name from middle school like kickinboo@yahoo.com, then at least set up a separate email address used specifically for job searching.
  2. Etiquette - This is not a text, so don’t be too casual with it. Use proper grammar and punctuation. It’s hard to take someone seriously when their email has zero punctuation and is riddled with smiley faces.
  3. Structure - No one wants to read a page long, single paragraph email. Keep it concise and break up the information into bite size pieces.
  4. Lacking a “call to action” - Include the purpose of your email and appeal to the reader to take action and respond. As a career coach, nothing is more frustrating than receiving an email that just says “I’d like to get help and use your services.” That’s great, but what exactly do you need help with? Determine what your goal/request is and make that clear.

Social media

  1. Profile photo - It sure does say a lot about you. A mirror selfie might have been cute for Myspace, but not LinkedIn. Even something as simple as wearing sunglasses in your photo makes you appear less trustworthy. You don’t need to pay someone for a professional headshot, but grab a friend and ask them to take a bunch of pictures on your smart phone in a well-lit area that doesn’t have a distracting background. Be sure to turn on that winning smile of yours so you come across as approachable and friendly!
  2. Content and interactions - You will be judged for what you post and how you interact. Avoid using social sites like personal diaries and don’t reference political views, drugs, profanity, etc.

Typos

…of any kind in anything. Email, resume, cover letter, social media post, you name it. Technology has offered us a number of resources to help with this. There is no excuse for not correcting misspelled words clearly underlined with red squiggly in your resume.

Set yourself up for successful first impressions. These are just a few things that can be polished, but don’t stop there. Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog about interview first impressions!