Tag Archives: Image

Endear Yourself to the Buyer

good news by phoneNobody likes to be a nobody, but unfortunately, that’s what you are at the beginning of the job search process, provided you’ve just joined the ranks of those in transition. Those who are the decision makers about your future do not initially know anything about you, so you have the chance to impress them, and you want to make darn sure it’s a very good impression.

So, how are you going to positively influence hiring managers, human resources folks, and recruiters? To start with, record brief greetings on both your answering machine at home and your mobile phone, and project a clear, mature, businesslike, and overall positive message. Your children are cute, I’m sure, but leave their greetings for sharing with family and friends and not potential employers. Next, get into the habit of answering your phone professionally. Answering with “Hello, this is John Doe,” with a friendly and inviting tone of voice, is best. Get into that habit even if you think you can identify the person via caller ID. Don’t make exceptions to the rule, because you’ll be sorry if you didn’t answer properly when it’s someone you really want to impress. You also want to make sure your e-mail address is nothing less than professional. An address like bigmama@yahoo.com or anything cute or sexy could be detrimental to that first impression.

Your next opportunity to create the right image is via your résumé. This is probably the single most important document you’ll be evaluated by, and it will determine whether the hiring folks want to invite you to an interview or not. Remember that the first impression is a lasting impression. This is an extremely critical stage because résumé readers typically review large numbers of résumés, and having only one opening to fill, their intention at this point is to reduce the number of résumés to three to five final candidates for interviewing. In fact, this process of reviewing the résumé is divided into two parts. The resume reader’s objective is to eliminate résumés that clearly seem to lack something. It might be something as simple as an unattractive appearance, improper use of language or grammar, lengthiness, overly detailed experience, or a lack of accomplishments.

On one hand, many résumés contain listings of job duties as described in job descriptions and not actual accomplishments. The résumé reviewer expects to read about accomplishments on the job. If your résumé doesn’t pass this 10- to 30-second scan, it’s likely that it will be set aside and never resurface again. Unfortunately, you’ll never find out that that was the case—except by the lack of any next steps.

On the other hand, if your résumé passes this first-blush review, it will be read thoroughly, along with another 10 or 12 others, and will be ranked on a competitive basis. Probably only three to five candidates will be called in for face-to-face interviews. With that decision, you move on to the next stage in the job search process, in which you have to get ready for the final test, which is to convince the hiring manager and others interviewing you that you are their ideal candidate. Good luck.


We Judge with Our Eyes

Photo by Jemal Countess-Getty Images)

Photo by Jemal Countess-Getty Images)

I am on vacation and not even on American soil. It is a vastly different milieu in almost every respect. I find myself continuously comparing, contrasting, judging, and labeling people. Of course, this continuous chatter is only in my head. I don’t share it with anyone, God forbid.

But isn’t that what we do in all instances when we see people? It’s even more critical when you go in for an interview. As a career coach, I counsel people every day—not only on how to answer interview questions correctly and how to avoid interview traps but also on how to let your body communicate the message you want to convey. Hiring managers and human resources folks read your body language and can tell whether there’s congruence between what you say in words and what your body says in motions.

Part of my coaching covers how to dress properly for an interview. I use an evaluation system to make sure you convey the right image. Men are faced with less of an issue on this subject than women are. It doesn’t cause me pleasure to tell clients to upgrade their clothing to fit the 21st century. Or to replace their large-size eyeglass frame with something more contemporary. Or to rethink their outdated hairstyle. Or even simply to get a haircut. An interviewee’s shoes need to be polished, and socks better match. But all of that is only part of the image a job candidate leaves behind and which will heavily influence the impression made on others. The words the interviewee uses are important too, but even that is not all. The overall image—the total impression—is what will be remembered.

My advice is that you ask a trusted source to tell you the truth about the impression you make and the image you leave behind. Family members are not the right people to ask. And don’t jeopardize a friendship by asking the wrong question and causing unease or embarrassment. It’s best to hire a career coach who is paid for giving such advice.