Making a Good First Impression

OK, it has been quite some time since I have posted – sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in the day!  My day job has turned into two jobs and things have been a bit busy lately…

Most of us have seen all of the employment statistics coming out month-after-month: unemployment is low, there are lots of jobs that need to be filled, and many folks who have been on the sidelines at home for whatever reason are coming back to the job market.  In most respects, the US economy is on an upward track (at least until our President has another Twitter attack).

While there are lots of jobs available it doesn’t mean you will be qualified and/or receive an offer for each job you apply.  As a gray-haired, overweight guy of a certain age, I would like to think there isn’t age discrimination out there but there is; if you have been out of work for a while, despite your experiences, potential employers may pass you by for a variety of reasons.   Your job, before you are extended a job offer or even get an opportunity to interview, is to prove you can do the job better than anyone else.  If you have been out of work for a while, that might be compounded as there might be a hidden prejudice thinking you are not up to date on the latest technology or maybe a particular role would be beneath you and a blow to your pride.

Let’s talk about the technological aspect first.  I still believe in cover letters, as they serve as an introduction and an opportunity to grab someone’s attention.  I do realize email is today and postal mail was yesterday, but please make sure you are professional in your email introduction.  I absolutely hate emails from people who either don’t know me, or casually know me, that start off with “Hey Michael.”  Hey?  Your email cover letter and attached resume have to be 100% perfect: no typos, misspelled words, formatting issues, etc.  Do not communicate with a “cute” or “fun” font!  Potential employers may forgive those type of errors if the applicant is younger as the stereotype is they don’t know any better.  If you are older, it might be seen as an example of you do not know how to use technology.

Make sure your email address is yours, yours only, and not something shared with a family member as it does look unprofessional.  Whatever your name is, try to incorporate it in a professional manner – for example, if your name is Bill Johnson, try to incorporate that in an email address.  Don’t use something with a cute name like bigbadbill@whatever.com as, again, it looks unprofessional.  If you don’t have your own email address, go get one: there are hundreds of providers out there who offer them for free.

If you don’t hear back from people, that’s ok: in any job search, you need to develop thick skin – but we’ll talk about that in a future post.

Short and sweet, sure: I’ll be back soon!

Have a great week-

Michael Gallagher

 

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