First impressions are everything

First impressions are incredibly important and none more so than when you are applying for a job. Your first encounter with your future employer starts when you send them your CV and covering letter. Most people think it’s at interview stage and plough lots of time and effort into researching and preparing for this, forgetting the other crucial elements that get you to that stage in the first place.

Here are a few things to remember:

Make sure you put effort and time into your CV and covering letter, as this is imperative in today’s market. Essentially these are the initial tools that will get you an interview. The information you provide on both of these documents needs to be up to date, correct and double checked for mistakes. Ask a friend or family member to look over them for you, as a new set of eyes could help minimise mistakes. Make sure dates on your CV tally up, duties are correct and in a logical order and the CV is easy to interpret. Employers do not want to have to decipher a CV; the relevant information should jump out at them.

Your covering letter should state essential information including your housing licence, address, contact details and availability. It should also state why you applying for a certain role and more specifically why you feel you are suited to it. You need to address your positives and what you feel your strengths are in this letter and not dwell on any negatives, or things you feel you are bad at. Your covering letter should be used as a selling point in order to market yourself. It should be short and snappy and make the person it’s addressed to want to meet you.

Any information you are offering in ether your CV or covering letter needs to be 100% correct. As an example, when listing your education make sure the grades you are providing are the right ones, as you can be asked to evidence these at interview or offer stage. If the information is found not to be right then an offer can be revoked and you may of already handed your notice in, which is never a nice situation to be in. Its worth being incredibly cautious when getting all of this information together.

When drafting a covering letter or emailing your CV to a client make sure to keep your correspondence professional at all times. Being over familiar at this early stage can be seen as unprofessional. Check your spelling, grammar and keep things formal and to the point. You are seeking employment not conversing with a friend. How you portray yourself at this stage can be a deciding factor in terms of being interviewed or not.

Should you be using email to contact a prospective employer then make sure your email address is not a comedy one! If need be set up a new address specifically for employment purposes.

Facebook is a tool used by many HR professionals and employers, they will often Google the name on an application and see what comes up, and as standard Facebook comes up in most cases. Make sure anything that is on your Facebook page is fit for employment purposes and that photos do not show a side of you that an employer would not appreciate. We have known offers to be revoked on the back of a candidates Facebook profile/pictures. Facebook should not be underestimated in how it’s used by employers, so you need to make sure your account settings are set at the highest they can be, restricting anyone looking at photos, links or updates that potentially could impact on all the other hard work you have done in getting your CV and covering letter right.

When using social media you need to think about how you are portrayed and potentially who could see this side of you. Although many people will see it as something they do in their spare time, it’s worth giving it a second thought whilst seeking employment, especially if your security settings leave them open for anyone to see.

Putting time into your CV, covering letter and how you could be perceived by those who do not yet know you is really important and should be taken seriously. The current market requires you to put in a little bit of extra effort in order to stand out from the crowd!