You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

As the familiar saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression". So, let’s just hope the first impression that you DO make is a positive one – especially when you’re in the market for a new job!

When looking for employment, most people meticulously update their resume, choose the perfect power suit, and arrive extra early for the interview; however, there is one crucial detail that some people seriously overlook--it is their email address. Over the years, Ignite has received numerous resumes and cover letters from applicants with email addresses that make one stand back and say, “You’ve GOT to be kidding!”

I first recall receiving a resume from Needless to say, that individual did not get a call to schedule an interview! Since then, I have become somewhat obsessed with people’s email addresses and in essence, what their address “says” about the individual. Recently, and came across my desk. I asked myself, “Are these applicants trying to be funny? Are they even aware of how silly they sound? Do they think a potential employer will seriously consider applicants who describe themselves as a nut and/or bored?” “Is really from royalty or is she just high maintenance?”, and may be highly qualified for the job, but they already have a strike against them, before I even open their resume. Not only are these email addresses unprofessional and inappropriate, they also lead one to believe that the applicants are not to be taken seriously.

Do you want a potential employer to notice you because of your comical email address or because of your skills and credentials? Do yourself a favor and create a professional email address on yahoo, hotmail, or gmail--it only takes a few seconds and could make the difference between your resume getting put into the “yes” file or the “circular” one!

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Ignite Friday, February 4, 2011 @ 11:54 AM   0 Comments

Cover Letter Catastrophes

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been assisting a client who is looking to hire an office manager for her small firm. Not being a full time recruiter, I’ve been overwhelmed sorting through the plethora of cover letters and resumes, weeding out the under/over qualified ones, and setting up telephone screening interviews with those who seem to fit the basic job requirements.

Research indicates that employers will spend no more than 30 seconds (and that’s if you’re lucky) reading a cover letter to determine if it’s worth their time to read further into the resume. So, what makes a cover letter stand out with a positive impression, so the hiring manager wants to learn more about you?

Well, based on my recent experience, here are a few “What NOT to Do’s” , if you want to be considered for the first phase of the selection process:
• Don’t misspell the name of the company or the person to whom you’re applying. (It’s almost like calling your new girlfriend by your old girlfriend’s name. Never a good thing!)
• Don’t embed smiley faces or cartoons in your letter. (Unless, of course, you’re six years old and looking to join a Brownie Troop, a :-) is not appropriate!)
• Avoid overdoing it with descriptive words about yourself. One candidate wrote, “I am smart, reliable, organized, calm, happy, easygoing, hardworking, dedicated, loyal, honest and tenacious” all in one sentence. (Wow! It’s a good thing she didn’t write that she is concise and to the point.)
• Don’t write your entire life story in a cover letter; on the other hand, don’t be too brief and overly familiar. One candidate simply wrote, “Cheers!” and signed her name.
• Unless you’re applying for a role in a religious organization, don’t put quotes from the Bible, Koran, etc. (You may think Jesus is “the way”, but keep it to yourself).
• Be sure not to claim that you’re a detail-oriented individual and fail to catch even one spelling error in your letter.
• Above all, don’t fail to ask someone who has good editing skills to proofread your letter (as well as your resume and any other correspondence to a potential employer) for grammar, spelling, formatting, etc. You only have a few brief seconds to make that first impression – make sure it’s a positive and professional one and takes you to the next step of landing the job!

So…make sure that your cover letter is concise, professional and grammatically correct. Gear the letter to the specific person/company to whom you are applying and wait for that telephone to ring or for that awaited email response!

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Ignite offers a variety of transforming programs that can propel you and your organization to brilliant successes. And we have experience in a wide range of industries, so we can tailor each session to specifically address your needs and goals. To learn more please contact us.