Thursday, April 2, 2015

Are You Making a Good First Impression in Your Job Search?

Are You Making a Good First Impression in Job Search [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Focus on others to make a good
first impression while job searching.
By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

Introverts and shy people have many strong points to use in the job search, as I have described in other posts. But our introverted natures may work against us when first impressions count. And nowhere do first impressions count more than in job searching, especially in job interviews.

In looking for employees, employers first and foremost want workers who can do the job. But the impression you make--good or bad--influences employers who also want employees who will communicate well, get along with others, serve customers congenially, smile, be friendly, and be excited about the job.

Because introverts and shy people are by nature more internally focused and get socially drained, we can inadvertently come across as unfriendly, uninterested in others, aloof, stuck up, crabby, eager to get away, and even somewhat hostile.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for creating a good impression during your job hunt. Although most of the following points sound pretty basic, introverts can sometimes forget to do them because we are not outwardly oriented and may get nervous, uncomfortable, and depleted during social interactions:
  • Smile. Smiling will ease any interaction. Practice smiling if necessary so it feels and looks natural.
  • Make and maintain eye contact. Be sure to look at people when they speak to you and vice versa. If you look away frequently or avoid eye contact, you may not seem interested or trustworthy.
  • Watch your body language and nervous habits. Be sure to sit up straight, lean in toward others, and listen attentively. Avoid bad body language—such as slumping in a chair, tapping your foot, checking the time, or gazing out a window—that indicates you would rather be somewhere else.
  • Greet everyone. Be sure to say hello and good-bye. Shake hands firmly with people you meet.
  • Be friendly. Don’t ignore people you come across during your job search, such as receptionists, security staff, door people, and other employees you encounter at an organization. A nod and a slight smile will go a long way if you aren’t introduced.
  • Show enthusiasm and energy. Make a point to walk energetically, speak with excitement, and let potential employers know you are interested in their openings. You can recharge later if needed.
  • Use small talk. Small talk lubricates conversation. Come up with a few phrases to use or questions to ask if small talk is awkward for you. Examples: “How are you today?” “Nice to meet you.” “How long have you worked here?” 
  • Say thank you. Be sure to thank anyone who gives time to you during your job search, including human resources staff, interviewers, managers, and other employees. 
Using the list above, assess how you may be coming across in your job hunt. Then make an effort to improve and turn the first impressions you make into a lasting job relationship. 

What tips can you share for making a good first impression during the job search?

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