Friday, July 25, 2014

Job Hunting First Impressions

When job hunting, as in many social contexts, first and early impressions count. Too frequently, candidates forget to consider the multiple ways they make first or early impressions.

Of courses, there is the obvious-your cover letter.  Have you had it edited by someone other than yourself? I am not grammar or typo fiend (I am sure you have found more than a few in this blog), but your cover letter is not a time for casual and incorrect writing. You MUST have it proofread by at least one other person. Personally, I would pay an editor to look at it. When you pay someone, the level of obligation changes, and they are trained to catch little errors.

The same  goes for your CV and other materials you will submit for the application.

Now, consider the not so obvious. Say you have a SKYPE video interview. How does the room you will meet in look? Is it professional? Messy? Is your computer in good order? Have you practiced using SKYPE? Have solid internet connections?

Think about phone conversations, emails, ect- are you coming across professionally?

These are the type of details you need to pay attention to. You need to come across as someone who pays attention to details.  That is a hard thing for some of us to get our minds around; we want to "be ourselves" as as graduate students and have perhaps let the more idiosyncratic, alternative aspect of our personality come to the fore.

I am not saying it is time to abandon who you are. If you are a casual, radial person, so be it! We area all allowed our quirks (check out the long curly hair in this dude, and if you know me, my penchant for off color language). Yet, in the job hunting process, we must portray a professional demeanor. When in doubt, low key. This is especially true if your work is a bit outside the box. That is my rule of thumb- the more alternative you are, the more conservative you should be in attending to the "details." Its about balance. If you are conservative by nature, and you are applying to a more quirky department, consider that.

Guys, I am sorry, but that means nice dress shoes and at least a sports coat. Yes, wear a tie!. Women, seek the advice of others on this, but dress sharp.

Spend some of your daily writing time considering all the details you should attend to. Its worth the effort.

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