Your first impression begins the moment you apply for a job, even before you’ve spoken to any prospective employers. Your CV, portfolio, and social media pages are all reflections of who you are going to be as an employee, so it is well worth paying some special attention to even small details such as formatting. If you’re applying for a position you really want, taking the effort to proofread everything (twice!) will make a massive difference to your application. Trying to reflect your creativity within your application is a great way to create a strong impression without necessarily forcing it. You can do this in a myriad of ways - uploading a video on your LEAP profile, for example, or discussing how your love for Game of Thrones links closely to your passion and knowledge of Politics and Economics. Your employers first learn about you through your written application, so don’t be afraid to set yourself apart a little by letting your personality shine through yours.
Though this fact doesn’t surprise anyone, many people confuse making a strong impression at an interview with being bold and abrasive. A figure you may have seen quoted pretty often is that it takes interviewers all of 90 seconds to decide whether or not an applicant is right for a role. This is not wholly true - a key figure that is often eliminated when this statistic gets reported is that only 33% of respondents felt this way, which mean most hiring managers actually take a little more time before jumping into any conclusions about a prospective candidate. Psychologist Amy Cuddy describes the winning element in settings like job interviews as having ‘presence’, which she defines as “The way that I see presence is that it’s the state of being attuned and able to comfortably express your true self — your values, your beliefs, your skills, your passions. To be attuned to them and able to deliver them — especially under pressure”. In a now famous TED talk, she talks about making a strong first impression under pressure, and adopting power poses to help aid this. Instead of worrying about being charismatic, funny or charming, focus instead on staying calm enough to indicate your personality and passion for the role you’re applying to.
While it’s great to promise flexibility and talk about your proficiency in IT skills, walking in the next day and asking if you can leave early while googling how to use Photoshop is not going to bode well at your new workspace. Ensure you stay honest on your application and in person to back up your incredible application with your amazing personality, and you’ll land that dream job in no time!
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