My cousin started at a new school a few weeks ago and was telling me that she’s worried about making the right first impression in order to ensure she makes friends.
Although this might seem trivial, it made me realise that in all stages of life, be it as a small child starting a new school, or being a graduate fresh from university walking into your first job interview, making the right impression is very important. In this blog, I am going to focus on how to make the right impression throughout the application process as although opinions may change, people will always remember you from the first time they met you.
We all love going to careers fairs; for some students a careers fair is a time to bag themselves some free ‘goodies’ – pens, stress balls, sweets, the list goes on. What students tend to forget is the purpose of these fairs – they are an opportunity to find out more about the company you would like to work for before submitting an application.
It is important to realise that, even at events such as careers fairs, first impressions are important as for the most part, the people on the stalls at the careers fairs will be in some way involved in the application process and therefore those people who have done their research prior to the fair and who ask relevant questions instantly stand out from the crowd. So, perhaps when your friends are excited about bagging some ‘goodies’, you might be able to see the long term benefits of putting some effort into what may seem like a fairly casual event by making a good impression on the day.
In terms of job applications, making a great first impression on paper is also extremely important. When I was applying for my placement I submitted hundreds of applications, and without much experience in job applications, I found myself falling into all the usual traps. It shames me to say that in the first instance I wasn’t really putting much thought into my applications and, in fact, most of the time I was ‘copy and pasting’ from one application to the next. However, recruiters will quickly be able to spot ‘boiler plate’ applications, and this is an instant red flag to let them know that the applicant wasn’t that passionate about the role they were applying for. Need I say more about the outcome of my applications for those jobs?
Luckily, I learned from my experience so when applying for graduate roles, I focused on only a select few companies for whom I was keen to work for. Prior to applying to Grant Thornton, I did a lot of research and spoke to various friends who had worked for Grant Thornton and other firms during their placement year. My advice therefore would be to make sure you put a lot of thought into your applications, and really let the recruiter know why they are perfect for you – give them a great impression of who you are and what you are passionate about.
When it comes to interview and assessment centre stage, needless to say, choice of clothing on the day is fairly important! Research shows that people start to form an impression of a person based on what they are wearing before even speaking to them. You wouldn’t normally wear a suit to a night club, so you shouldn’t wear any inappropriate evening wear to an interview either. Always dress smart.
Before walking into reception, if you are nervous (it is normal to be nervous), take a deep breath, smile, and walk in. Smiling helps to show that you are confident, and subconsciously helps you to feel that you really are confident, which sets you up for making a good first impression.
My final piece of advice then, is this: Always be yourself. No matter what happened and how you felt about the interview you had, always remain confident and friendly. There is no better way to give a great impression of you, than by being yourself!
If you have any questions the team will be happy to help, so feel free to post on the forums!