When on a new job hunt, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to stand out from everyone else. This modern age makes it extremely difficult to appear distinctive because in most cases, you are not actually physically meeting your employer for the first few interactions with them.
Standing out requires creativity and uniqueness but, most importantly, leaving a strong first impression. Based on a study by the Journal of Applied Psychology, titled “Initial Impressions: What They Are, What They Are Not, and How They Influence Structured Interview Outcomes,” your first communication with an employer has a huge influence on your chances of getting that job.
Many people understand what it takes to make a good impression in the real world, but are those skills easily translated to the cyber world? What can you do to make a good first online impression, and how can these tactics help you stand out from the rest of the applicants?
Here are three ways you can appear as the four-leaf clover to an employer:
- Be The Best Emailer
Most likely, your first communication with your new employer or interviewer will be through email. These first emails will be the most critical way your employer can get a read on your personality before deciding to meet you. With that said, you must carefully choose what you say while responding within a short time span. This is possibly your only chance to prove you are more than an online presence. You are a real person.
A study by CareerBuilder in 2015 revealed 52 percent of companies look at a job applicant’s social media page to get a better idea of who the applicant is. And 30 percent of the time an employer passes on their candidate because of bad communication skills.
So how can you make sure you are responding appropriately? The first rule is obvious, but still often overlooked — make sure you have no spelling errors or typos and your punctuation is correct. Even in a casual email, typos are a sign of laziness and ignorance. A few misspellings or oddly structured sentences can make you look extremely unprofessional and unappealing.
Make sure you respond to the employer’s email accordingly, without including any irrelevant information. They will probably want to know your full name along with ways to contact you, including your number and your professional sounding email address, not about how your day is going or that you enjoy fishing.
- Be Friendly
Job seekers have a tendency to hold back their friendliness in wake of trying to look professional. It is important to be professional, but most importantly, employers want you to be your happy self.
Another study by CareerBuilder shows 72 percent of companies think ‘positivity’ is the most important personality trait that will help you get hired. Employers are looking for hard workers with “positive vibes,” so, prove that you can fit into this category.
Being friendly shows that you are able and willing to build a relationship. Employers want to see dedication. They want to see you are devoted to your relationships and to the work you do because they want someone they can trust. For instance, interviewers like to hear situations of when you “went the extra mile” for somebody or for a job because it shows that you really care.
This also means responding quickly to emails. A quick response to emails does not reveal desperation. Quickly replying shows that you are responsive, but it also reveals an eagerness to get started. Do not be afraid to end an interaction with a friendly closer like, “It would be great to speak with you soon” or “Feel free to contact me anytime.”
- Be Significant and Appropriate
In the real world, it is much easier to show your uniqueness. You have your own individual personality and look — which you have had experience showing through physical interactions with people. In the online world, it can be harder to portray accurately and consistently, especially with so many employers using multiple social media platforms to get an idea of who you are.
Fortunately, the Career Builder study found that 60 percent of employers are looking at your social media page to find supporting evidence of your qualifications, while only 21 percent of employers are actually looking for reasons not to hire you. So make sure your social media is up-to-date and shows who you are, across the board.
Showing your uniqueness will improve your appeal. It will increase the chances of your employer wanting to read your emails and also the chances of them going through your social media for all the right reasons. Consider how you win people over in the real world and implement that skill into an email.
Try to think about what would grab an employer’s attention in the subject line of an email. Be yourself without leaving any tracks of inappropriateness. Prove that you mean business and your chances of getting that job will be great.
Written by Val Matta