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“The jobs don’t exist – they’re all fake”, “your CV just goes into a black hole”, “I’ll never find anything, I don’t have enough experience.”

If you are job hunting with very little success, these are phrases you have probably uttered (or it might just have crossed your mind). In some cases, they may be true but it could also be the fact that you need to invest a little more time and effort into selling yourself to potential employers and setting a great first impression.

For example, print company Quinnstheprinters.com ran a competition which helped a job seeking a student to attract potential employers by offering them billboard space to advertise their talents.

The winner, design student, Keighley Hand, received countless messages from intrigued employers after the billboard went live, and saw her website traffic triple, too.

Of course, you don’t need to rent billboard space to get a job, but as Keighley proved, it pays to think outside the box.

This article will give you some hints and tips on how to set yourself apart from your competitors and give yourself the best chance of securing your next role.

1. Sell Your Skills

The cover letter is the first thing the recruiter will see, so how do you make sure yours offers something a little different?

There are some simple, yet effective ways to give your cover letter the edge. Instead of using the generic salutation on your cover letter, get the name of someone from the recruitment team or whoever is likely to be reviewing your CV.

The personal touch can make all the difference! Cover letters should be relatively short and sweet, so highlight your main career accomplishments and align these with the requirements of the job.

The employer should be able to see the value you can bring to the business, just with a quick browse of your cover letter. Make sure the format is clear and easy to read. Get to the point, but be clear about what you can offer.

2. Creative Cvs

Depending on the industry you are applying to, a creative CV can be a good way to grab the attention of potential employers. Just take a look at this one as a great example of a highly creative CV, which went viral! If you have the creativity to think up something ingenious like this, why not give it a try!

Remember though, it is only likely to work in creative industries. You can also stand out by keeping your CV concise and to the point, focus on major achievements and be precise about these, using stats if possible!

General CVs will say things like ‘I have great communication skills’, but what does that really say to the recruiter? Not much! An alternative to this is to say, ‘I successfully presented to 2,000 people at a key event’ or ‘I implemented change in the business and communicated it to the team.’

These are great examples of how to show that you have actually done what you say and it can be a good opener for discussion during the interview.

3. Know Your Audience

If you really want to build a great first impression at the interview stage, there are a few tricks you can pull out your sleeve. Firstly, be the best-dressed person in the room. You only have one opportunity to impress, so make sure you pull out all the stops with your outfit.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to wear a ballgown to your interview, but a smart suit, groomed hair, and clean shoes are a good start. You should also show your most positive side by being upbeat throughout the interview, smiling and maintaining eye contact throughout the interview.

It won’t hurt to find out a little more about the interviewer before the interview and LinkedIn is a great tool to use to extract this information. If you know a little about the interviewer, you can use it to build a bit of rapport.

There’s no need to rhyme off their full career history though. They may find this a little intrusive and off-putting

Recruit Millennial-Boss-Make Your First Impression Last

Businesspeople planning on a glass wall

4. Use Keywords

If you want employers to find you on social media, you should aim to use keywords on your profile, such as your skills and abilities. It is important to be careful with your social media and ensure it represents you in a positive way.

Employers tend to look at social media these days to find out a little more about candidates and if you are negative, it won’t create a very good first impression. Your social media should reflect your personality, so keep it upbeat and as professional as possible. Stand out for all the right reasons

5. Increase Your Connections

Word of mouth can be a wonderful tool for building good first impression, especially when you’re job hunting, so if you don’t have many connections – it’s time to get them! Research conducted by Deloitte has revealed that many organizations are using employee referrals as there most effective way of hiring staff. Over half of the employers surveyed said employee referrals were their top source for the hiring of great staff members.

It looks like employee referrals are not just a highly effective way of recruiting, but also for retaining staff, with referrals having a 42% retention rate. It is no wonder then that more and more employers are focusing on employee referrals, so as the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.’

Although in this case, it is probably a good mix of the two. Increasing your connections can definitely help with referrals, so start engaging on social media, attending some networking events and generally get yourself out there, and you never know what might happen!

If you have the talent, but just need to get noticed by employers, these tips should help you achieve some great results to build a great first impression. The job market can be so competitive that you need to be proactive and set yourself apart from the others.

Don’t panic, it doesn’t mean that you suddenly need to come up with a CV like the Amazon guy or indeed get your very own billboard, it is more a case of being subtle, but ensuring you attract attention for all the right reasons to make a great first impression.


Written By
Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR based in Armagh, Northern Ireland, with a background in web content creation and management. She writes for Mackenzie and Dorman, solicitors with offices in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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