First Impressions

We are taught not to judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately it is not always that easy, and you will quite often find yourself doing this without even realising it. For example, if you went out for dinner and two identical tasting dishes are placed in front of you, one beautifully presented and one not, which would you choose?

The First Impression is imperative to the success of your job application, you need to be aware when and how the first impressions are occurring.

Through the job application process you will have the opportunity to make a number of first impressions.

Pressure in applying for jobs in today’s times are at an all time high. The market is flooded with supply and depending on your field of expertise, the need to stand out from the crowd, is increasingly difficult.

Being aware of the ‘First Impression’ stages you can ensure you are ‘kicking goals’ at every opportunity. The tips below are not new or innovative ideas, however, by being aware of these stages and ensuring you are prepared and ‘game fit’. They are incredibly powerful in ensuring you are noticed.

These First Impressions are:

1. Cover Letter and Application
2. Phone Screen
3. Interview

At each of the above stages you need to be aware that the individual at the other end will be making a subconscious judgement on:

The presentation of your cover letter and resume
How you sound on the phone
How you presented at the interview

Therefore the importance in ensuring your cover letter and resume are tailored to the position you applying for, free from any typo or grammatical error and most importantly ATTRACTIVELY presented  is imperative in order to be successful in moving to the next stage.

The Phone Screen can be difficult as this call is often unexpected. You may be shopping, or at work or out for lunch. Very seldom do these calls come through at a convenient time. In my role, I make a high volume of phone screen calls. From my experience, there are a couple pointers I would be confident in passing on.

If you are not in a position to talk, let the caller know. Ask for their number and a suitable time to call them back. This allows you to stay control. You can call them when you have had the chance to:

  • Refresh your memory on what position it was you applied for
  • Ensure you are in a quiet location where you can concentrate
  • Prepare any questions you may have
  • Most importantly, have your diary ready on the chance you are invited in for an interview.

If the person on the other end is not available to speak at another time, you need to take the call.

I would recommend standing up when talking, walk around, smile and listen carefully to the conversation. Your enthusiasm, friendliness and interest in the role are all very important as the caller will be making a judgement.

The Interview; you have worked really hard in making a solid impression and now you need to meet the employer. In those first few seconds when you meet, you have to be 'ready to go' as this will make a powerful impression and enable the interview to run smoothly. If not done correctly, you will be up against it from the start.


  • Do not be late
  • Do not be more than 5 minutes early
  • Do not smoke before the interview
  • Make sure your perfume or aftershave is not over powering
  • Dress appropriately (I would always try to be over dressed rather than under dressed)


  • Smile and be happy
  • Show interest
  • Ask questions
  • And be prepared


All the best!

Mark Smith, Regional Manager     

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