How humans are like chocolate bars… and three things you can do to avoid being left on the jobseeker shelf

As much as we might wish it wasn’t the case, first impressions are vital when you’re on the hunt for a new job or career.

Consider the chocolate bars that sit at that conveniently-placed shelf in a service station, literally right under your nose as you pay for the fuel you’ve just pumped outside.

They are all made of good stuff. They are all delicious. They are all either very good, or very bad for you, depending on your state of mind/state of diet/state of willpower. These days, chances are they are also all priced around the same, too.

This means that your selection of which chocolatey-lump-of-goodness to buy comes down to pretty much one thing… what impression its outside wrapper makes on you, the buyer.

Us humans aren’t much different. We form an opinion based on the first impression we get of the other person.

Someone’s even researched it to the point they know it happens in the first seven seconds of you meeting someone new.

Seven seconds! That’s nothing! Especially if you’re a talented, skilled and valuable applicant for a job that many other talented, skilled and valuable people are applying for as well.

So how can you go about making sure that YOUR job application is the one that gets the chocolates? That your wrapper makes the best impression on who you hope will be your future boss?

Start by taking a look over your personal wrapper; the elements that provide others with the first impression of you. Or, more precisely, the elements that provide potential employers with the first impression of you. These elements include:

  • Your social media profile/s

It’s a reality in this day and age of social media, that your prospective boss WILL look up your social media profiles. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn… they are all there for the world to see (even when you think you’ve bunkered down your settings.) Stand back – figuratively – and look at what these profiles say about you to someone who has never met you?

If you think there’s things your prospective employer might not like, it’s not only time to clean up your social media profile… it’s probably time to clean up your act. You might be given people other than future employers the wrong impression about who you really are.

  • Your cover letter and resume

Have you made sure your cover letter and resume is presented well? For starters, it should be typed. If you haven’t got access to a computer, visit your local library or local Government offices to find out where you can access a community computer. They can also help if you need to print or email your application and you don’t have access to a printer or Internet connection.

Secondly, make sure you’ve checked, checked and checked again for any spelling mistakes. There’s nothing that says, ‘can’t pay attention to detail’ like a resume and cover letter riddled with typos.

  • You

This is the tricky one. The one that means you must be very honest with your harshest critic – yourself. You need to be able to ask yourself – and honestly answer, ‘Am I presenting myself in a way that guarantees my prospective boss gets the best impression of who I am?’

Regardless of what the dress code of a job might be (we know that some jobs are more casual than others, and some are much more formal than others), or what kind of work you might end up doing, it’s really important that any time you present yourself as a future employee, you are:

  • Clean
  • Tidy (particularly when it comes to hair
  • Wearing clothes that fit and don’t show off too much skin
  • Wear clothes that aren’t damaged
  • Respectful in how you speak and act

We know that pulling this all together, even before you’ve applied for a job, can be a daunting prospect; that’s why WDEA Works’ Employment Consultants are available to go through the finer details that will ultimately form another person’s impression of you.

We’ve helped literally thousands of people find work and activities they love, working with jobseekers every day to ensure they can develop the skills and confidence necessary to find their place in the wider workforce.

We have offices in locations across regional Victoria and South East South Australia, full of people whose job it is to get others as well-presented as possible, to make the best impression possible.

Get in touch with one of our offices today about what we can do to help ensure you don’t get left on the jobseeker shelf.

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  • WDEA Works Employment division incorporates both Disability Employment Services and jobactive.
  • Disability Employment Services
  • jobactive