60 Second Rule — Make a Great First Impression

The 60 Second rule

60 seconds is how much time you have to make a first impression. Not long, is it? It’s that first impression on which future employers will judge you, and it includes everything from what your social media sites say about you, and what impression your blog leaves, to your CV, covering letter, first call or interview with an employer, and everything in between.

This first 60 seconds makes a big difference. This is the time it takes for someone to make their mind up and make an initial assessment about you (often subconsciously, but they do it nevertheless).

Is this fair?

Probably not. But if you think about it, we do it all the time: If you go shopping, what do you buy? The thing that grabs your attention; the thing that stands out. If you see a top that doesn’t look or feel right, how often do you go back to the shop to buy it later? It’s the same when we meet people. We get gut feelings, make immediate decisions, and often find that those first impressions were right (or at least we think they’re right as we’ve already made the decision!)

Now you know that the first 60 seconds are crucial, you can give yourself a real competitive advantage.

Some top tips to make a great first impression

“Tell me about yourself….”

When you first speak to a prospective employer, the first question they will ask will be “tell me about yourself?” This is an answer you need to have ready. In order to be effective, it needs to be well thought-through, well prepared, and highly polished.

Tailor your cover letter

Tailor a cover letter for each application you send. There is a lot of competition for every job — employers and recruiters will receive hundreds (often more) CV’s every week. This is your opportunity to stand out, to shine. Use the cover letter as a chance to highlight relevant experience and how this relates to the job. The cover letter will be the first

piece of documentation that your potential employer sees — so work hard on making the right first impression.

Follow up

It’s also important to follow up your application in a telephone call. But be relevant, concise, and engaging. So, instead of calling with the usual opening line of “I just wanted to call to see if you received my CV”, or “is the job still available?”, have a few sentences prepared about how your experience relates directly to the job specified in the advert (just as you would in your cover letter). And don’t call 10 times a day — you don’t want to look like a stalker!

Have your answers ready…

Once you’ve grabbed the recruiter’s attention, and you’ve shown him or her that you have the skills for the job, it isn’t difficult to work out what the first couple of questions are going to be. Have the answers ready. Think about what you’re going to say in advance, and practice. It’s not easy to give good spontaneous answers when the pressure is on!

It is key here to present the important information about you to a potential employer in a straightforward and engaging way. These tips are pretty simple — they’re simple on purpose — but the sad fact is that most people do not make the extra effort; if you do, it will give you a real advantage.

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