First impressions can get you fired or hired

Making a good first impression is important on any occasion, but one of the most important first impressions you will ever make is the day you start a new job. This is true for both temporary assignments and for full time positions. I have had people get hired on their first day of a temporary assignment because they made such a great first impression, and I have also had people get fired after only a few days in a full time position because they made a poor first impression. What are a few rules of thumb when it comes to making a good first impression when starting any new job be it temporary or permanent?

1) Always dress professionally your first day (I recommend wearing a suit) unless otherwise informed by the company or your recruiter. It is better to be over-dressed then under-dressed.

2) Show up at least 15 minutes early. The worst thing you can do the first day of a new job is to show up late.

3) Be prepared! Find out in advance what you need to know before your first day. For example, finding out if there is any paperwork that needs to be completed.

4) Be polite to everyone in the office from the receptionist to the executives.

5) Listen attentively to everything that is said to you.

6) Take notes if and when necessary regarding your new job duties.

7) Stick to the allotted break time and lunch time until otherwise informed.

If you don’t know what is appropriate when it comes to office etiquette, then don’t be afraid to ask! Each company has it’s own policies and procedures.

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Does it matter who sends your resume?

YES! It is extremely important that you know who sent your resume and when it was sent. One of the downfalls of working with numerous recruiters is that your resume can accidentally be sent to the same company twice. Some companies may disqualify you from the position if this happens as it makes you look unorganized.

It is important to keep meticulous track of where your resume has been sent, by whom it was sent, and when it was sent. Many job seekers do not know this, but when I recruiter sends your resume over to a company for a position, that recruiter typically has “ownership” of that resume for anywhere from 6 months to 1 year. This is why you want to be certain you always know who is sending your resume and that you only work with recruiters that are looking out for your best interests.

It can hurt your chances of getting a job if your resume is sent to the same company by two different parties. This is why I recommend putting together an Excel spreadsheet that lists all of the following information:

The date your resume was sent.
Who sent your resume (ie. you, an agency etc…).
The company your resume was sent to.
The position your resume was submitted for.

If you keep track of this information it will help you to avoid confusion with the company and/or the agency you are working with and it will make you look like you are on top of your game. Both the company and the agency will appreciate it. It will also help you if you want to resubmit your resume for another position within the same company. If you have this information you can mention it in your cover letter that your resume was submitted for another position on XYZ date.

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Should you be grateful for your job, even if you don’t like it?

How important is it to be grateful for a job, even if you don’t like it? Very! I have news for those of you out there who are ungrateful for your job, your boss knows it and eventually it can come back to bite you in the butt! Being both a recruiter and a career coach, I speak with thousands of job seekers every year and hundreds of employers. It is very interesting to hear what both employers and employees have to say given the current market conditions. It is my prediction that next year we are going to see a lot of “red rover, red rover, everyone switches jobs over.”

The reason I think this is going to happen is because there are a lot of ungrateful and fed up employees and employers out there. Many of the job seekers I talk to feel under appreciated and taken advantage of in this economy. Often, they may feel like an extra burden has been put on them, and that they are being under-compensated for the extra work they are performing. On the flip side, a lot of employers feel that their employees are taking it for granted that they have a paying job and benefits in this tough economy. So what does this mean for everyone?

It means that unless people put on their gratitude glasses, there is going to be a lot of unrest and movement in the coming months. As soon as employers begin to see the market turning around and more business coming in the doors, they will let go of the employees who are “ungrateful” for their jobs because they will finally feel confident enough to find above average replacements for the employees they currently have. This also means that employees are going to feel more confident in their ability to find something out there and will begin to go on more interviews.

Some people may choose to make a change because they truly are dissatisfied and there is nothing their employer can do to change their situation, but others can avoid having to go through the difficulty of finding something new simply by putting on their gratitude colored glasses. So what are gratitude glasses and how can you put them on? Everyone has heard the term “rose-colored glasses” and knows that means seeing the world through a “rosy” point of view. I have come up with a new concept which is that you can choose a different perspective or set of glasses every day to come from which can empower you. One example of this is gratitude. When I say that you can put on a pair of “gratitude colored glasses,” this simply means to choose to come from a perspective of gratitude for that day or that week or that month.

When you choose to put on your gratitude colored glasses, you are then choosing to see everything that happens to you through the lens of gratitude. Even if you get blown off by your boss or get in an argument with someone at the office, you find a way to be grateful for that fight or that upset and learn from it. If both employers and employees could learn to do this, there would be a lot less movement in people’s jobs and a lot more happiness for everyone in the workplace in general. Next time your boss gets frustrated with you, try to find a way to learn something from that situation and be grateful for what you learn.

I will leave you with a wonderful quote from a friend of mine who was looking for a job. I had told him my “gratitude colored glasses” theory and he emailed me:

Subject: My Gratitude Glasses – Thought You Would Appreciate This

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melodie Beattie

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Where do I find a good sample resume?

Why reinvent the wheel when there are 1000’s of resume templates to choose from. One of my favorite suggestions for creating a new resume is using “Resume Wizard” in Microsoft Word. It is very easy to use. Just follow the instructions below and you will have automatic access to 100’s of FREE resume templates for a variety of professions.

Using the wizard

  1. On the File menu, click New.
  2. In the New Document task pane
    (task pane: A window within an Office program that provides commonly
    used commands. Its location and small size allow you to use these
    commands while still working on your files.)
    , under Templates, click On my computer.
  3. Click the Other Documents tab.
  4. Double-click Resume Wizard.

If you do not see this wizard (wizard: A feature that asks questions and then creates an item, such as a form or Web page, according to your answers.) in the Templates dialog box, you might need to install it.

  1. Follow the steps in the wizard.

*You can find this information at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/create-a-resume-HP005189612.aspx

Once you have the template, fill in the blanks and style it to make it your own. Additionally, I suggest adding your Linkedin URL if you have one. It is important to have your resume proofread by at least 1 or 2 other people. You can pay someone hundreds or even thousands of dollars to revise it for you, but I highly encourage you to give it a try on your own first that way it truly expresses who you are to an employer and saves you money!

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Is it ever appropriate to cancel an interview?

Is it ever appropriate to cancel an interview and if so, how should you go about doing it without burning your bridges? 

It is not suggested that you go around canceling interviews that you set up for yourself or that your recruiter sets up for you, but there are occasions where it may be appropriate to cancel your interview. Often times, you are not familiar with a company until you begin to research them prior to your initial interview. I personally have all of my job seeker candidates thoroughly research a company prior to any interview and come up with at least “5 reasons why they want to work for the company, 5 reasons why the company should want to hire them and 5 questions regarding the position.” If a job seeker cannot think of 5 strong reasons why they might want to work for this employer, then the position might not be worth going in for an interview.  I respect and appreciate the job seeker when they get in communication with me early to let me know the position might not be the right fit for them.

Employers and recruiters appreciate it when you are honest with them and do not go to an interview just for the sake of going. We know your time is valuable and appreciate it when you show us the same respect for our time. There have been several occasions throughout my career where a job seeker has researched a company and realized that the position is not in line with their “wishlist”. Typically, my client will appreciate their honesty, and will not hold it against them if another position comes up down the road that might be a better fit. If you do intend to cancel an interview, please do try to give your recruiter or potential employer ample notice.
On occasion, there might be other occasions where it is acceptable to cancel an interview, but always keep in mind, once you cancel the interview the first time, you might not be able to get a second interview. 

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