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What can job seekers do to make a positive first impression?

Ask the Employer

This month, members of the Frederick County Workforce Development Board (who represent both public and private organizations in Frederick County) were asked the following question:

"To a prospective employer, what is the most important thing a job seeker can do to make a good first impression?"

Here are their suggestions:

"Be clear on what you are looking for, tying your interest in the role to your passions, skills and experience.  This demonstrates that you are not just "looking for a job" but "looking for the right job" and will enable you to tell me why you are interested in this particular role."

- Nikki Moberly, Cisco Systems

"Making a great first impression is so important for job seekers! One of the best ways to do this is to properly prepare for the interview. Work with a job coach or a trusted friend to practice interviewing. If you're not sure where to start, contact Frederick County Workforce Services for interviewing assistance. By mastering these practice interview questions, you'll feel more confident and ready for the actual interview. The interview is an opportunity to show your "best self," so make sure you dress professionally, plan to arrive a few minutes early, come prepared with copies of your resume (and any other documents the interviewer requested), and answer interview questions to the best of your ability."

- Amanda Haddaway, Folcomer Equipment Corporation

"One of the most important things a prospective new employee can do to make a good first impression is to have knowledge about the employer.  Has the applicant visited the employer's website or taken time to chat with current employees or customers?  There is a difference between trying to find any job that pays and targeting a career that can match skills and interests between an employer and employee.  Therefore, a job seeker needs to do homework before filling out the application and/or preparing a resume.  Once in the interview, the applicant needs to demonstrate he or she has unique qualities that can contribute to and enhance the mission of the employer."

- Ann Bonitatibus, COO, Frederick County Public Schools

"Arrive 15 minutes early, dressed appropriately.  The applicant should have some basic knowledge of the position and some good questions."

- Blaine Young, President, Board of County Commissioners

"The first initial step for any applicant of course is the resume submitted.  Too many times we receive resumes that have typos, or grammatical errors, or the background outlined does not even come close to the skills that we are looking for. Make me want to read on   Don't apply just to apply.  If you are truly interested in the position, provide a resume and/or cover letter that presents your skills and abilities to the recruiter - don't submit a "canned" letter or resume.   Make me want to pick up that phone and call you or contact you for additional information or to schedule an in-person interview.   The second step of course is the actual interview.  Don't show up for the interview unprepared and please dress appropriately for the environment.   You don't have to show up in a three piece suit and a tie, but don't show up in ripped jeans and flip flops either.   And, thirdly during the interview show your enthusiasm.  I always say this is your chance to sell yourself (remember a little enthusiasm goes a long way - don't overdo it) and convince me why you are the right candidate for the position.   Don't sit back and wait for me to ask all the questions, be prepared with your own, read over the advertisement placed for the ad and share some examples of how your background fits into the position.  It might not be obvious on the resume that you have that specific skill, but if you can, tie it to a situation that you dealt with at a prior employer or even an organization you are involved with outside of the workplace.   Remember, the position you are interviewing for may not work out, but recruiters are always looking at a fit for the organization and there may just be another position that might fit your background and skills.  Don't give up."

- Rose Davis, Canam Steel