First impressions and last impressions are the ones that stick.
Most of us are ready to make a good first impressions, but then when it’s time to take leave sometimes we forget our manners. That can leave a bad impression.
In campus job search workshops, I end by having students work on an elegant close to a professional encounter.
You have to be sure to have good questions ready to ask when interviews ask, “do you have any questions for us?” Do your research so you can say “According to your website, your company is pursuing an international presence in…. ” (talk about them first!), then say “I’ve had this international experience:…. How could that be brought to bear on your expansion plans?”
Then when interviewers indicate the interview is over, do all the right things to leave a good last impression. Use inviting body language: smile, maintain good posture, uncross arms, offer your hand to shake, maintain appropriate eye contact, say something specific and positive about your experience, and find a way to say you want the job.
My host at the West Chester workshop in November, Marcos Campillo, gave the excellent example of job candidates for positions on the faculty there. A bad last impression is left by those candidates who ask questions about things they should have already researched. For example, “can you tell me about the student body?” is a bad question. Any serious candidate would have already read about that before the interview! The successful candidate shows s/he has researched the campus and expresses genuine interest in working there. For example, “I noticed on the campus website it says X, but then on the department website it says Y. Can you explain how that works and what it will me for me when I’m on the faculty here?” That person has done their homework. And also lets you know that they want the job!
What is the specific context of your job search that you can use to make a positive, lasting final impression?
Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in training students to highlight their language studies so they stand out in the job search and workplace. For one-on-one support in preparing for your job search or to set up a workshop, contact Darcy: firstname.lastname@example.org