Category Archives: CMG

The importance of a good first impression.

According to recent research when meeting someone new a judgment is made in the first few minutes or even seconds. Tricia Prickett, a psychology student of Oregon State University, videotaped a series of job interviews and found that an observer could predict whether or not the interviewee would be offered the job from watching just the first 15 seconds of the tape – the handshake, the “hello” and very little else. We live in a society driven by image. Identity and personality are often defined by how we dress, whether or not we have piercings or tattoos and how we wear our hair; it is these external signals that tell others how we wish to be perceived. In the context of an interview those first few significant moments may be the difference between the career of your dreams and a life of unemployment.

Luckily it is possible to control the factors that lead to a positive initial judgment in an interview setting. Most importantly are the obvious; be clean, be well groomed and smell nice but do not make the classic mistakes of overdoing the aftershave/perfume! Appropriate clothing is a must, dress suitably to the role you are applying for but a failsafe approach is always smart and demure. Body language is equally important; make eye contact, have a good posture and smile. For the all-important handshake get some practice in beforehand, get your friends or family to make sure you are accomplishing that perfect handshake; firm but not hard and anything but limp!

Hand in hand with body language goes self-confidence. Confidence comes naturally to some but not many; fortunately it is not just something you are born with, it can be learnt. When people with speech impediments are learning to overcome them they are sent out and told to talk to as many new people as possible, confronting the very thing that most triggers their impairment. The same therapy is applied to those with phobias – people who are afraid of heights are made to stand at the top of a tall building. Using the same method you can overcome shyness; force yourself to talk to people first, do not just make eye contact but practice maintaining it, stand up straight hold your head high and believe in yourself. According to The British Dental Health Foundation, a smile gives the same level of stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars, it releases endorphins, serotonin and natural pain killers – the physical act triggers a physiological response creating real feelings. In the same way acting like a happy self-assured person will make you feel that way and in turn if you have faith in yourself so too will the person interviewing you.

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Education Vs Experience.

Getting a job is hard and making the choices that lead to a job can be even harder. It is such a competitive market at the moment; rates of unemployment are at record levels especially for school leavers and graduates. Because of this fierce competition you want to be sure you are making the right decisions. One of the most difficult decisions to make is whether to gain more education and training or to get experience. For a lot of people they may not have the choice to gain more education and training simply because these things cost money – however there are some opportunities where you can gain training whilst earning money, such as internships.

Experience is a highly valued quality in any profession; the more practical experience somebody has, the less time has to be spent guiding him or her at the start of a new role. And while a lot of employers will not employ someone without relevant experience it is also true that a lot won’t employ someone without a degree in a related subject. It depends on the employer and of course the profession; an academic career such as banking or science will require a certain level of education, whereas a vocational career such as acting or sport may require nothing more than experience and talent.

The fact is that in this market it is not a question of working out which is best, instead it is a case of working out the ways in which you can do both. If you can afford to, get as much education and training as possible in your chosen field, but don’t stop there! Volunteer or organise some work experience in the time you are not studying. If study is not an option for you and you need to work, try and work in a sector that is relevant to where you want to go. If your dream is to be a film director working as a receptionist in a film production company may be the first step – don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up. Showing that you have done as much as you can do is the most important factor in all of this because it demonstrates how passionate you are, and passion is what all employers look for.

Reow!

Chloe M Gosling starts a blog, in her shoebox room, in Egham, on a cold Tuesday, specifically the 2nd February 2010.

She wonders if it is a complete waste of time?