Future Worker

Beginners level

Unit 5: First impressions


  1. The purpose of this Unit is to highlight the importance of a strong job profile through the use of soft skills

  2. The goal of this Unit is to help learners to get to know the importance of digital communication for their job profile


LOut3: Use effectively social media applications for your professional enhancement 

LOut4: Apply useful tips so as to make a good first impression as a job candidate.


  • Soft skills
  • Intercultural skills
  • CV/Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Social media

5.1 Introduction

  • It has often been said that “you have only one chance to make a good first impression” and that “first impressions are usually lasting impressions”. Especially when in search for a job, making a positive first impression is of great importance.
  • When you meet someone for the first time, face-to-face, you automatically form an impression about him/her, based subconsciously on overall appearance, namely on a number of factors including age, gender, race, culture, language, clothes, style, tone of voice, smell, behaviour and body language/posture.
  • However, we shouldn’t forget that when we send via e-mail or via an online application form our CV and cover letter, this is also a crucial moment where first impressions are being formed. Or when we answer a phone-call or respond to an email, inviting us to an interview and of course when we participate in an online interview.
  • This Unit discusses such issues, focusing upon advices and tips so as candidates to make a good first impression to a future employer.


5.2 Digital communication

When it comes to online communication, recruiters, employers and career consultants, notice that job candidates tend to communicate in a non-formal way that is not suitable in a professional framework (Tata Consultancy Services, 2015).

For example, recruiters are often receiving online applications where the cover letter is fine but the email which has been used to send it, is totally inappropriate or even there is no text at all, which can also be considered as “rude”. In other cases the candidate’s email is “funny” or “non-professional”.

When you send your resume and cover letter as attachments via email or via an online form (that usually have space to write a message as well):

  • Include a brief introduction, stating the job you are applying for and note that your resume and cover letter (and any other requested materials) are attached.
  • Make sure that you have named your documents properly, for example, you could name your CV “Lastname_CV” and “Lastname_Cover_Letter”.
  • Use (or create) a professional email address, that includes your name or part of your name.

5.3 Sample: email introduction when applying for a job

Subject: Customer Service Position – Your Name

Dear Hiring Manager (or “Dear sir or madame” or even simply “Good morning”. However if the name of the hiring manager is mentioned in the ad, you should use it, e.g. “Dear Mrs Smith”).

I am very interested in applying for the Customer Service position of your company (mention the position and/or its code if there is any) that is listed on Jobs.com (the website you found the job ad). I have attached my resume and cover letter.

If there’s any additional information you need, please let me know.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely (when you know the person you are addressing. Eg. Mrs Smith) OR

Yours faithfully (when you don’t know the person. Eg. Dear Sir/Madam)

First Name Last Name
LinkedIn (if you have an account up-to-date)

5.4 Phone calls

When you are expecting a phone call, hoping that you will get invited in a job interview, make sure that you carry in your handbag or pocket pen and paper so as to write down:

a)the date and time of the interview,

b)the place (address, floor, office),

c)the name of the person with whom you will talk,

d)any other detail mentioned.

Confirm that you can call them back in case you need any further assistance and don’t forget to ask if you need to bring your CV printed. The answer will probably be “No, thank you, we have already printed it”, however it will make a good first impression if you ask.

If you are on the road when they call you or if there is too much noise and you can’t hear well, declare it politely and ask them if you can call them back within the next few minutes. And make sure you can estimate the time needed so as to find a quite place where you can talk and keep notes!


5.5 Online job interviews

The Balance Careers website (Doyle, 2019c) offers some useful tips on how to get ready for your online job interview:

  • Download ahead of time the software that will be used for the interview, so that you’ll have the opportunity to get used to it (e.g. Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts).
  • Create a professional username for the account.
  • Dress professionally even if you are sitting down.
  • Clear your workspace and any “mess” that is behind you so that it doesn’t show up on the screen.
  • Make sure that you are in a quiet room where you will not be disturbed by people, pets, etc. Turn off your ringer/alarms/electronics that are likely to interrupt.
  • Have a piece of paper and a pen ready, in case you need to take notes.
  • Have a copy of your resume in case you need to refer to dates, job titles, or numbers.
  • Smile and focus as much as possible and try to behave as if you’re in a regular, in-person interview. Look into the camera, listen attentively, and engage with your interviewer.
  • Practice with a friend using your webcam equipment before the interview, so you are sure everything works and that you fell comfortable interviewing on video. 

5.6 Face-to-face job interviews

There are plenty of online sources and videos offering guidance and useful tips on how to get prepared for your job interview. Search in the language you prefer, using as key-words “job interview tips”, “how to get prepared for a job interview” etc.

  • Always keep in mind that you will make a visual impression within seconds of meeting your interviewer, before you get the opportunity to say a word. You don’t want to look, sound (or even smell) unprofessional, careless, or nervous (Tes, 2018).
  • Make sure that you are dressed properly from top to bottom, always taking into account the culture and style of the company. Your clothes should be clean and ironed and your shoes polished.
  • Don’t walk into your job interview eating, chewing gum or smelling cigarette smoke or even like you’ve “bathed in cologne”.
  • Arrive about 15 minutes earlier so you have time to find the exact office, perhaps with a stop at a restroom to conduct a final check on your appearance.
  • Turn off the ringer of your cell phone soon after you have arrived.
  • During the interview, smiling and making strong eye contact are important elements to establishing a good impression.
  • Body language matters (Gillett, 2016): a) a firm-warm handshake use help you demonstrate confidence and create a bond with interviewer -however due to Covid-19 protection measures, handshakes are usually replaced by giving a single nod of the head with a smile, b) maintain good eye contact, c) Sit up straight, d) Lean in slightly from time to time, showing your interviewer that you’re engaged in the discussion, e) keep your arms and legs uncrossed, f)don’t hide your hands under the table
  • Answering interview questions with ease reveals that you are well prepared, while asking questions is also vital, revealing your interest for the job.
  • If you were referred by a mutual friend or acquaintance to the person with whom you’re meeting, be sure to reference that person in positive terms. This helps to build a “personal bridge”.
  • A great way to cement a strong first impression is writing a thank-you email after the interview. E.g. Thank you very much for your time and the opportunity to discuss about the prospect of a future cooperation. Looking forward to hearing from you.


We no longer live in the era of a “job for a lifetime”. Adaption and flexibility are key-words for the success of all future workers. The so called “hard skills” might be the first filter in the hiring process, however the demand for “soft” and especially intercultural skills – even though they are difficult to be measured- is becoming more and more higher in today’s job market.

Taking advantage of online tools such as the Europass to prepare a strong professional CV and cover letter, can lead the way to a face-to-face interview. But as the “traditional” path of recruitment no longer exists, candidates should follow a more “integrated job-searching strategy” using social media (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) to its full potential. The perception of a person’s “personal brand” is formed not only by the conversations with other people but also by his/her promotion on social networks, which is why it’s important for active job seekers to stay alert in keeping their profiles professionally focused.

Being critical, evaluating the job advertisements before deciding to apply for an available post and studying the job offer closely, can help the candidate to tailor his/her resume and cover letter to the specific position, which will greatly improve the chances of getting an interview. Candidates should always keep in mind the importance of making a good first impression, whether digitally or via phone call and of course in face-to-face interviews.

List of References

Further Reading