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June 11, 2012

We all grew up hearing that you only get one chance to make a first impression.  It’s a cliché, but that’s because it’s so very true.  We all make snap decisions regarding people, places and things and although those first impressions can be changed, it takes a lot of energy to do so.  And yet so many people throw away the chance to make a positive first impression.  I’ve been reviewing resumes for the past few months for an ongoing search.  The number of resumes I’ve encountered with spelling errors, grammar errors, poor lay-out (changing fonts, inconsistent formats, etc.) and painfully obvious inflation has been both appalling and distressing.  I’m appalled that these people have thrown away the chance to make a positive first impression – don’t they care?  I’m distressed as a manager because the lack of attention to detail demonstrated does not bode well for future staffing needs.  Two seconds to hit spell check and that resume could have led to at minimum a thorough review and at best, a job!  Instead, it hit the round file.

And then there’s email…  without diving into the generational divide on communication methods, let’s go back to impressions.  For many of us, the only interaction we have with many of our colleagues, vendors and customers is via email.  That means the only thing they have to base an opinion on is those email exchanges.  There’s no tone of voice, no body language, nothing to soften or smooth over the presentation.  Emails that consistently contain errors (whether spelling or grammar, no capitalization, sentence fragments, etc.) do not present an image that inspires confidence.   When I see emails full of errors, my confidence in the information being presented is less than robust.  Details matter – and we only get one chance to make that first impression.  What are you going to do with yours?

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