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Job search is a stressful experience that can seriously mess with your health and mood. When you’ve been on the market for a long time, it can be disheartening to receive a negative reply. Some recruiters send a personal email, thanking you for your interest and adding a phrase to explain why you were not the right candidate. However, the majority of recruiters send their rejections in bulk mail, when they send an answer at all.

You recognize the familiar knot in your stomach. It’s your anxiety showing up. There is only so much you can do to relax. Telling yourself to calm down doesn’t help. The reason why it doesn’t help is human nature. The longer you’ve been hunting for your new job, the more impatient you grow. What you need to understand is that most rejections are not an indication of your experience and talent. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes, and they need to select the most relevant and suitable applicants as quickly as possible. To do so, they typically rely on first impressions. It doesn’t take more than a few milliseconds to build an impression of someone. Therefore, if you want to boost your chances, you need to pay close attention to the details of your interaction – whether it is during the application process or when you’re invited to one of the interview rounds. Here are some of the most surprising elements that can play against you even when your skills make you a good candidate.

How’s your handshake?

Yes, you are what you wear

There is no denying that making a positive first impression begins with what you decide to wear when you’re going to meet recruiters and employers. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because most offices embrace casual dress codes, it means that you can wear whatever you want. If your invitation mentions casual wear, it’s best to keep your formal suit for another day. When a recruiter chooses to inform you about the company preferences, it’s fair to say that you’ll be extremely overdressed in a suit. More importantly, you’ll make the people who interview you feel uncomfortable. But you can add some style to your typical casual outfit. Jeans and t-shirts are not a suitable option. But you can dress up a pair of pants with a shirt. An elegant pair of chinos can appear more relaxed if you roll up your shirt sleeves, for instance, which will make you more accessible. Avoid loose waistbands – a belt is always a good idea and can give shape to an old pair of jeans.

A decent vehicle can make the deal

If you’re driving to the interview, you need to understand that the employer will consider your vehicle to form a first impression. If your car appears old and potentially problematic – aka it makes disturbing noises or it seems to be loose on its suspensions –, employers are likely to assume that everyday commute is going to be an issue. In other words, if your vehicle isn’t at its best, you might want to have a look for the latest car deals. If you’re unsure where to start, Find The Best Car Price offers a clear list of car deals with convenient financing options. Ultimately, your car is going to affect the way others perceive you. For instance, if you’re applying to a manager role, you need a business boss make to fit in with the rest of the team!

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You can manage what people say about you

In life, you will come across people who don’t like you. It’s unavoidable. But, you’ll also get to meet people who can appreciate your personality and your skills. These are precisely the people your recruiters want to hear about. You can leave a couple of contacts as a reference, but nothing makes a better impression than providing reviews as an earlier stage of your application. LinkedIn Recommendations can be especially helpful for job seekers. You can ask to be recommended under the ‘view your profile’ tab. Naturally, you will need to pick carefully, ensuring that your approach not only people who know and understand your expertise but who can also write a personal and trustworthy statement about you.

When you send your resume, do your homework

We get it. Typos happen, no matter how often you check your text. But typos and other mistakes in your resume could cost you the job. You need to dedicate extra attention to getting things right. Misspelling words, for instance, can lead an employer to assume that you are easily distracted and don’t check your work. While it doesn’t disqualify you per se, it also doesn’t speak in your favor. When recruiters are comparing applicants, the quality of the text and formatting can play a significant role in differentiating resumes.

Make an impression from the first handshake

Recruiters know that body language is an often misused science. Indeed, it’s been speculated that crossing your arms or breaking eye contact is a sign of disengagement. But in reality, people who recall a memory need to break eye contact to access the specific part of the brain in which it is stored, for instance. In other words, recruiters tend to ignore body language, so you’ve got nothing to fear. Except for handshakes. Your handshake says more about you than you think. Make it too limp, and employers will assume that you lack confidence and ability. Make it too firm and crushing, and they will believe that you’re overcompensating for a flaw.

How you behave on social media

Last but not least, if your social media presence is public, you need to be careful about your online behavior. Social media checks are frequent in the recruiting industry. Employers are likely to read about your views, but also the way you manage your presence. Ultimately, you are in charge of your personal brand; ask yourself: can you afford to troll and be disrespectful online when it can affect your chances to get a job?

The bottom line is that your skills play only a minor role in the decision of recruiters to consider your application or not. Making a positive impression in person and on paper is just as important. Additionally, employers want to know how you’d fit into the company, in terms of style, culture, and ideas. So, if you want that job, you need to learn to think as if you already were one of the team.

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