Is it possible to make a second first impression? - Albuquerque Journal

Is it possible to make a second first impression?

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.”

Dear J.T. & Dale: I would like some advice about a job position I would really, really like to get. I first applied for the job mid-summer. The problem is, shortly after I applied, I received a call from the company who gave me a screening interview right then. Well, I bombed the phone screen. I didn’t recognize the phone number and thought it was spam, so I answered the call in a not very enthusiastic way. I was caught completely off-guard when the person on the other end was calling me about my résumé and doing pre-screening calls. Near the end, I asked when callbacks for further interviews would be. They told me that they would be the following week. After two weeks, I wrote a follow-up letter expressing my continued interest. I heard nothing back. Fast forward to today. I just saw the same position newly reposted. Can I even possibly get a second chance? If I submit my résumé again, won’t they see it’s me, the person they already talked to and passed on? Should I even try? — Katia

DALE: I’m betting you can get a second chance to make a first impression. It doesn’t sound as though you made some horrible gaffe on the initial call, but, rather, it seems as though you didn’t make a particularly good impression. So, given how many people recruiters talk to, I’m guessing they’ll barely remember you, if at all.

J.T.: First off, don’t beat yourself up. These things happen. But I think you might be able to make use of what happened the first time around. If you have the name/email of the person that called you, I would message them and say something like, “I hope you don’t mind me reaching out. I’m wondering if you offer second chances?” Then explain: “I saw the ____ position posted again. I realize when we spoke the first time about this job, I may not have sounded enthusiastic. In honesty, I didn’t recognize the number calling and was caught off-guard when it turned out to be my ideal employer. I’d be so grateful for another shot to impress you. I promise I’ll make it worth your while.” By showing humility, you have a chance to endear yourself to this recruiter. You have nothing to lose — so go get ‘em!

DALE: I hope it works. Either way, this makes for a useful cautionary tale. Whenever you’re in the job market and not ready to talk, don’t answer. Let them leave a message and then, when you’re prepared for the conversation, ideally with talking-point notes in front of you, call back.

Dear J.T. & Dale: I had an interview and now they would like to see some of my writing and strategy/process samples. I’m in marketing. I’m not sure how many pieces of writing I should provide? Also, for the strategy/process examples, I feel like I may need to give context. Should I put together a case study with an explanation or is that too much? — Eve

J.T.: I would look at the tasks they described in the job interview. What kind of writing is involved? Is it short ad copy? Social media posts? Long-form articles or product descriptions? Then, choose one or two examples for each. I wouldn’t send more than five. And while you can give context, keep it short, not a full case study. They just want to see that you can write professionally.

DALE: I don’t think you can send too many samples — they want somebody who writes and it’s a positive to be someone who’s written a lot. That said, I’d pick a couple of samples that best fit the job and the company and send those, along with a digital stack of other items you’re proud of. Just send a note saying that you’ve picked two examples to highlight and put in context with some notes, but you’re also sending a variety of other items in case they want to see the range of your abilities. This way you demonstrate respect for their time, while showcasing your talents and flexibility.

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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