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How to make that first impression a good one; Looking for a job? Making a first impression on an employer when you meet them in person is crucial, and they'll be paying attention to everything from your body language to the questions you ask. Here are some helpful tips from companies seeking new talent at this year's SkillsCymru events next month.

Listen "Our top tips would be to listen and to question things," says Sarah John, commercial director at Acorn recruitment and training.

"These components are essential in business. If an individual is able to listen to direction and carry it out, then everything usually works as it should.

"Being inquisitive and capable of questioning things gives individuals extra knowledge. Another useful question to ask is 'how will you develop me if I'm successful in getting this job?'" Ask, 'how could I contribute to your organisation?' Sergeant James Taylor at the RAF said: "Our company offers challenging roles in the UK and overseas and we encourage (and pay) you to play sports and be adventurous (from skiing to parascending and climbing), so it's really important to be enthusiastic and let your ambition show. First impressions are so important."

Smile "Reflecting a positive attitude and always having a smile is invaluable and really shows a member of our team that you are approachable," added Sarah John at Acorn.

"The way an individual holds themselves resonates with the verbal communication they engage in. If a person has positive body language, they exude confidence and come across well."

If you don't understand - ask "Be enthusiastic, positive and interested," says Lucy Baker, senior marketing and engagement officer at Raleigh International.

"Volunteering with Raleigh ICS is an opportunity to become immersed in a different culture; meet people from all over the world; gain valuable skills and experience and make a genuine contribution to international development.

"The most unique and thoughtful answer to 'why should young people's voices be heard?' will demonstrate insight, creativity and enthusiasm. And ask lots of questions. If there's something you don't understand or need to know more about, don't be embarrassed to say so."

Preparation is everything "Research the company before the interview," says Karen Buffy, regional manager for Wales at engineering support services organisation, Babcock.

"The best place to start is often their website, but you may know family or friends who work for the employer, so ask them too. Being able to demonstrate some knowledge of the organisation lets the employer know that you're serious about the role."

Ask, 'what's the culture like?' "Work is the place where you spend a lot of your time," says Rachel Lloyd, LifeSkills manager at Business in the Community.

"Therefore it's important that the workplace culture matches up with what you want. For example, you might want to know what it's like to work there, how much employees interact socially, how the company promotes employee health and wellbeing, or whether you'll have a chance to volunteer through work.

"Asking about the culture shows that you have a high attention to detail and interest in the business, not only in the job. Remember it's as much about you picking an employer as them picking you."

Ask about progression Mark Bodger, strategic partnerships director of the Construction Industry Training Board Cymru Wales (CITB), says: "I would encourage candidates to investigate their chosen role and demonstrate their ambition by asking researched questions and showing their passion to progress. "The construction industry has roles that are suitable for everyone. It's an industry that allows people to progress as they learn and build an individual career path among the hundreds of opportunities available. The sector invests in skills and training at all levels and provides people with the opportunity to maximise their potential."

Don't be intimidated "Our top tip is to just come and speak to us," says Jayne McGill-Harris, marketing and PR manager at ACT Training.

"We're there to help you progress onto the next stage of your life and we're more than happy to help."

More than 10,000 people are expected at SkillsCymru 2015, two free careers and skills events at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on October 7 and 8 and Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on October 21 and 22.

The events are part of the Welsh Government's commitment and ongoing programme of activities designed to inspire young people and adults in Wales about the variety of vocational routes available to them.


Preparation is everything when you meet a prospective empoyer for the first time
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 2, 2015
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