GSI Executive Search Blog

Making a Successful First Impression

As a Principal for GSI Executive Search, it is my responsibility to review the multiple cover letters and resumes that come in weekly on our current job listings.  I also conduct numerous Zoom interviews for those who are identified as excellent potential candidates for the various searches. From this, I have developed a list of key points that I feel will guide you through a successful job interview including cover letters, resume dos and don’ts, Zoom call techniques, and the interview.

Cover Letters

Cover letters are a very important aspect of your presentation that is often overlooked.  As you compose a cover letter, ensure it is customized.  Do not use a cut and paste, but instead advocate for yourself with specifics while projecting an image of yourself in the position. Think about what makes you stand out against the other candidates, do your research about the club and include a point or two pertinent to that club. Above all, avoid any spelling mistakes or bad grammar.

Resumes-Dos and Don’ts

Ensure your contact information is prominently displayed on your resume - do not make the reader search for it. Make it a point to include your search objectives. Too many resumes simply display a list of past tasks, not past accomplishments. It is imperative to define achievements, not submit a list of skills. It will not get read and it clutters the resume. Account for any gaps in employment and ensure all the information is accurate. You should tailor your resume for the position for which you are applying. Make your resume clean and concise by limiting the number of different font sizes and avoiding using too many boxes or highlights. Lastly, remember to proofread, proofread, proofread.

Zoom Call Techniques

Given the last year and half, Zoom has become increasingly utilized as a means of vetting candidates. It also has eliminated many candidates. First, be professional on camera. Being professional means dressing for the part, ensuring you are always making eye contact and eliminating all distractions of pets and family members. During the Zoom call, make a conscious effort to not touch your face and hair. Have a professional background or staged area with appropriate lighting. Lastly, understand when you need to mute yourself and make sure you have a good internet connection and speed.

The Interview

Congratulations! You got to the table. Now is your chance to shine. To prepare, plan responses to frequently asked interview questions. Do your best to relax and to not appear nervous. Rehearsing the frequently asked questions can help you prepare. Remember the in-person key points including body language, diction, eye contact and posture. Be prepared with your own set of questions for the club or interviewers. Let them know you’ve done your homework by mentioning aspects of the club.

Lastly, sell yourself, project yourself in the role in their eyes. What will you bring to their club?

I remember closing my interview at San Diego Yacht Club. The Search committee asked me if I had any additional questions and I responded, “Well you have not asked me everything.” I got the deer in the headlights look to which I responded, “Part of what you are buying is Terry Anglin. So, you need to know about me. I am a sports nut…if there’s a ball and people are sweating, I watch it. I am a gardener. I play the guitar and sing, and I don’t know which is worse, my playing or my singing. This is who I am.”

This diatribe elicited smiles from the Committee and the Placement Rep, who shall remain nameless, later told me that these comments are what nailed the interview.

So, good luck. I hope some of my observations are helpful and feel free to call me anytime if I may be of any assistance.


About the Author

Terry Anglin, CCM, CCE, ECM, a Principal with GSI Executive Search, has over 40 years of experience in the private club and hospitality industry. Terry has served as General Manager of private clubs in Tennessee and California. Most recently, he served as GM/COO of San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC), a world-renowned private club. Under his leadership, SDYC rose to the rank of number-two yacht club in the country and was selected as a Platinum Club of the World as voted on by the Club Leaders Forum. As a Principal with GSI Executive Search, Terry focuses on placements throughout the Western U.S. He is also available to consult on executive searches throughout the country. You can reach Terry by email or at 901-550-9338.