Ask Jack: Good Impressions, Cover Letters & Job of the Week

Composition by Mariya Pylayev/AOL; Getty Images

AOL Jobs reader Natalie asks:

I'm starting a new job for the first time in 8 years. How do I make a good impression?

I do a good impression of Jon Hamm; it's too bad there's no audio on here. Well, first of all, congratulations on holding a job for 8 years, and landing a new one – neither is an easy feat in this day and age.

As far as making a good impression, it's a balancing act: You want to be well-regarded by both your superiors and your co-workers. (And by everyone else you might encounter, regardless of title... but there I go trying to push my "let's make this a better world" agenda again.) For the bosses, show up early, dress smartly (keeping an eye on what other people are wearing), and be enthusiastic. But most importantly, hit the ground running as best you can. Prove you can do the job you were hired for – you'll put the bosses at ease that they hired the right person, and that they can trust you.

Now, with co-workers, you need to play it a little differently. You don't want to seem like a threat to people who have been there a long time, and you do not want to come across as the boss's pet. So ask questions. Show that you value their experience – even if it's something as simple as where to get the best lunch.

When all else fails: Bringing in a box of donuts is never a bad move.

Another reader wants to know:

I'm addicted to those cute emojis. Is it okay to throw a few of them into cover letters to hint at my impish personality?

Ah yes, those little Japanese cartoon images that don't display properly on my phone so I never know what the sender is trying to say. I would argue that as a general rule, avoid anything too cutesy in a cover letter – that also includes your font choice. Keep these letters short: Express interest in a particular opening, and explain how the experience you already have matches up with the skills needed for the job. Sure, you can put some personality in there, but know your audience. Is it a Very Serious Workplace? (Dun-dun-duhhhhh!) Or is it youthful and fun and brightly colored? If you're not sure, it's best to just play it safe. Also, avoid attaching any malware viruses with your electronic applications; those generally don't help in winning over hiring managers. Kthxbye!

Click here for last week's questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

I've been kind of hungry since I typed the word "donuts" earlier, so I searched on AOL Jobs for the keyword "donut." Believe it or not, it came up with 117 job opportunities nationwide – everything from Dunkin Donuts store managers to a VP of retail sales for a specialty bakery company to a software firm that was just being clever. Try searching for something that you're interested in – you never know what job listings will turn up!

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