First Impressions do Matter

First Impressions do Matter

We’ve heard many people say this phrase, “You’ll want to make a good first impression”.

When meeting with professionals you do need to make a good first impression. We know in social situations this proves to be true. Making a good first impression begins with your business attire and attitude.

As for attire, if it’s an informational meeting, men should wear dress pants, a pressed button down shirt. Women should wear a skirt with a blouse, or dress pants with a blouse, or sweater.  However, for an interview always wear a suit. Even though you may know for sure that the environment you are interviewing in is casual in nature, you don’t have the job yet, so you must present yourself in business attire.

A positive attitude needs to shine through your smile and be felt with your handshake. Already the professional gets a sense that you’re prepared for your meeting and that you’re a pleasantly professional person.

In the meeting, or interview, begin by letting your audience know you’re excited to be there.  The interviewer will take charge from there and begin the interview. Small talk is a good thing. Go with it, but make sure it’s professional in light (weather-related, summer travel, something light and easy to converse about).

Another way to make that winning impression is by listening. I know it’s hard to focus and listen, especially when we have a lot of information swirling around in our mind such as projects, to do lists, other meetings to attend. We often get too caught up in those checklists and are not present which can appear to others as not being focused, or that you’re not interested. Make good eye contact and nod from time to time; this proves you’re listening.

Always prepare questions ahead of time and ask the questions you want to ask, but not about compensation, vacation, or other questions that can be located on their website, or be addressed at the time of the offer.

Making a positive first impression gets you the next interview, another contact, or lands you in a job!

By Colleen Murphy
Colleen Murphy Senior Associate Director, Pulsifer Undergraduate Career Development Center Colleen Murphy