We’ve all heard the sayings, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression” and “first impressions are lasting impressions”. Well, I can personally say from the perspective of a job seeker and a business owner that these statements are very true.
Whether we want to admit it or not, in today’s society how others perceive us has become very important. As business owners, aspiring business owners or those who like me are both a full time employee and a business owner, it is important that we make great first impressions in the workforce as well as with perspective clients. If you are seeking employment, your first impression may be the deciding factor of whether you are called back for an interview and if you are a business owner, your first impression may win you a new client.
Two areas I relate to making a great first impression:
1) Inward Qualities (The character others see when they first see you)
2) Outward Appearance (How people see you when they first see you)
I would like to highlight three points for both the inward qualities and outward appearance that I use when making a first impression.
You may ask what do inward qualities have to do with your outward first impression and I say, a lot. Here are some powerful characteristics I demonstrate when meeting people for the first time:
1.) Self-Confidence. When you exhibit trust and firm belief in yourself and your skills, people can see that. Having a certain level of confidence will allow others to see you as a person who believes in her/himself and products or services she/he provides.
2.) Integrity. “Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or moral uprightness” (Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition). Integrity is a personal characteristic most employers look for when bringing people onto a team. Are you a person that can be trusted and reflect that when you are working with co-workers or clients?
3.) Attitude. Your attitude makes a big difference in how much you gain or lose in any situation. The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that “attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event”. You can have a negative attitude about your situation or you can have positive attitude about your situation and it will reflect through your mannerisms and actions.
Below are areas I believe are important representations when it relates to first impressions:
1.) Your Resume. When applying for a job, a resume is usually the first impression perspective employers have of you. A resume is a written representation of your skills, talents, abilities and accomplishments. Really, this is the first time your perspective employer meets you.
If you are a business owner, this may be your website, flyers, postcards or any other marketing tool you use to advertise your business. How you present yourself via written communication is just as important as your face-to-face presentation.
2.) Your Attire. Regardless of what you hear, how you present yourself physically can make the difference between your getting the job or someone else. How do you present yourself and/or your business? This is very important. How you are dressed when you show up to an interview will tell a lot about you and/or your business. Take pride in your appearance. If you are a business owner your appearance when meeting and greeting clients will show them your professionalism towards the services you provide.
3.) Communication. Effectively expressing yourself verbally is a very important aspect of a first impression. Learning how to communicate your skills and accomplishments to a perspective employer or marketing yourself to a new client will help you relay your services in a professional way and give the interviewer or client a great impression of you.
To sum it all up, when you are a well-dressed, trustworthy professional who projects confidence and integrity and can effectively communicate written and orally you have positioned yourself to make a great first impression every time. Your inward characteristics directly relate to how you appear on the outside. I recommend that while you are working on the outward appearance also take note of the inward characteristics that make your overall first impression a lasting impression.
There is a quote that says, “Never hire anyone who is going to report directly to you who you do not intuitively just plain like from first impressions. If your instincts tell you you’re going to have a hard time working with someone, pass.” –Fred Charette
Don’t be the one that’s passed over.