My son came out of his room wearing plaid shorts and a striped polo. I sighed and shook my head. Once again I ask him, “What is the first thing you want people to notice and the last thing you want them to remember?” Making a positive first impression isn’t just about the clothes and it’s not just about impressing in an interview. Those first 60 seconds someone first meets you will be the perception from which they base their entire interaction, especially when it comes to employment, job opportunities, and business careers.
While the idea may feel daunting, there are a few things you can do to always put your best foot forward in life and to find a job.
Smiles everyone, smiles! Facial expressions and body language are the first thing people notice. Being aware of those subtle cues you’re sending out can make the difference between a positive or negative networking interaction. Even if you’re in an online or phone interview—smile! Yes, it’s true—people can actually “hear” a smile. Be sure to look people in the eye, keep your arms unfolded, and give a handshake that demonstrates your confidence without coming off as a feat of strength while crushing the other person’s hand.
Dress for success. Personal fashion says a lot about who you are, but also reflects the amount of respect you have not only for yourself, but for the person you’re meeting. Know the culture of the company or networking setting. Suits are always a business first, but sometimes business causal or even t-shirts and jeans are the standard.
Really? Tell me more. Be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. Ask questions, interact, and share your thoughts. Conversation leads to conversation. When you’re fully engaged, it allows you to confidently interact to learn about the person or opportunity while giving you a platform to sell your personal brand.