Making a good first impression is vital in most areas of life, but it is arguably never more important than where job interviews and the workplace are concerned.
Not only is the amount of time to impress limited, there are usually others around you competing for that time; and where there is competition, there are nerves – and nerves are your worst enemy when trying to impress.
Don’t panic, however! While giving a less than favourable first impression can mean missing out on that job opportunity you so desperately wanted, being conscious and prepared can seriously help you avoid such a fate and put you in good stead to make an impression to remember.
For instance, when people are nervous they often forget to smile. They can come across as tense and serious, which, although probably untrue, can seem as if they are dull, unhappy or lacking in personality.
The trick is to be aware of it, and smile anyway. There’s no need to to go overboard with insane bubbliness, but a decent smile along with direct eye contact is enough to suggest you are friendly, open and confident, in spite of any nerves.
Don’t forget to listen. Some people trip themselves up by talking too much and failing to listen to others properly. Waffling on and on will only irritate and bore your audience so get to the point and stay there, but also ask intelligent questions and be open and ready for the answers.
Body language also counts. Fidgeting is to be avoided as it suggests you are not relaxed, and a slouched or hunched posture creates the impression you are unconfident, sloppy or even lazy.
Remember to do your research. Know your facts and background about the company or position as it shows you are a genuinely interested and serious candidate.
A first impression can never be undone. However, if you can keep all these areas in check and ensure you dress to impress, remain willing and enthusiastic and use your best manners, you’re well on the way to creating a striking, likeable and professional first impression.