Make your first impression count – Part 1

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We’ve all heard the expression ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’ but unfortunately it’s part and parcel of life and first impressions really do count.  That’s not to say, that opinions can’t be changed but why bother going to all that hard work to fix it, when you can do it right first time!

Early on in my career, a very wise person told me about the 10-10-10 Rule.  The first 10 seconds, the first 10 steps, the first 10 words.

Today we are going to talk about the first 10 seconds.

During those first 10 seconds when you meet someone new they will form an opinion of you.   Your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your mannerisms and how you are dressed will all be scrutinised.  These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo and will often set the tone for the relationship that follows.  

Here are our tips for how to nail those first 10 seconds.

Always be Early.

No matter what the excuse, there is never a good excuse for being late.  Being late does not make you a more important or special person.  It  makes you look unreliable, disrespectful and unorganised; characteristics that are not appealing to a future employer.

Always plan ahead and leave plenty of extra time for possible travel delays.  In London, a good rule of thumb is to double the time your app tells you it will take.  Worse case scenario you get there ridiculously early and have to go for a coffee while you wait.

Dress to Impress

No matter what the work environment it is always important to dress professionally for a job interview.  They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and so the ’picture’ you first present has to say the right things about you.

The general rule of thumb, for both men and women, is to wear a suit.  Pair with an ironed shirt, tie (if appropriate) and a smart well polished pair of shoes.  

Don’t let a fashion faux pas cost you a job!

Look, smell and feel your best

You’ve got the outfit sorted so now to make sure you get the finishing details right.  

  • Shower or bathe and wear deodorant.
  • Keep aftershave and perfume to a minimum.
  • Hair should be neat, tidy and styled appropriately.
  • For men – Clean shaven or facial hair well groomed. Unkept stubble is not a good look for an interview.
  • Limit Jewellery.
  • Keep make up neutral.  You’re going to an interview, not a nightclub.
  • Cover Tattoo’s where possible.  You may love them but potential employers may not feel the same way.
  • Don’t chew gum.
  • Smokers should take care that their clothes and breath don’t smell of smoke.  
  • Take a strong breath mint before your interview.   It may sound silly, but you would be surprised how distracting bad breath can be during an interview. Gum also works, but remember to discard your gum before the interview!

Let your body do the talking

When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.

Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance.

Walk with confidence, shoulders pulled back and neck elongated, stand/sit tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, avoid fidgeting and under no circumstances use your phone.

You have just a few seconds to make a good first impression and it’s almost impossible to change it so it’s worth giving each new encounter your best shot.

Much of what you need to do to make a good impression is common sense. But with a little extra thought and preparation, you can hone your intuitive style and make every first impression not just good but great.

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