Making a Good First Impression

Dear Lord, you are thinking this Howard guy sounds just like my parents. Yeah, yeah, yeah, if you want to get a job, don’t show up for an interview dressed like you’re going to a party, a pool, the Verde River, or any spot where cutoffs and a t-shirt are just fine as long as they don’t look like you slept in them for a week.

Oh, yeah, and have some idea what the job requires and who you are meeting.

I know you know all this, but what I have found surprising it that I can still actually meet someone looking for work and know from the get-go that they haven’t made the slightest effort to make a good first impression, to make me want to remember meeting them, knowing full well other candidates want that job.

I simply want to encourage you to avoid this mistake.

Now, there are MANY sites on the topic of “Making a Good First Impression” – far more than I ever imagined – and I advise you to read others than the one I have selected here as an example if you have the time and inclination.

But at least consider the following…


By Peter Economy / The Leadership Guy @bizzwriter

  1. Be mindful of how you appear to others

From head to toe, you want to be sure that you are portraying the image that presents you in the best possible light. Prepare yourself well ahead of time and put your best self forward–clothing, hair, accessories. This will make you feel your best and ultimately leave a great first impression.

 2. Be on time

Nothing shoots you down faster than being late for an initial appointment or meeting–even just a minute or two. Always give yourself more than enough time, allowing for traffic delays or parking hassle. Always be on time.

3. Watch the body language

Your body language silently speaks volumes. Studies have proven that it has four times more influence on first impressions than anything you actually say. Genuine smiles are a winning ticket for creating a great first impression, as is a firm handshake and purposeful eye contact. Stand tall and be proud of who you are.

4. Turn off your cell phone

Nothing kills a great first impression faster than someone’s cell phone making constant vibration or sounds. Turn it off. And don’t even think about responding to a text message or answering your phone if it rings.

5. Begin the conversation

You can put yourself and others at ease and guarantee a great first impression by engaging in a bit of small talk to loosen things up. Prepare ahead of time and learn something about the individual you are meeting or about the company they represent and then begin the conversation with one thing you have learned. Or simply begin by asking them, “How has your day been going?” And remember to smile.

6. Keep it positive

This is not the time to rehash the story of the lady who cut you off and took your parking spot, or the dog that messed up your front lawn that morning. Your upbeat attitude and positivity will make for a great first impression.

7. Pay attention

You create a great first impression when the person you are meeting feels listened to and is made to feel that he or she has a captive and interested audience. Lean into the conversation–body language again–to communicate that you are really listening and interested.

8. Don’t forget your manners

Any time I witness good manners–“Please,” “Thank you,” or “Please, you go first”–I immediately take this as a sign of a good person that I can trust. Good manners and being humble always leave a great first impression.

9. Just relax and be yourself

Remember that most people are just as uncomfortable or anxious as you are during a first meeting. Tell yourself that you are good enough and see what you can do to make the other person more comfortable–if they’re comfortable, you will be more comfortable. So take a few deep breaths, relax, and go be your fabulous self.