Advice from Andrea: 9 Tips To Make A Great First Impression
By Andrea McCarthy, Director of Employment Placement, Leadership Institute
First impressions are crucial to the job search. They can make or break your chance at landing your dream job. So take these steps to ensure you always make a good first impression.
Before the interview:
- Groom yourself appropriately. Make sure your hands and fingernails are clean. Comb and style your hair appropriately. Brush your teeth. Use only a little cologne or perfume, if any at all. And choose your outfit carefully. Wear a gray, navy or black suit that fits well.
- Do a last-minute detail check. Duck into a bathroom and make sure you don’t have food in your teeth, dandruff on your shoulders, or runs in your pantyhose. Smooth your hair, straighten your outfit, and make sure no buttons or zippers are open.
- Walk with purpose. Stand tall. As you go to meet your interviewer, make sure your stride exudes confidence.
During the introduction:
- Smile, smile, smile. Use those mirror neurons to your benefit. Project warmth.
- Give a firm, not crushing, handshake. Nobody likes a limp handshake, but nobody likes to have their hand crushed either. And be very careful when shaking hands with women wearing rings.
- Respect the other’s personal space. Lean in for the handshake, but lean back out after. Do not force the interviewer to back away from you.
During the interview:
- Make eye contact. People trust people who can look them in the eye when conversing. But do not stare. That is unsettling. Strive to make eye contact 70% of the time.
- Do not cross your arms. That gives a defensive or stand-offish vibe. You want to be perceived as warm (see above).
- Control your body movements. Do not fidget, slouch, scratch your head, bite your nails, or twist your hair. You want to look poised and confident, not nervous and squirmy.
Practice these simple tips, and you will make a great first impression every time!
Andrea McCarthy is Director of Employment Placement at the Leadership Institute where she coordinates the networking and employment site, conservativejobs.com. Advice from Andrea is a monthly column published by America’s Future Foundation’s Career Center Blog. You can reach Andrea at email@example.com.