We’ve all heard it before: First impressions are crucial. It’s true—the way you interact with someone the first time you meet them will lay the groundwork for the rest of your relationship. In a professional setting, first impressions can be scary. Everyone wants to make sure they don’t do or say the wrong thing, especially when their reputation is on the line.
If you’re going in for an interview, here are five ways to leave a lasting impression on the people who matter:
1. Be on time.
If you’re trying to impress someone, don’t be late. Not only does it make you look bad but you could also miss out on vital information necessary to do the job. Avoid having to play catch-up by arriving early, even if that means you have to wait a few minutes.
Bonus tip: In order to minimize stress, make sure you have everything you need and know where you’re going.
2. Take pride in your appearance.
Keep it professional! Once you get settled in your workplace, you can gauge how other people are dressing and make changes to your wardrobe accordingly, but it’s best to start with something formal.
Bonus tip: Don’t underestimate comfort. Interviews can be demanding, so make sure you’re not wearing something that will cause you more problems—maybe skip the heels and opt for flats.
3. Do your research.
Whether you’re applying for a job in customer service or trying to get your foot in the door at a big company, make sure you’re familiar with the organization. Google the hiring manager, look at his or her LinkedIn page, take a minute to read up on the company’s recent media coverage—do anything you can to make sure you’re prepared when you walk through the door. The more you know about the person you’re meeting with or the department you’re interviewing in, the better.
Bonus tip: Have a talking point ready about a recent event or accomplishment within the company. If the conversation stalls, you’ll have something useful to reference and you will show that you are familiar with the organization.
4. Ask questions.
With every new opportunity, there’s going to be a learning curve. Embrace it! If you are unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask meaningful questions. Seeming engaged with the topic, whether or not you know the answer, will show an employer or hiring manager that you’re serious about the role.
Bonus tip: Prepare some questions for the interview. Doing so will give you something to talk about and show that you’re interested. Plus, you might learn something!
5. Be brave.
Take the initiative and let your ideas shine! Now is the time to express your creativity and show the manager why you will fit in with his or her company. Chances are, the boss is looking for someone with bright ideas and enthusiasm—so if you have it, show it!
Bonus tip: Be upbeat. Nothing helps you make an impression more than your attitude. If you’re happy and engaging, you’re off to a good start!
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