First impressions count

First impressions count

Thursday, 3rd of March

Our judgements of others are often affected by stereotypes, for example that men are better at tech, or that women would be better carers, or that good looking people are nicer. Have a watch of this clip, what do you think of the three people in this video?

Unfortunately we all have these subconscious stereotypes and research has backed this statement up. The University College London School of Management found that good-looking male candidates were stereotyped as more competent than less good-looking ones. However, female candidates’ looks did not affect their perceived competence. Do you think that you would make these assumptions about people just based on how they look?

Now you can’t change how you look, and everyone is beautiful in their own way, but you can enhance your chance of making a good first impression. What you wear, how you speak, how you shake a person’s hand – these are all things that can influence that first opinion.

How you present yourself to others in the working world speaks volumes. People will decide what they think about you within seconds of first meeting them therefore it is crucial to ensure you are properly prepared to present yourself as a professional. Here are some important tips towards making a good impression.

  • Aim to dress one level up from what you would expect to be wearing if you got the job.
  • Stand straight, make eye contact, turn towards people when they are speaking, and genuinely smile at people.
  • Your briefcase or bag and the things you carry in them say something about you. Messy items may detract from the image you would like to present.
  • When meeting someone for the first time, be sure to shake hands palm to palm with a gentle firmness.
  • Be alert. Sleepiness looks bad in the workplace.
  • Kindness and courtesy count!
  • When you introduce yourself, make sure you have a few interesting points you can whip out, such as what you are studying, any university societies you are part of, or school roles of responsibility you have; this will increase the likelihood of that person remembering you

What kind of first impression do you think you would make? 

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