First impressions matter. It was ten years ago and I was a brash, up-and-coming Project Manager known for handling the hardest clients and the tightest deadlines. One day, we gathered to meet our new V.P. The V.P., Shane, entered the room and from the moment I saw him, I didn’t like the guy. He exuded arrogance and his words confirmed my first impression.

Shane and I butted heads for the first few months and through many difficult conversations ended in a place of mutual respect. And whether you are a V.P. coming to lead a division or a laborer just looking to get hired for the first time, first impressions matter. In this article, you learn business tips and tricks for some of the toughest career situations to navigate and learn how to overcome a bad first impression.

How Do I Know What to Wear to an Interview?

Making a great first impression is all about being prepared. Start by doing a little research about the company you’ll be interviewing with. If your research reveals a business casual dress code, then you’ll want to dress in a collared shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes. If the company is more formal, then a suit and tie will be the best choice. 

Avoid wearing jeans and t-shirts, even if they’re clean and pressed. Make sure your clothes are wrinkle-free and your shoes are shined, and. You’ll also want to make sure that your hair is neat and that you’re wearing minimal jewelry. Finally, practice your posture and smile. When you enter the room, keep your head high and smile confidently. Smiling not only shows your enthusiasm but also helps to make the interviewer more comfortable. The goal is to make a lasting impression that the interviewer will remember. So be sure to be yourself and show your best qualities!

What Should I Wear on My First Day of Work?

Making a great first impression is key to feeling confident and making a lasting impression. To make sure you start off on the right foot, it’s important to dress for the job role. If you are digging ditches, wear steel toes, a long sleeve shirt, and pants. If you are working at the area’s hottest startup maybe a hoodie will suffice. 

Regardless, the first day of work doesn’t usually mean you have to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, but having a few key pieces that you can mix and match will help you look polished and put together.

Are you in a conventional office? Start off with a classic blazer and trousers or a skirt. This is a timeless look that is always appropriate and looks professional. Then, add a few layers of color and texture to make your look unique. A bright blouse or a crisp dress shirt can instantly put a unique spin on the classic look. Finish your look off with a pair of stylish shoes, like a pair of loafers or pointed-toe pumps. In my first job, I peddled enterprise asset management software and showed up to work on my first day in cowboy boots. The effect was memorable as coworkers called me Tex for years to come. 

Whether dressed in a blazer or cowboy garb, an appropriate choice of clothing may set the tone for the rest of your career.

What’s the Best Way to Introduce Myself at a Career Networking Event?

Making a great first impression at a career networking event can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help you make a lasting impression and get your professional career off on the right foot. 

First, dress for success. Show up in your best professional attire—think business casual, but don’t overdo it. You want to make a good impression without looking too stuffy.

 Next, be prepared. Have your resume and some business cards ready to hand out. It’s also important to do some research on the event and the other guests. This will help you make meaningful connections. If you are in a niche industry like valve distribution, make sure to be at least somewhat familiar with the lingo and major players.

Finally, remember to be confident. When introducing yourself, stand up straight and project your voice. Make sure to make eye contact and smile. Keep your greeting brief and positive. Make sure to include your name, your career goals, and any relevant experience. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making a great first impression at your next career networking event. Good luck!

How Can I Overcome a Bad First Impression?

If you have already made a bad first impression, don’t worry! The most important thing is, to be honest, and apologize if necessary. Try to show that you understand how the other person might have felt, and emphasize that you are open to making a better impression in the future. Showing your willingness to improve and make amends can help to turn a bad first impression into a positive one.

  1. Apologize. Only apologize if your sin was egregious. One time a mutual friend of mine spilled fruit punch on my girlfriend the first time she met her. 🙂 That’s probably something worth apologizing for.
  2. Smile! Smiling is a universal sign of friendliness and warmth. It signals to people that you’re approachable and friendly
  3. Make eye contact. Eye contact shows that you are confident and present in the moment. It also shows that you are interested in the conversation.
  4. Be confident. Stand tall and speak clearly. Show the other person that you are a welcoming and caring force. Most men tend to err on the side of overconfidence, so much like the story of Shane the V.P., make sure that you are not projecting arrogance and subsequently disrespect. 
  5. Listen. Show that you are genuinely interested in the other person by actively listening and responding to what they are saying.
  6. Be positive. Put a positive spin on any conversation. Be upbeat and enthusiastic.