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One Chance to Make a First Impression


12/17/2011 12:22:07 AM

One Chance to Make a First Impression By Ford R. Myers, Executive Career Coach

It has often been said that, "You only get one chance to make a first impression."

Whether you are networking, interviewing for a job or meeting new colleagues for the first time, here are some guidelines to keep in mind which will make a good first impression.

* Be mindful of the other person's time. Ask if this is a good time for them before proceeding into the discussion (or identify another time that would be better). When attending a scheduled meeting or interview, ask how much time the other person has, and hold to that timeframe.
* If you were referred by a mutual friend or acquaintance to the person with whom you're meeting, be sure to reference that person in positive terms. This helps to build a "personal bridge" and establish rapport.
* Take notes throughout the discussion. A person who doesn't take notes is simply not interested or engaged enough to be taken seriously.
* Arrive to the meeting or interview on time and fully prepared. This shows that you respect the other person, and that you are a real professional. Learn everything you can in advance about the company, the opportunity, and the interviewer.
* Be focused on the other person's interests and needs, more than your own. Present yourself as a solutions provider, rather than a job seeker. Offer to be of service and show genuine interest in helping the interviewer with his or her business challenges.

Once you confirm the interviewer's primary needs and problems, share some "Accomplishment Stories" that relate your past successes directly to the prospective employer's situation. Making this "connection" will help you stand-out as the top candidate.

Here are some things NOT to do, when trying to make a positive first impression. Do not:

* Take advantage of the other person's generosity or time.
* Arrive unprepared to talk intelligently about the employer and the company.
* Dress inappropriately for the meeting or interview.
* Focus only on your own needs (instead you should focus on the company's problems and challenges).
* Fail to make a connection between your past experiences and the prospective employer's needs and challenges.
* Forget to follow-up with a thank you note.
* Forget to ask questions about the company and the open position.
* These items are also some of the main qualities interviewers are looking for in a candidate. So if you follow these simple suggestions, you'll receive better feedback and ultimately get more job offers.

Copyright © 2011, Career Potential, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Expert and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” For information about career services and products, visit www.careerpotential.com and www.fordmyers.com.

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter - December 29, 2011.

Sign up for the free weekly Career Insider eNewsletter.


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