Like it or not, first impressions still matter. Seven to seventeen seconds are all you get to make sure you are remembered. It helps to think about it like this: If you only had 7 to 17 seconds to impress your ultimate customer, what would you look like and what would you say?
Some like to argue that we shouldn’t be judged by our looks, so we will just have to be liked for who we are. See ya later, Success, if you buy into that. Theoretically, I agree. Realistically, I’m smarter than that. Like it or lump it, that’s not how it works. Show up for a job interview in a rumpled and ill-fitting suit and I guarantee you will not be chosen above the guy whose resume looks just like yours. Further, that whole “who you are” thing gets summed up pretty fast through your lack of attention to detail and lack of preparation in showing up for a job interview like that.
Take this fella, for example.
He got so excited (and nervous – he’s a rule follower and very afraid of the police) about shooting fireworks, he put his jacket on inside out. This is not someone I would trust with the image of my company.
Here are the Big 3 when it comes to impression management:
1) Are you well-groomed? You must be clean and tidy. Not one person wants to smell last night’s happy hour or your lunch hour workout.
2) Are your clothes clean and fitted? Don’t be afraid to have something altered. Often, a minor modification can make a tremendous difference! If you find yourself saying ‘No one will notice’, remember to also say to yourself, ‘Yes, they will’.
3) Are you confident in your appearance? If you aren’t, this will show up very quickly. If you are self-conscious and shy, your eye contact will be off and you will be reluctant to engage in conversation. Figure out what is holding you back and fix it. Change your diet, go to the gym, hire a stylist to get you outfitted, just work on it. The fact that you are addressing your burden will give your confidence a lift and others will notice.
Take a good hard look at yourself. Is your jacket inside out?