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Making a Good First Impression: Conversational and Interviewing Skills

As you look towards the end of the school year and start to consider summer jobs or internships, it is important to consider the type of impression you want to make on a potential employer. First impressions are always the most lasting. It’s important to develop good skills in meeting people, particularly in business. A positive first impression can open doors to a successful business relationship.

Here a few simple tips to follow that will create a positive first impression:

1. Walk tall when you enter a room.

  • How someone carries himself/herself is one of the first things anyone notices.
  • Keep your back straight, shoulders square and head up.

2. Smile.

  • Put new acquaintances at ease with a pleasant expression on your face.

3. Make eye contact.

  • When you meet someone, make eye contact.
  • By doing so, you let the person know you’re interested to meet them.

4. Leave some fingers intact.

  • A firm handshake is more than adequate.
  • Your greeting should be, “Hello, Mr. Smith. I’m Mike Jones. Pleased to meet you.”
  • Always refer to someone as “Mr.” or “Ms.” unless he or she informs you to do otherwise

5. Be prepared.

  • Bring a pad and pen with you to the interview and ask if you can take notes. This lets them know you are interested and will also give you something to which you can refer. Be careful; don’t spend the interviewer’s time taking copious notes.

6. Use positive language.

  • Begin conversations on a positive note and be mindful of expressing your ideas in positive terms.
  • Body language is very important. The more open you are with your body movements during the interview or meeting, the more open you will come across. Avoid fidgeting with your hands or feet as this creates an impression of nervousness, boredom or insecurity.

7. Repeat the person’s name, particularly as you say goodbye.

  • Always make a mental note of the name of the person you’re speaking to, and use their name during the conversation. When you’re finished speaking, tell them you hope to speak to them again soon.
  • Send a thank you note or email within 24 hours of your interview.
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