For many college students, business majors or not, this is the time in our lives to develop our professional skills and pursue our dream jobs. Many jobs and internships are available to college students to help them gain professional experiences, make connections, and discover what it is they would like to do. Anyone who's ever worked will tell you that first impressions are important, and making a good one can help you out greatly. That being said, here are some easy tips to help you make a great, professional first impression:
1. Dress To Impress
This is a no-brainer. Overdressing is usually better than undressing. Dressing up is a subtle way to tell the person you are speaking with "I care about this opportunity and I am trying to impress you." While you might not have to dress super-formally, do dress nicely. Also, make sure your clothes fit properly. Modesty is usually considered more professional, so think carefully about tight clothes or super short dresses.
2. Don't Get Caught With Your Phone
It's easy to point at young people and criticize them for being addicted to their phones, but I've seen plenty of adults who are not much better. Looking at your phone while talking to someone else is disrespectful in a professional setting. If you really need to check the time, consider wearing a watch. Also, keep your phone on a silent. Buzzes from your bag can be distracting.
3. Handwritten Thank-Yous Are A Must
These are rare nowadays, and I'm telling you I've had nothing but good reactions after giving them. Not only are they thoughtful, but the person you spoke with is much more likely to remember you and have positive feelings towards you.
4. Be Cautious With Heels And Ties
You look silly if you can't comfortably walk in your tall heels. A nice pair of low-pumps can look super chic and won't trip you up. However, if you can walk in super tall heels and want to wear them, go for it! Also gentlemen: learn how to tie a tie if you haven't already. Clip-ons won't cut it.
5. Be Calm
This one is really hard. If you are new to job interviews, it's natural to be anxious and overthink literally everything. Try to tell yourself that the person you are talking to is just a person. They are not a robot who does everything perfectly, and once they were new to the professional world too.
6. Read Up On The Company And The Position
If you are interviewing, know a few things about the company. Know what the position you are applying for and be prepared to ask specific questions about it. Even if you don't think you know what you are doing, you'll look like it.
7. Proofread. Everything.
Read your emails twice. Double-check your resume and cover letter. Nothing is more off-putting than a spelling mistake or using "their" instead of "there."
8. Come Up With Some Practice Questions And Anecdotes Ahead Of Time
Think of times you overcame challenges. Think of interesting stories you have that demonstrate your skills. Maybe even have a joke ready. There are tons of example job interview questions online, and it can be a comforting thought to know that you have some answers already prepared.