How to make a great first impression in 2016.

Angela Stanton ’16, Advertising Major

Here we are again, another New Year is here and it is time for another New Year’s Resolution. My resolution is to make 2016 count and what better way to do it than by making a great first impression. According to Urban Dictionary a “first impression” is how you present yourself when meeting a new person. Many people look back on first impressions and wish they’d made a better one.

Jesus Christ, Kate, you should’ve told me your parents would be there. I would have worn more suitable clothes to give them a good first impression…You really ****** up my evening (Hogsworth 2005).

First impressions are immediate and can be long lasting so making a great first impression is key! They can be accurate, or arbitrary, but they stick with you for better or for worse. They can make or break a job interview and can help you get a job.

Here are a few tips to making a great first impression:

1. Have a firm handshake. Having a firm handshake says a lot about an individual. It demonstrates how confident you are and that you are comfortable meeting new people and potential employers love that. I know it seems silly but practice your handshake with friends and family until you are comfortable doing it. And remember no one likes to shake hands with someone who is trying to hurt them or gives them the limp fish handshake.

2. Dress for success. Maybe you’ve noticed that the closer that you get to graduation, the more everybody is dressing up for class. It is time to present ourselves professionally and be prepared for a chance encounter with a potential employer. One way to improve your odds of making a great first impression is to dress like you have the job you want. If you look the part then potential employers will see this is a plus. Here are some looks we love that work for everyday business casual!

You can wear this outfit to anything! The dress fits perfectly and is appropriate for all office settings. You can dress it up with a coat, a belt and heels or wear it during the warmer months without the leggings and by adding a pair of heels or flats. The simple color is versatile with any color of accessories. A dress like this is an essential wardrobe item for all women!The tucked in shirt and sports jacket really make this an excellent outfit for any business occasion. It would fit in well with a small business setting, as well as a business casual environment. Matching shoes and jacket really tie it all together!A genuine smile and eye contact can make an everlasting first impression. Combining body language with a modest and simple outfit, can open the doors to everyday opportunities. You don’t have to dress in a pantsuit every day, but do be prepared because you never know who you might come across during your typical day!A great every day outfit, for whomever you might encounter! The long sleeves and natural color really creates a comforting, yet professional image. Good posture is also key to showing confidence and welcoming those around you for conversation.Here is an excellent business professional outfit. Stick to neutral colors and hem the length of the skirt right above or below the knee, which is the ideal length for a professional setting.

3. Be on time and be prepared. Being on time is important because it shows that you are dedicated and have a strong work ethic. This is so important and yet often overlooked. Being prepared by researching the topic of your meeting ahead of time can make a difference and give you an edge. Employers will notice and you will be better equipped to adapt to different situations as they arise.

4. Get organized. The beginning of the year is a great time to buy a planner or calendar at the PSU Bookstore. They have a great selection and most are on sale right now!

5. Make eye contact and be aware of your body language this is always important in business. Having good eye contact and upright body language is another way to make a great impression. Again, it shows you are confident!

There are several opportunities coming up for Career Week to help you practice making a great first impression.

Peer advisor workshop series: Presenting a Professional Image on January 26th from 4:30-5:30 pm

Mock Interviews with Professionals on January 27th from 9:00 am-4:00 pm

School of Business Career & Internship Fair on January 28th from 2:30 – 5:30 pm 

Hope to see y’all there and good luck with making great first impressions!

~ Angela Stanton ’16, Fearless Senior

Angela Stanton is a senior business student majoring in advertising.
She is also a member of the FIR Advertising student-run agency.

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Job interview tips for newcomers

Sydney Kim ’16, Marketing Major

I’m in my last year of college right now and the pressure to find a job is on. Last term, I finally managed to land an internship at a digital marketing firm, but before I managed that, I interviewed at a lot of places. Some of these position were duds and others had great potential, but regardless of the prospective they had to offer, I learned something from each interview.portrait 2

Since I never had that classic part-time job at a retailer in my high school years, interviews were very foreign to me. Throughout this trial-and-error experience, I have found several tips that have worked well for me.

First, the easiest one of them all: Dress well. And by dress well, I mean dress nicely and comfortably. It doesn’t matter how well you dress if you’re uncomfortable. I’ve done this mistake twice before I realized the difference it makes. Discomfort always shows no matter what. Whether it’s a slight grimace on your face or constant fidgeting, your interviewer can tell. But the really unfortunate thing is that the person who’s interviewing you doesn’t know that you look peeved because of your shoe that’s constantly rubbing your pinky toe. When most people hear or see something that’s negative, they usually take it personally. This is a bad message to accidentally give to someone you want to work for.

Second, tell yourself that you deserve it. Because, first of all, you do and second, it shows when you don’t believe in yourself. You have to walk into that interview thinking that you, out of all the other applicants, deserve this position the most. Confidence will go a long way. And even if you don’t truly believe that you’re the best applicant, fake it until you make it. It will eventually become true.

Lastly, don’t get discouraged when you don’t get calls back. There is a lot of competition out there and one day after a lot of rejection, you’ll probably feel terrible. You might think that the world is out to get you or that you’re just not ready for adulthood. Those thoughts are not your friend. They will make you feel worse. They beat you when you’re already down and they will never be a positive source of motivation. Instead, you have to keep telling yourself that you will and you eventually will.

Some of these tips are easier said than done, but achievements that you can take pride in take work. I challenge you to become comfortable with the uncomfortable and accomplish something worthwhile.

The School of Business offers many ways to prepare yourself for the business world:

  1. Resume Reviews, Monday, January 25

  2. Presenting a Professional Image, Tuesday, January 26

  3. Mock Interviews With Professionals, Wednesday, January 27

  4. Career & Internship Fair, Thursday, January 28

Sydney is a marketing major graduating in spring 2016. She is an intern at Adpearance and a member of the events committee of PSU’s chapter of American Marketing Association (AMA).