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How to make a good first impression

It’s true what they say, first impressions last and it’s a shame that you only get one because they really do count. It can be incredibly difficult to make a good first impression but that might depend on the situation. Equally so, it might be really easy, but again this would also depend on the situation.

Let’s consider a few examples of when one might consider it prudent to make a good first impression. Well, actually, is it not always prudent to make a good first impression regardless of the situation? Yes, but we could be here for days if I follow that track so instead I have decided to talk about the following: the first time you meet your partner’s family, interviews, and your first day in a new job. They are all, in equal parts, terrifying, curious and exciting.

Alright, so you got through the first date and the many more that followed, you’re now in an actual relationship. This in itself is terrifying, curious and exciting is it not?! But now you have to meet the parents! We’re stepping into a whole new world right now; it’s all about to get very real. You know how they say that dogs can smell fear? The same can be said for the potential in-laws. As you approach that front door, sweating slightly with nerves having been warned of what not to say, you fear that will be the first thing you say! Remember to be polite, complimentary, but most importantly be honest and be yourself. Let your curiosity get the better of you and ask questions, find out about these people and their family, see where you would fit in. You want these people to like you, to trust you. Striking a rapport and finding common ground is easy, you’ve already convinced their son/daughter that you’re worth the effort, and inevitably they’ll have already heard all the weird and wonderful things about you, so really there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises. Be excited, this is a positive thing and you should enjoy it. It’s starting to sound like the advice I would give lawyers going for an interview…

An interview should never be terrifying, although if you’re nervous it is understandable that this may represent as fear or terror. The fundamental thing to remember is that whomever you’re interviewing with, they want the same outcome as you! Nobody wants to walk out of that room thinking it had been a waste of time, everybody wants to come away feeling positive and looking forward to meeting again. Allow curiosity to come through in an interview; ask questions, dig deeper. This is much an opportunity for you as the interviewee to find out about the role, the firm, the opportunity and how this will work for you, as it is for the interviewer to assess your merits for the job. Be excited! I know this might sound completely unnatural but if you’re attending an interview you really ought to look forward to it, because it could very well be life changing. Even the smallest detail can make all the difference, so allow yourself to be excited about the opportunity. This will help you showcase not only you credibility as a candidate but also your personality, which is just as important in an interview.

If all of the above makes sense and you make it through the interview stages and receive a job offer, the next big step is walking through the door on day one. You’re about to embark on the first day of the next chapter in your life, professionally at least. You’re going to meet dozens or perhaps even hundreds of new people, with only a select few that you will recognise. You have to make new friends, find your place and fit in. It’s like the first day of school, only everyone else has been there for years already and you’re the new kid that’s just moved here and you’ve got a funny accent! That last part is hyperbole of course but I think you get the point; the first day is terrifying! Or at least it can be. But similarly to an interview it really needn’t be that frightful. Remember, they met you amongst perhaps even dozens of others and they offered you the job, they wanted you the most, and now here you are! You’re going to be curious about your new surroundings, use this and explore your way around to get comfortable. When you think of it like this, it’s genuinely exciting and the first day in a new job should be. It’s the start of something new, something better, something brighter!

Ultimately it’s always best to make a good impression as early on as possible. Although sometimes this isn’t possible, my next blog is going to be about second chances so keep an eager eye out for it.

For more information contact Gishan Abeyratne at BCL Legal.

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