First Impressions: 4 Different Types and How to Make the Best of Them!

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The phrase, “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is true.  But what if I told you that you have multiple opportunities to make a great first impression? You’d like that, right? 

Whether you are applying for a job or meeting a new friend at a concert, you have the ability to make great first impressions. Think about it, you meet someone new and have a first encounter in person. Then, you connect on social media and in an instant; you have made another first impression. How you appear in person and online matters.  

Here’s how you can make the most of your first impressions when applying for jobs and advancing your career.

1. Online

More and more companies are using online sites like LinkedIn to post job descriptions and vet candidates for open positions.  Here’s proof- Did you know that there are 20 million job listings on LinkedIn alone?

So what can you do now to make the greatest first impression online? Use this checklist as a quick guide for Improving Your Online Presence in 4 Easy Steps.

1.     Update your profile picture

A recent headshot with professional attire and a neutral background makes for a nice profile picture.

2.     Create an appealing summary

Tell the reader what your top strengths are, why you’re great at your job, and a little about yourself.

3.     Engage with others

Comment on posts that are relevant to your industry and add insight on articles or posts where you have expertise.

4.     Connect

Search for professionals in your industry and connect with them.


And lastly, Google yourself! If you haven’t already, log out of out all social media sites and type your name into a Google search. Click on the links that appear to see what others can see about you on first glance. After all, what they see is their first impression of you.

Don’t like what you see? Change it.

2. On Paper

Your application materials might be the first time a future employer “looks” at you. Let them know that you are organized and experienced by providing polished professional documents.

Your resume, cover letter, and reference list should have the same header, the same font, and be clear of typos and grammatical errors. Doing this tells an employer that all of those documents represent the same applicant. You are also illustrating your attention to detail and neatness. This first impression is likely to be the one that lands you an interview

Need help writing your resume? Contact a resume writing service or Career Coach.

3. Over the Phone

This might seem “old school” but believe it or not, it is okay to call to inquire about an open position or an application that is on file. The very moment your call is answered, your next “first impression” is happening.

We have all answered the phone and felt an awkward pause before the person on the other end speaks. Don’t let that be you.

The best way to prepare for calling a prospective employer is to:

1.     Write down your objective for the call.

2.     Be prepared with questions that you would like to ask.

3.     Have a pen and paper to take notes.

Before you end the call, verbally restate or confirm all of the information that you wrote down. This shows that you paid close attention, took notes, and would (hopefully) do the same on the job.   

4. In Person

The power of a face-to-face meeting is incredible. Nowadays, an in person first impression happens when you walk into a business and ask for an application, turn your video on for a virtual interview, sit down for a meal with potential employers, or arrive for an interview.

So what is my best advice for you?

1.     Dress your best.

You may not need to wear a suit but if that’s appropriate, make sure it fits well, is clean, and pressed.

2.     Smile.

We all prefer to be around happy people, especially in the workplace.

3.     Display confidence.

Remind yourself that you have worked hard for this moment and your prior accomplishments have prepared you well.

4.     Be yourself.

Navigating your next career move can be exciting and fun! Start with these tips and challenge yourself to expand your professional network. You can do it!

Kayla Smith is a Professional Development and Career Coach with 10 years of experience helping young adults and seasoned professionals advance their careers through professional document services, career coaching, and live workshops. Contact Kayla at or visit for more information.