5 Big Reasons your First Impressions aren’t working …even if you think they are!

 

I’m sure you are already aware of how important first impressions are. But you may not be aware that the “first impression” is actually only a seven second window of the initial meeting.

This means that when it comes to an interviewing situation, you need to act quickly in order to make a memorable first impression. To get hired and remembered, here are five big reasons why your first impressions may not be working even if you thought you did a great job.

Does your appearance match expectations?

Of course you may not know what the visual expectations are when you first meet someone. If you are interviewing for a position, you should have a visual in your mind of what type of clothes the person wears in the job that you are applying for. For example; an account manager position, you will meet clients in person. Make sure to dress professional which could include a matching two piece outfit or a dress and blazer. Just make sure to look professional since you will be the front face and represent the company.

“When you look good, you feel good.” This has always been my motto and it’s true. You will automatically walk taller, look confident, comfortable and happy.

Appearances really matter in first impressions. This is the first information someone has about you – and plays a bigger role in the first meeting than they do in later meetings.

Dress the part and project professional presence. Employers are seeking staff that have a sense of poise, confidence and are competent. Make sure you wear a touch of color, for example, a black matching outfit with a red blouse. Red symbolizes a subtle influence of power.

What is your style? This matters too. A person can usually figure out by the clothes your wear if you have a serious, fun, traditional or progressive look. Your style tells an “instant story” about you. So it’s important to make sure you project your story the way you want it to be told. You are your own walking billboard.

It’s important to point out that you don’t have to be good-looking to look good. Beauty is nice, but confidence is what matters. I was once hired based on the confidence that I projected in the interview. My boss said that she wished she had my confidence and was impressed by it and knew that I could do the job.

When you look good, you will feel good and project a positive image that shows your style, poise and comfort in your own skin.

Are you present?

Walk tall, maintain eye contact, smile and present a firm handshake.

Relax and get in the flow of what’s going on in the room. Don’t think about the next question you are going to ask. The interviewer will be able to tell if you’re thinking about it and it shows on your face.

Stay in the moment and listen intently with eye contact. This gives the interviewer the indication that you are in the moment of the conversation and interested. Focus on what’s being said and at times you can use the same information in your answers. The person is giving you information about the position, including who is the ideal candidate for the job. So really listen. During my years of interviewing for jobs, I found I was able to use the same information that the interviewer gave me. By making eye contact and nodding toward them, it makes them feel at ease and more comfortable with you.

Don’t forget to smile. A smile represents that you are happy, positive and approachable. This is an invitation to the interviewer to make contact.

The handshake impacts your initial impression and should be firm and complete the grip, but not too heavy that the person’s hand is hurting. The firm handshake is seen as more confident and assertive.

Do you project the right energy?

What type of energy are you presenting when you meet people in person?

Even if you are a calm person, you must show that you still have it – your energy that is. Your energy includes how much you talk, how fast and how loud. You can still have a calming nature, but be involved in conversations for new ideas and thinking. Competition is fierce and employers are trying to keep up and think of faster and new ways of working.

When talking to people, “lean in” or forward. This shows your interest and energy as well.

Show how you are not stuck in your ways and able to adapt to changing ways by giving examples of working in an environment where you had to adapt quickly to a change. Show how flexible you are. If you’ve worked in more than one company, that’s a good thing these days and shows your resilience.

Did you connect with the interviewer?

People are comfortable working with someone who has similar interests, lifestyle or know some of the same people. I knew a past employee of the company that I interviewed with and the interviewer was very fond of her. I also commented on my potential boss’ picture of her grand-daughter hanging on the wall and she was so excited that I noticed. She proceeded to talk another 5 minutes about her. Of course, she couldn’t ask me any questions about my family since that is illegal, but openly giving her some personal information about me having a daughter helped us connect. She immediately felt we had similar interests due to having children.

You can also look around the room and find any pictures that you can comment about to generate a conversation and connection. Show interest in the interviewer as a person, since people like to talk about themselves and want to work with someone who they feel they connect with.

Did you prove your worth without mentioning money?

Always have prepared questions to ask the interviewer, team and hiring manager, but one the most important things to do is to bring any documents to the interview that supports your accomplishments.

For example, if the position requires you to create a new process, then bring the document that highlights where you did that at another company. Be prepared to leave it with the company and remove any confidential information.

Prove why you are the most qualified and Get Hired!

So I ask, are your First Impressions working for you?

 

Find out how to get noticed and identify your First Impressions personal style and brand. Learn how they impact your professional success and sign up for my 11-page workbook @ www.FirstImpressionsMatter.com

Year-End Check-Up! 2017 Style Tips

Since our mid-year check up blog post was highly popular, we decided to refresh your memory with some of the highlights. Can you believe it’s already mid December? But before we move on to a new year, let’s go over some style tips we learned in 2017.

The end of the year is the perfect time to check in with yourself. It’s time to look back on your outfits and style choices of the year and figure out if this is the personal brand you’re trying to showcase to the world.

Here are 5 ways to analyze your personal style choices and revamp your outfits.

It makes a great difference in how you feel. You can start with one simple change.

DO YOUR CLOTHING CHOICES MATCH YOUR LIFESTYLE?

First and foremost you must have the appropriate clothing in your closet in order to have something to wear on a daily basis.

Organize your closetDo you sometimes pass over new jeans, morning after morning, in favor of an old pair?  Only 20 percent of the clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, according to a survey from California Closets. Another survey by Voucher Cloud revealed that the average woman has $550 dollars of unworn clothing in her closet. Most commonly unworn items in her closet are shoes and coats.

Decide what type of clothing you need to have in your closet. For instance, if you are working a full-time job, then you should have over 80% of your closet filled with business clothes. The other 20 percent could be casual, sporty, casual chic, and a few items for evening wear, depending on what you need.

Sort through pieces you haven’t worn in ages and get rid of the ones you’re not likely to wear again.  Once your wardrobe is filled with pieces you love to wear, you will never say you have nothing to wear again.

Wear colors that compliment your skin tone

I was surprised to find out how little people consider their skin tones when picking out color choices. In my opinion, it makes a world of difference to your look.

Examine your closet and experiment with different colors to find out which hues work best with your complexion. Ask a close friend (one whose fashion opinion you trust!) what colors look good on you and work best with your skin.

It will also be beneficial for you to understand your skin surface tone, which is the color you’d describe yourself (light, medium, tan, dark, etc). Your skin’s undertone is the color underneath the surface. You can have the same skin tone as someone, but a different undertone which is as follows:

  • Cool: (pink, red or bluish undertones)
  • Warm: (yellow, peachy, golden undertones)

If you have cool under tones, colors that look great on you include:  mint or kelly green, teal, lavender, purple, navy, hot pink, rose pink and burgundy.

For warm toned skin, colors that look good on you are:  peach, yellow (lemon and mustard, which has more brown tones), brown, red, lime green, orange, kelly green, and mint green.

Are you wearing the appropriate clothing for your Body Type?

Do you know your body shape? This is the first step in feeling good in your clothes and building your personal style. It’s important to make sure your clothes fit in proportion to your body shape.

Knowing your body portions and what you need to adjust or camouflage will make you self consious of your body and can lower your self-esteem.

Explore the 5 different body shapes and identify your body type.

Hourglass, Rectangle, Apple/Oval, Pear/Rectangle, and Inverted Triangle.

HourglassCurves, curves and more curves!
Your shoulders are relatively as wide as your hips/thighs and your waist is distinctly narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Rectangle– Shoulders are as wide as your hips/thighs. Your waist is as wide as or just narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Apple/Oval – Shoulders are narrower or as your hips/thighs: from the front view, your waist appears the same width or wider than your shoulders/hips.

Pear/Rectangle – Your hips are wider than your shoulders with a round, sloping shoulders, a well-defined waistline (and might even have killer abs), your buttocks and thighs are full and round. Pear body shapes gain weight on their thighs.

Inverted Triangle – Your shoulders are wider than your waist and hips/thighs.

Complete your outfit with accessories

Accessories complete the outfit and have the power to instantly make you comfortable in your own skin and boost your confidence. Here are a few accessories you can try out in different seasons:

  • A pair of comfy sandals, flats or heels – I’m always looking for style and comfort and I think the designers finally got it right. There are so many stylish and comfortable selections out for recently including Birkenstock’s, slide-in mules or heels with ankle straps and snug boots.
  • A sassy handbagTry a color like coral, blue or yellow. You’ll be surprised how much the handbag adds a pop of color and updates your outfit.
  • Statement sunglassesA classy pair of sunglasses can take you from drab to fab, instantly. You will also beat the heat, in style, during the hotter months.
  • Hats – They protect you from the sun and in colder months, warmer hats are good accessories that also cover your ears.

Never again leave the house feeling uncomfortable about your style choice

If you don’t feel 100% confident about your clothing choice before leaving the house, then don’t wear it. Try this quick trick — take a full-length picture of yourself and see how you look. The camera doesn’t lie. I always do this when I’m trying on sunglasses and want to select the right style. I can always tell which ones I should buy based on the picture and how I feel in them.

You will be able to recognize the right outfit at the moment you look in the mirror and feel nothing but pride, satisfaction, happiness, empowerment and confidence in what you’re wearing.

 

By doing all of these things you will continue to feel better about how you look and present yourself to the world. Its starts with how you feel about your style.

The end of the year is always a great time to evaluate what has been working for you. It helps put things in perspective for the new year.

To your beauty,


For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at brenda@firstimpressionsmatter.com or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

5 Tips to Look Chic and Professional at your Office Holiday Party

Season’s greetings to all you lovely ladies! You might be comfortable dressing up for holiday parties with your friends and family, but what about with your coworkers and boss? Keep reading to discover my tips to look totally chic yet professional at your office holiday party.

Think back to previous holiday parties you’ve attended.  I’m sure you have seen some interesting outfits that caught your eye. Draw inspiration from them for your own style. Put together pieces that showcase your personality and style. Find the right combination between elegance and glamour in your holiday ensemble. This will help you pull of a trendy yet business casual look at your holiday party. When you wear something you feel and look good in, it automatically instills more confidence in you which your coworkers are bound to notice!

However there have definitely been times in the past where you have witnessed some people wearing the most over-the-top outfits at office parties. This is definitely something to keep in mind and steer clear of. In these situations, finding balance in your outfit choices is key. Use it to create a visual representation of your smart and successful work-place attitude, even if the theme of the part is after-business hours.  Never forget that you are constantly mingling with people from work. Since it is a work oriented event, you and the rest of your coworkers are being observed all night long.

If your office holiday party is in the evening, then you definitely need to make sure your outfit is dressier than your day wear, to rightfully capture the holiday spirit.

Real personalities have a tendency to show themselves at a social event, especially when alcohol is involved. Be aware of this when you’re drinking and don’t let yourself get out of control. A lot of essential things might be part of conversations in these settings. Use the opportunity to stay alert and make a great impression with impressive responses. Don’t drink too fast, be cautious of your environment and sip your wine or drink slowly through the night.

Overall, you still want to look professional and your outfit should be a reflection of your elegant style which incorporates your personality.

Here are 5 guidleines for any event.

Wear something different from your regular work outfit

Unless there is a specific mention of a dress code, make sure you don’t dress like it’s just another busy day at work. Even if the event is a luncheon or during business hours, make an effort to be more festive. Switch up the color choices from what you usually wear or add some seasonal sparkle. Whatever it is, make sure you do it tastefully.

Sequins have become a year long trend recently but they are especially in fashion during the holidays. It’s a great idea to wear a sweater with low key sequins. I’ve seen turtle necks with scattered sequins on the front which are just beautiful and done with taste. You can always wear a sweater with a skirt and opague tights. There’s no need for a jacket but have on simple jewelry or even a small to medium-sized hoop bling earrings, which adds a nice touch.

I’m currently wearing a lot of long vests or dusters these days since I just love them and they go with the season. They help to make you look tailored and smaller and layering is great during the season. I love taupe and gold slightly-sequined vest with a matching gold lightly sequined turleneck sweater. This is a great outfit that can make you look festive and professional at the same time, especially with a daytime event. But be sure the color is in your pallette and looks great with your skintone.

If your event is in the evening, a little black dress is always a go-to. This is so simple and wearing the right jewelry will bring out the dress. Make sure the jewelry is not too much of a statement piece so it won’t stand out unnecessarily. There’s always a tasteful way to add more bling to an outfit!

I also suggest a red dress or pants which is always nice for a holiday office party. You might think eveyone will wear red but you will be surprised how mistaken you are. Hardly anyone is keeping with tradition any more, especially the millennials. I remember when I wore red ponte slacks, a red, black and tan blouse with a black jacket and it was such a hit among my friends. Red is in my color pallette and also my favorite color, so when I wear it, I always feel extra good. It helps when you feel great in what you’re wearing, you will shine and have more pep in your step and people will be automatically be attracted to you.

Try a different hairstyle or add jewelry to your hair

Shake it up a little and try something different with your hair for the office party. If you wear your hair down most of the time, why not try wearing it up?

Nothing extravagant, just keep it elegant and simple with the possibility of keeping it together with bobby pins. This can be a roll, pin up bob or French roll. Whatever is easiest for you.

You can also try wearing a ponytail or French braid or braids along the sides of your hair.

Slip into a pair of shoes you don’t normally wear to work

Here’s where you can show some skin if you like. Wear shoes that expose your toes and heels. They elongate your legs and make them look lean.

Try not to wear the same pumps that you wear to work. Wear something different and more glamourous. Maybe the color of the shoe can be red instead of the same old black shoes that you wear. Or the texture of the shoes is different, for instance, a little sparkle can be nice, as long as it’s not too much and goes with the outfit or dress.

Keep make-up natural and lips bright

You should look diferent than your everyday look, but do not add to much make-up, it will make you look older. It should be the same shade as your complexion and this will give you a natural look, which is what you want.

Try applying a brighter lipstick than you normally wear. Red or Berry’s are great colors for the holidays. These colors look great with red, black, ivory, mocha, blush, and burgundy.

Keep cleavage to yourself

The wrong outfit includes showing clevage, a backless dress, or a too-short skirt can present the wrong first impression. This can be a distraction and you will receive unwanted stares and gossip. People will look at you differently and there is no going back from that. You are always being looked at under a corporate microscope. You never know if you are being considered for a promotion or another position and should always present the right image.

Remember any event outside of the corporate office but you are meeting with people you work with, should be looked at as an office event no matter where it is held. Never forgot it!

Overall, your goal for dressing for a company holiday party is to keep your look chic and professional while also finding ways to show your personality and have fun.

It’s all about feeling good about yourself, so make sure the outfit you choose leaves you confident and ready to mingle and have some fun.

 

Find out How to Stand Out from the Crowd and identify your personal style and brand. Learn how they impact your professional success and sign up for my 11-page workbook @ www.FirstImpressionsMatter.com (bottom of page).