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Putting your best foot forward

Tips for navigating interviews, networking events, and professional gatherings

Having self-confidence in personal and professional interactions can enhance your relationships whether it is with friends, teachers or a future employer. Impressions, good manners and social skills can be a key factor in your personal and future career success. Let these tips help you navigate interviews, networking events, social gatherings, and other situations you may encounter now or in the future.

Making an introduction

When introducing yourself and or others, there are some key points you want to keep in mind:

  • Stand when being introduced to someone.
  • Make eye contact when you shake hands and exchange names.
  • Give a firm handshake when shaking hands.
  • Repeating the person’s name aloud may help you remember their name. As an example, “Hi John, it is nice to meet you.”
  • If there are others around you, introduce yourself or introduce them to the rest of the group.

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A first impression is important

When meeting someone, an opinion can be formulated before you even open your mouth.

Let’s explore the different professional dress considerations.

  • Business casual means dressing in a manner which is professional, yet relaxed, but not sloppy. It means looking neat and pulled together. For business casual, aim for a classic understated look. You can combine some of your existing professional business wardrobe with casual attire. 
  • Business professional is formal attire like a suit. This type of dress is typically what you would wear to an interview.

Some additional tips are below:

  • Avoid loud colors, prints, and accessories.
  • Ensure your shoes are polished.
  • Be sure your entire outfit is wrinkle-free.
  • Use a steamer or iron to get out any remaining creases.

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Email correspondence

Be diligent in your professonal correspondence. This is often a virtual first impression.

  • If you are emailing someone for the first time, always introduce yourself.
  • Spell words out. No slang, texting language, or emojis.
  • Allow ample time for a response until you follow up again. Ample times depends on the context.
  • Beware of auto populate. Proofread your message before sending.
  • Always fill out the subject line.
  • Spell check and re-read your email before sending.
  • If you reference attachments, make sure they are attached before hitting send.
  • Keep it clear and concise.
  • Be aware of your tone. When in doubt, pick up the phone and have a chat.

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