We all know that creating a good first impression is important. Even more so when you’re meeting with a potential future employer or wanting to build a relationship with an influential contact. Did you know that most people make up their minds about someone in less than a minute, and that it takes around 20 subsequent meetings to correct an initial less-than-favourable impression?

Here we share a few tips for how to get it right first time:

Where do I start?

Polish your shoes, fix your hair, ensure your fingernails are clean and neat. After all, if you take this much care over your appearance, how much attention must you lavish on your work?

Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise

Finish off your look with some well-chosen accessories. A good quality, classic watch will always look good as will a silk scarf for women or tie for men. Pick a neutral bag (brown, navy, tan) that’s large enough to carry your essentials (including an umbrella in case it rains), but not so cavernous that you need a torch just to locate your pen!

Do I need to wear a suit?

Probably yes. Make sure it’s clean, well-pressed and a good fit. The key to this is making sure your jacket fits across the shoulders; you can get trousers or skirts altered more easily.

How formal do I need to be?

It depends. Research what’s appropriate for your target sector and role. Professional and financial services still favour a more formal style of dress – sharp silhouettes, crisp shirts and classic shoes.  Most other organisations operate a ‘business casual’ dress code meaning you can be a little more relaxed on the tailoring front and a little more inventive in your choice of colour. But you still need to look as though you’ve made an effort!

Last but not least make sure that as well as looking professional, you feel comfortable in the clothes and shoes you are wearing. This should certainly help you feel more confident and help you on the way to making that great first impression.