Tips for a great first impression

Interviewee and interviewer talking at a table.
Monika Monga
Monika Monga (Business Management ’00; Human Resources Management MA) is an HR professional who has worked in both the public and private sector where she gained experience in recruitment.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s a phrase attributed to Will Rogers that certainly still rings true. First impressions are critical in the business world.

A good way to prepare is to use the “elevator pitch” — a 30-second commercial about yourself. It’s based on the idea that if you were in the elevator with someone you wanted to impress, you would have 30 seconds to tell them about your education and work experience. This pitch can be used for the popular interview question, “Tell me about yourself” and if you are meeting new people at a networking event.
Important aspects of the pitch include:

1. The basics

Introduce yourself and share your profession and/or current industry or those you’ve worked in previously.

2. Experience

Give a summary of your work experience. If you are also involved in extracurricular activities, take the opportunity to showcase how you give back to the community.

3. Education

Provide a summary of your academic achievements, focusing on your post-secondary education. If you know the other person attended the same academic institution, be sure to mention it, as a way to connect.

4. Future goals

Share your future aspirations for your career and more broadly.

Example:
Hi, my name is [name]. I currently work at ABC Company as a Human Resources Professional. I have worked in both the public and private sector in the area of recruitment where I have learned different methods of recruitment processes. I also enjoy giving back to the community by participating at resume clinics and in panel discussions about recruitment. I have completed my Master’s in Human Resources from Ryerson University. I really enjoy HR because it gives me the opportunity to help others with their careers and grow within their profession.

Practice tips:

  • Write down your elevator speech
  • Make it sound more conversational than memorized
  • Time your speech
  • Practice in front of a mirror, friend or family member
  • Be enthusiastic and confident about who you are
  • Smile

The elevator pitch can help enhance your communication and presentation skills, and importantly, your networking experiences. Be sure to craft your personal elevator pitch with care to ensure your first impression is memorable.


Monika Monga (Business Management ’00; Human Resources Management MA) is an HR professional who has worked in both the public and private sector where she gained experience in recruitment.