“You can’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s a saying we all probably first heard when we were little, and one we’ve all grown up to abide by. I know I have. I’ve always had pride in giving people chances. This includes having an open mind when it comes to first impressions, because they really count. Whether it’s a date with someone or your first proper interaction with your boss. In all these situations we want to give the best impression. But what happens when somebody already has a certain perception of you?
Making a good first impression is crucial for everyone. This is especially true when you’re starting a new job. Research carried out by monster.co.uk stated that employers make decisions about job applicants in under seven minutes. But what do you when someone gets the complete wrong idea of you? When they presume things about you that aren’t true and so have a false impression? How do you change it?
This was the exact position I was in just before Christmas. My new boss called me in for a meeting to sign my contract. I won’t go into the details, but he talked at me for 45 minutes about what he thought of me. He had made presumptions about me, which led to him having a bad and false impression of me. I left the meeting feeling smaller than I had ever felt in my life. I was bottom of the food chain.
But at that moment I had to make a decision. Did I carry on being who he thought I was – an inactive, quiet ‘yes’ girl? Or work my hardest to change their impression?
I did the latter.
So over the past few months I’ve been working on how to change someone’s impression of me. It’s something I’ve never done before and it’s been a challenge. But I did it. So today, I wanted to share four pieces of advice that will make this a whole lot easier to deal with.
Do A Brief Assessment Of Yourself
When you know someone has the wrong impression of you, it’s normal to feel disheartened. You’ve worked to be who you are – it’s not fair for someone to come along and look past all that. So after you let off steam and make a decision about what you’re going to do, you can take action.
I found it beneficial to assess myself. I had to think about who I saw myself as. If I saw myself as how my boss saw me, then something would have to change. But if I saw myself as who I know I am – a strong minded woman – then I would know that I was judged incorrectly.
Once you’ve got the answer, you can start working on changing their impression. The first step is being aware of it. That way, the rest is a lot easier.
Do More Than What Is Expected Of You
What you do in your current role is important for the company you work for. But it’s even more important for your future employers. They will want to see your successes and what you’ve achieved in your career. Doing more than what is in your job description will show employers that you’re proactive. In my case, this was the opposite of what my boss thought of me. So over the past few months I’ve taken on a brand new project and achieved results with it.
Over the past few months, I’ve reminded myself of some valuable lessons. Remember, you’re not doing this for the company or to get someone to like you. you’re doing this for
If it gets that bad that you want to get another job, do everything you can to be ready for that point so you can get out as soon as possible; because if it’s going to help you in the long run, it’s worth it.
Keep A Record Of Everything You Do
It’s difficult to tell your boss about the great things you’ve done, with no evidence. Over the past few months, I’ve noted down everything I’ve been doing in a work day. So if my boss ever came to me one day and said, “Holly, show me everything you’ve done this week”, I’d have plenty to show him. Your accomplishments, the results you achieve, the relationships you build – everything. That way, you’ll be able to tell how much they care. If they’re impressed with everything you’ve done and even go as far to say “I was wrong about you”, you’ve done it.
If, as in my case, it’s the opposite, you know you’re not valued. You’re replaceable. Who wants to work for a company when you know you’re not valued? It’s the worst feeling an employee can have. But if that happens, you’re entitled to have your say. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
Remember That It Takes Time
Like most things, changing someone’s impression won’t happen overnight. It takes time and evidence to prove to someone you aren’t who they think you are. But be careful and remember the reasons why you’re doing this. If it’s to get a promotion or to change the opinion of someone who doesn’t like you, they aren’t great motivators. But if you do this for you, for your benefit, the end result will be so much more fulfilling.
I’d love to know, have you ever had to try and change someone’s impression?
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