First Impressions

First impressions are really important when it comes to a job interview, meeting the in-laws for the first time, trying to land a sale, and many, many other social situations...

...and it only takes two to three seconds to make a first impression.

According to Mind Tools the key elements to making a great first impression are:
     1. Be on time.
     2. Present yourself appropriately.
     3. Be yourself.
     4.  Have a winning smile.
     5. Be open and confident.
     6. Use small talk.
     7. Be positive.
     8. Be courteous and attentive.

We have all probably heard this list before (or something like it), and you've probably been to a job interview, or have had to meet someone you wanted to impress, but did you ever think about the first impression your writing makes? You should.

When you send a letter or an article to a colleague or publisher they cannot help but form some kind of first impression when they open your document; this also applies to your professor. When your professor opens your essay and the header is wrong, there is no title, your paper contains three different fonts, or it's all single-spaced, it makes them wonder what other instructions you failed to follow. Did you do the assignment? Did you follow the examples? Did you include all the required elements? Is every other word misspelled?

In other words, in less than five seconds your professor has an unfavorable first impression of your work and that can never be good. What advice do you have for giving your reader a GREAT first impression?


  1. Clearly, follow all required steps by the professor in terms of format, such as titles, work cited pages, introductions and the appropriate information with the right templates should be at the start of the paper. Next, a great introduction that hooks the reader can make an extremely good impression of how the paper is but it should be followed up with great writing or it would just be anticlimactic.

    Wayne Toh

  2. I would say making a GREAT first impression to your reader would start with a creative title! Having a humorous/thoughtful title pulls the reader in and signifies that your paper may not be so dreadful. Another method would be to start your paper with a hook, or a statement or story that pulls the reader in. Jumping right into your paper can leave your reader unprepared for all of the monotony you are about to present to them.

    -Orgil Tuvshintugs

  3. Casandra Ralleta

    Advice I have for giving your reader a great first impression is to double check your formatting, spelling, and punctuation. It is also important to hook your reader with a interesting introduction. For example, a personal anecdote allows your reader get to know a little about you and your paper's topic. An eye-catching title will also aid in impressing your reader. I really enjoy titles that use alliteration. Before writing a paper you should make an outline so that the paper is coherent and flows together. In an in-person interview, the interviewer usually looks for calm and collected people in the same way your paper should reflect a composed professional feeling, but don't write over your head. Be genuine and know your topic.

  4. My advice for giving readers a great first impression is firstly to make sure that your font is professional and readable as the very first thing readers would notice from your essay is not its contents but its layout and format. You have to make sure that your entire essay is correctly formated, typed with the same font, and double-spaced. Second, you have to attract readers with an interesting title. Titles must be concise and meaningful to help reader easily comprehend your essay topic while, at the same time, hooked into reading your essay further.

  5. I believe I would have a couple pieces of advice to give for a great first impression. First, I would remind not to be fearful of using cliches. They are cliches because they work, so if you really need to you shouldn't be afraid to use those. Secondly, I would advise to stay away from using slang in places that may not be appropriate for the audience. For example, I don't think a supervisor would enjoy having you call them "Bro". It is very unprofessional to call your supervisor your "Bro". The last piece of advice I would give is to make sure that you are satisfied with your work. If you are unsure or believe your speech or essay is terrible, you are probably going to do worse on it. Make sure you create a piece that fits your satisfaction, and you will most likely have a better grade or response for it.

    -Trinity Long

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Obviously, it is very important to follow all directions when writing an essay. Before you start writing, you should take time to look over the prompt that was assigned to you. Once you understand exactly what your teacher is asking for, you can start writing. Lastly, it is very important to make sure to come up with a creative title so it intrigued your professor.
    -Caitlin Sloan

  8. One the the first thing I read on a paper is usually a great title. Many places on the internet are great and can really come out and make you want to read it for more information. Even if the subject is just what ,Kayne West, a rapper had to say a few days ago that might be something unusual to say. Furthermore, after the title you want to get the reader to keep reading so make the first two sentences exciting where they would like to know more about your subject. This may be like the small talk that we have with people so we can get a subject that we both have in common or an idea that may be the same. Also being presentable for a interview is very important and appearance looks sharp. This leads to having your paper very organized and using the same font and being clean with your paper.

    --Steven Roberts

  9. Jagmeet Randhawa
    Engl 126
    I think first impression are important in certain cases like when someone is interviewing a job. In other situations, it may not be as important. For school, It is important to have a good impression, like when you write your essay. My advice is to follow instructions, and do your best. Double check and revise, also have someone else read your essay, to get a different perspective.


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