Let’s look at first impressions in a professional context. People make first impressions based on appearance. Dress, posture, stance, speech, handshake, eye contact. All of these play a factor in how you are perceived. Race, ethnicity, and gender play a factor, but that is a discussion for another time.
Some may say “That’s so shallow! I don’t want people to make a judgment of me by first impressions of my appearance!”
It’s true that first impressions may be misleading, and it is worth keeping an open mind for how impressions can change. However, the truth is that judgements on appearance are part of daily life. When people make the above statement, how I interpret it is:
“I am so unique and fabulous that everyone should make an exception of their ordinary social perceptions for me, because I don’t care to play by their social games but still want to receive the benefits, and I will mask my complaint under the veneer of vague social critique.”
How you want people to perceive you (sharp, carefree, rebellious, iconoclastic, competent) is partly under your control. Whatever you want to express, go for it! Br intentional in how you present yourself, because people will make assessments based on what they see.