3 Bad Habits That Ruin Your First Impression


You never gain back a first impression.

Ten years ago, first impressions were typically made over the phone or through face-to-face interactions. Today, they are most often created by simply Google-ing a person’s name or looking at someone’s social media profile.

Regardless of whether you are a church leader who hires new team members, a candidate applying to jobs, or a volunteer in your church, your peers are watching you online.

There is no such thing as a private social media presence, so let’s remove this notion from the table. From websites that pull information into their database, to friends and spouses who do not prioritize a private social media life, you have less control over your online presence as you might think.

What first impression are you making? Avoid these three bad online habits that can ruin your first impression.

1. Unprofessional Email Address: Does your e-mail address give off the non-verbal announcement that you’re a professional who cares? It’s time to rethink hotpastor316@fakeemail.net and establish a professional and personally branded e-mail address. It can be as basic as your first and last name.

2.  Inconsistent Social Media: Do your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn usernames reflect a respected ministry leader? Again, a twitter handle of @hotpastor316 might not give the impression you’d like to achieve. It’s always best to use your name when possible for online brand consistency.

3.  Unthoughtful Content: Does the content you’re sharing promote your candidacy or current employer well? I’m not saying you have to tweet/post only Bible verses, but do the things you’re posting honor your name as well as your organization or the organization by which you would like to be employed?

Here are a few action steps to avoid making a bad first impression online:

• Click through every picture on your social networks and ask yourself, “What impression does this give to those who may not know me or didn’t know me at this time in my life?” Your resume tells your story, which includes your “social resume” as well.

• Consider your spouse’s social media presence. Especially in the ministry world, their social media presence is just as important as yours.

• Are you using social media to share useful and encouraging content or are you simply raving and ranting about the latest political decision. Keep in mind that divisive and negative social media posts are polarizing and are not helpful in making a positive first impression.

The only person who can answer as to why something is on your Facebook wall is you. Does your social media profile paint the picture of a well-rounded candidate who loves his or her family or does it offer other, less desirable information? If you are confronted about something in your social media profile, be responsible and gracious, and consider removing it from your page.

As always, keep context in mind. If you're screening candidates for a job or a volunteer position, don't forego interviewing someone because of one questionable social media post. Take the time to see the greater picture. Be intentional about understanding the context of the object in question before you make a decision.