Make a Good Last Impression

Posted by Todd Smith

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Making a good first impression is an important component of your brand. But equally important is your last impression. If you need to leave a relationship, an organization, or a place of employment, the last impression you create is how you will be remembered. And how you are remembered will likely have long-standing implications.

A good first impression may have landed you a job, but a bad last impression could jeopardize your chances of getting other ones in the future. I admire those who leave their employers with great attitudes when it would be easier to do otherwise.

It’s a small world out there, made even smaller by technology. To quote a somewhat trite but appropriate saying, “What goes around comes around.” During the early stages of my career, I was certainly naïve about this concept, but the older I get, the more I realize that my actions will dictate the lasting impressions I make in all my interactions. One damaged relationship can have far-reaching implications.

If you leave a relationship on bad terms or you handle yourself in a tasteless manner, there is NO upside. Even if you feel good on the surface or somehow justify your actions, you will likely regret your behavior down the road.

Whether you are wronged, hurt, disrespected, or mistreated in any way, how you react and respond is your choice. You are in control. You can act like a child and seek revenge by saying and doing bad things or you can hold your head high and handle yourself in a manner that makes you proud.

The benefits of leaving on a good note:

  • You will be respected. No matter what the circumstances were concerning your departure, if you handle yourself with class, people’s respect for you will grow.
  • People will speak highly of you. It is very difficult for people to speak poorly of people who handle themselves as honorable and admirable people.
  • Your self-image will increase. When you do things you shouldn’t do, these things damage your self-image. On the other hand, when you do what you know is the right thing to do, it builds your self-image. This is especially true if doing the right thing is difficult.
  • You will get better references. If for whatever reason you leave your job, don’t allow yourself to think that you won’t need references from your employer or co-workers. Someone recently told me that a prospective employer wanted to personally speak to FIVE former co-workers before taking the interview process to the next stage.

If you want to advance your career and build your market value, then your track record will be just as it sounds… your track record.

If I were to speak with a prospective employee’s references, I would definitely ask questions about the circumstances surrounding the employee’s departure. Their answers would reveal the applicant’s character and tell me how they would likely handle themselves if they were to leave my company.

Things in life rarely go exactly as we plan them. There will always be situations where we have to make a change. Sometimes serious ones, like a marriage or a job, and others not quite as significant. Regardless, be proud of the way you leave a situation and make your last impression a good one.

If you really want to stand out from the crowd, look for the good in others and leave by offering a genuine compliment.

Oftentimes it’s the last impression a person makes that will be remembered.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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