Image consultant advises Journalism students to have more than academic skills

By Letre Sweeting

Feb. 8, 2016

First impressions, through outward appearance, are lasting and bad ones could compromise an opportunity that was otherwise guaranteed, an image consultant told aspiring journalists at Holland College Feb. 5.

JHG Margaret Gallant Standalone
Image consultant Margaret Gallant speaks to Holland College journalism students on Feb. 2. Among the topics discussed were first impressions at job interviews and how to dress to impress. Jason Ginter photo.

Margaret Gallant, mother to journalism student Madison Blanchard, is a local conflict/resolution practitioner, human resources specialist and a workplace coach and trainer. She uses these skills as image consultant who advises people on what looks are appropriate and will leave an impression in different situations. Her clients’ ages range from 20-75.

Gallant told Journalism students that people hiring in the industry look for more than academic skills.

“If I go to interview you and your clothes aren’t what they should be, then I may not hear you.”

First impressions make an impact in the industry, said Gallant.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression. First impressions are made in five to seven seconds. That’s how most people move in the world and are successful.”

Peggy McInnis, financial adviser in admissions at Holland College, agrees.

She said she sees people often in her line of work and those with tattoos give a different first impression to her than those without tattoos.

“I don’t like any tattooing, in my opinion they’re making a statement and I find that when I ask them why they did it, they say they were making a statement.”

Some people have trouble finding work and supporting themselves because they have tattoos, said McInnis.

“If you want to get a tattoo get it where it can’t be seen, because some people when they see them, they won’t hire you.”

But Leah Cyr is a first-year dental assisting student who has to wear uniforms in class when practising.

She said she does not like to judge a person by their first impression because sometimes people have days when they’re not feeling well so they dress accordingly.

“I don’t assume they don’t know how to dress. They’re probably having a rough-patch so, I try not to judge right on first impressions.”

Cyr said she tries to get to know people on a personal level before judging them.

“I would talk to them a few times first then maybe base my opinion then.”

However Gallant, McInnis and Cyr said when an individual has a job they love, they should look like they want to be there.