They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The pandemic has proved “them” wrong. 

Chances are good that you either worked from home during the pandemic, or you didn’t work, or many of your co-workers stayed home so you didn’t see much of them except on Zoom. 

And now, little by little, people are returning to their physical worksites and seeing everyone again for the first time in a year and a half. 

Say “hello” to your second chance. 

Like the day after New Year’s or the first day of a new semester at school, this re-emergence is your second chance to make a first impression. 

The pandemic gave us all time to think about everything from our careers to our family life to our personal style. It gave us time to decide whether the personal “brand” we present and sell at work is really the one we want to stick with. It gave us time to try out new things and to work on ourselves. 

And now, we have a chance to unveil our new selves to the world—at work, at social events, even at family holidays. 

We might have to do that wearing a mask, but we can still embrace this chance to show up different. We can present ourselves as more confident, more polished, more relaxed. We can change from a casual workplace style to a more dressed-up, polished everyday look—or the other way around. 

We can elevate our peacemaker skills at family gatherings and our cooperative side in team meetings, even if we had an uncomfortable, pre-pandemic reputation as combative or hard to work with. 

We quite literally can be whomever we want to be. We can re-create our personal brand so that we show up exactly how we want others to see us. 

Some colleagues, friends or family members might be surprised to see this new you, or even reluctant to believe it’s really you. But most probably won’t remember your 1.5-year-old flaws. 

If you live your new brand day after day—consistently—that is the “you” that others will get used to. If you sell that brand—sell others on the fact that this,  not that, is really you, then this is the “you” others will buy. 

They will get used to the new you. The present will override the past. It won’t be long until your new look and attitude don’t seem odd or new to anyone. To others, it will seem like this who and how you are. 

 If you’re changing jobs or starting a new school year, you might be making a first-ever impression on the people you meet for the first time. 

Forget any missteps you made at your former job or last semester. This is your chance to start over with a personal brand that reflects the new wisdom you gained about yourself over the isolating months of the pandemic. 

What is the best version of you? Bring that with you every day, no matter where you’re going or whom you’re going to meet. 

You have a second chance to make a first impression. Make it a good one. 

Dr. Cindy McGovern, known as the “First Lady of Sales,” speaks and consults internationally on sales, interpersonal communication and leadership. She is the author of Every Job Is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work. Dr. Cindy is the CEO of Orange Leaf Consulting, a sales management and consulting firm. For more information, please visit, and connect with her on Twitter @1stladyofsales and on LinkedIn.