Top 10 Business Etiquette Tips for New College Graduates
Your education will get you in the door, but it is your soft skills that will help you land the job. Soft skills are the new hard skills—the distinguishing factor that will help you outclass the competition and be successful in your career.
Following are The Etiquette School of New York’s top 10 business etiquette tips for new college graduates:
1. Know the proper protocol for making introductions and introducing yourself. Always have a pre-planned self-introduction for every interview and networking event you attend—one that will stimulate interest in you.
2. Shake hands with a firm grip, direct eye contact, and good posture. These are considered your presence power points and they ‘speak’ volumes about your confidence and credibility as a person who is going places.
3. Suit-up for success: wear appropriate business attire, and always make sure that you are well-groomed when you go for a job interview or to a business meeting. Polished shoes translate to attention to detail. A polished appearance opens doors!
4. Cultivate a strong, clear speaking voice; enunciate your words, and don’t use slang, foul language, or filler words. Knowing how to communicate clearly and effectively is essential to your success. Your words must match your body language to be believable. Ninety-three percent of your communication is non-verbal.
5. Polish your electronic and written communications. Be professional: conduct yourself in a business-like manner at all times, using appropriate business language. Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
6. Learn what is considered professional and appropriate when using your telephone and cell phone for business. Always identify yourself when placing and answering a call. Be prepared to leave a voice mail when you place a call, since over half of all calls placed go to voice mail.
7. Know what is appropriate, and what does not reflect positively upon you, when you use your social networking tools. Every communication in the virtual, as well as the real world, is an opportunity to make an impression–either positive or negative.
8. Master the art of mingling, networking, and making small talk. Being skillful at mingling and networking will not only help you get a job, but it will also help you stand out in your new job. Knowing how to make small talk is an important executive skill; knowing how to graciously walk up, start a conversation, build rapport, and graciously exit one is extremely important if you want to succeed in today’s global environment.
9. Show that you are a team player and be ready to demonstrate with examples that you have the emotional intelligence to not only effectively work with persons who are like you, but also persons who are different. More than likely you will be entering a multi-cultural, multi-generational, and multi-personality work environment; and you will be required to work in teams. Having a high EQ will help you to be more successful in this diverse environment.
10. Be polished and professional at the dining table: practice good dining skills and suitable table manners. You may have an interview scheduled as a lunch so your potential employer can observe your table manners; and there is no better or worse place to make an impression than at the table.
And, of course, you will practice good manners at all times! Civility counts! People remember people with good manners.
Updated/Revised April 16, 2015
By: Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick