Business etiquette is all about professionalism and appropriate behavior. You will never have a second chance to make a first impression. First impressions are often lasting impressions with a potential employer. Here are a few tips:
- Do your homework. You'll be more confident and prepared if you go into a business situation knowing what's expected of you, and knowing about the company and the position you're interviewing for. Bring multiple copies of your resume and references, and make sure they're kept neat and unwrinkled in a folder, preferably leather bound portfolio.
- Be on time! In fact, plan to arrive 15 minutes early. That way, you won't be rushed and will give your interviewer the sense that you're punctual and prepared.
- Dress professionally. It's always better to be overdressed and more traditional than too trendy or casual. If possible, find out the expected dress code. In an interview, a business suit is usually a safe choice. In most industries, conservative is better.
- Send thank-you notes. This small gesture can make a world of difference when you're being considered against other candidates. Anytime an employer gives you their time, whether it's a formal or informal setting, be sure to email them within a day and follow up with a hand-written thank you note. You want them to know that their time was appreciated and valued, and that you enjoyed learning more about their company and the open position.
If part of your interview or meeting with an employer includes a meal, good manners are essential. Remember to use utensils, working from the outside in if you're faced with several forks or spoons, and eat slowly. A meal is a chance for your potential employer to see how you act in a more relaxed environment than the interview room, but that doesn't mean you can be casual. Treat the meal as part of the interview process, and if you're unsure about what to order or how to conduct yourself, take your cues from your host.
For specific questions about business or dining etiquette, make an appointment to see a Career Advisor by calling 859.257.2746.