Business Etiquette Series, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our Business Etiquette series! I’m already so grateful for the feedback I received after Part 1. Each time I receive an email or comment, it reinforces the fact that there truly are so many of you interested in etiquette!

Today’s topic is over Interview Etiquette.

What you say and do during an interview has just as much impact, if not more, than your qualifications. Call if unfair if you like. I’m just here to help you get ahead. 😉

As an employee of a company, you are their living, breathing brand. Every company wants to make sure it’s represented well, so it makes sense they care how you present yourself. Do you carry yourself with confidence? Or are you overly confident and think you can do no wrong? Finding that balance is key.

When you have the opportunity to interview with a company, keep in mind that those few, precious minutes will be what the company is basing its decision on. Maximize those minutes by preparing and knowing what to do.

A few key points to keep in mind:

  • Have a general idea of what the company does overall. Feel comfortable asking specifics about the job you’re considering
  • Show up 5-10 minutes before an interview. You don’t want to rush in right on time or late, but you also don’t want to be a burden on the company by showing up half an hour ahead of time.
  • Don’t bring in any beverage or chewing gum with you. A small bottle of water is acceptable if it’s needed, but you should leave your latte in the car.
  • Dress professionally. Even if this job is one that requires scrubs or a uniform, wear professional dress. We’re going to cover this topic in the near future in depth, but, essentially, wear something you can move in (not too tight) but that is something you’d see in a bank or professional office. Make sure your clothes fit and are not sloppy.
  • Take the time to iron your clothes.
  • This is not the time for fun hair colors or crazy makeup. Always ask yourself, “Do I want them to notice my (insert anything in here…hair, clothes, etc.) or do I want them to notice me?” During an interview you always want them to notice you.
  • Give a firm handshake while looking the person in the eye.
  • Use a title, such as Mr. or Mrs., until told otherwise.
  • Bring a hardcopy of your updated resume to the interview.
  • Sit up straight with your legs/feet close together.
  • To the best of your ability, remove “um” and “like” from your vocabulary. Filler language can make you seem nervous and unprepared.
  • Thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview.

Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Also, don’t forget to check out the first post in this series here!

Business Etiquette Series, Part 1

I rarely do series posts here because I tend to get a little scatterbrained. However, I really want to emphasize business etiquette, particularly as it’s the time of year the school year is winding down and many college graduates are job hunting.

Etiquette is particularly important in the business world, which is a fairly conservative environment. I hope this series will be of benefit to you! As always, please let me know if you have specific questions you’d like answered, and I’ll make sure I respond.

Just like in any other area of etiquette, understanding what is expected of you will help put you ahead in the game. I hope this series helps you grow more confident in your job/job hunting!

To begin, let’s start with a few basic business do’s and don’t’s.

Do:

(1) Offer a firm handshake accompanied by eye contact when greeting someone
(2) Dress appropriately for your job (we’ll cover more of this later)
(3) Treat the person in person with you with priority over email or the telephone
(4) Show up 5-10 minutes early for an interview or meeting
(5) Keep your resume up-to-date

Don’t:

(1) Use casual nicknames, such as sweetie, in a professional environment
(2) Carbon copy (CC) someone onto an email response without the prior consent
(3) Use your phone during meetings or business luncheons
(4) Use the title of Doctor socially unless you are a medical doctor
(5) Chew gum while with customers or during an interview

 

Do you have anything you’d like to add to the list?

 

“Us” In A “Me” World

I feel the need to preface that “me” time is a great thing. While I am naturally more extroverted, my husband is not. It took several years for me to understand that the time alone he craved was nothing against me. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy time with me or that he didn’t like being around me. In fact, it had nothing to do with me at all! That revelation was wonderful for our marriage for my own precious “me” time.

How to Balance You and Me

“Me” time is fantastic. What is not fantastic, however, is valuing ourselves completely over everyone else. Like everything, the pendulum tends to swing too far at times. We’re gone from being martyrs to being selfish, and it’s glamorized in the media and magazines. So how can we balance having “me” time to rejunvenate us while remaining mindful that the world doesn’t revolved around us? My favorite tips are listed below!

  1. Keep Committments – Respect someone else’s time, as well as your own, to be dependable enough to keep the committments you’ve made. Etiquette, at its core, is about respect for others. Changing your mind because something better came up or because you’re suddenly longing for a Netflix night isn’t respecting others or respecting yourself. While emergencies are a clear reason why plans may change, changing on a whim isn’t acceptable.
  2. Schedule Alone Time – By purposefully scheduling time that is dedicated to you, you won’t feel deprived when your attention is directed elsewhere. It truly is important that we allow our own cup to be filled – just not at the expense of others.
  3. Know Your Limitations – When you are starting to feel worn down, don’t set yourself and others up for disappointment. Go ahead and say “no.” I’m not sure where the idea of declining an offer was thought to be against etiquette, but let me assure you – it’s not. It’s perfectly acceptable to turn an offer down. There are times you’ll need to. Check out my post on how to gracefully say no here.

As always, thank you for reading! I hope to hear some of your own suggestions in the comment section!

Talkin’ Politics

As we are halfway through the primaries, I thought a good topic for today would be how to respectfully discuss politics. You see, I disagree with many who believe that politics and religion shouldn’t be discussed in polite company. I believe that we are all unique, and I love learning about what makes others so unique. Their political beliefs and their religious beliefs are two huge components of it.

I have a list compiled of ways I believe we can open the conversation up respectfully. We have so much to learn from each other, and shying away from certain topics doesn’t do us any good. Getting into arguments with others, however, also hinders progress, in addition to ruining friendships.

I hope this list helps you open the door to conversation. Please let me know if you have anything to add to it!

  1. Listen to the other members of the conversation instead of forming a rebuttal in your mind. Listen to learn.
  2. If it makes someone uncomfortable, don’t talk about it. This goes for anything, not just politics and religion. Not every time is a good time to discuss a particular topic.
  3. Don’t raise your voice. This is a discussion, not a debate.
  4. Don’t try to get a rise out of someone.
  5. Seek to find out what is important to them instead of stopping with party affiliation.
  6. Remember that agreeing to disagree doesn’t make anyone a “winner” or a “loser.” This should be a mature discussion.
  7. Remember they are more than their beliefs on any topic.

Library Etiquette

My kids and I like to go to our local library on Thursday evenings. It’s open until 8pm on Thursdays, and, as a working mom, this is our little getaway each week.

I enjoyed just walking the aisles until something catches my eye. My daughter, 5, always migrates to the My Little Pony area, despite my attempts. I was always a Romona Quimby girl, to the point where I wrote “Ramona Quimby, age 8” at the top of all of my school papers when I was in the 3rd grade. I’m just grateful I went to a small school and my teacher, Mrs. Jaggers, knew who that was. My son likes The Berenstein Bears (it’s how I know he’s mine) and books about firemen.

Regardless of your interests, I’d bet you’ll be able to find them at your local library. I’ve surprisingly had a few emails informing me that people want to go to the library in their hometown, but they’re unsure of how to act. Here are a few pointers.

  • Unless you have a bottle-fed baby, don’t bring in food and water. Many libraries will have signs letting you know it’s not allowed, but it can easily harm books, which is the reasoning behind it.
  • Bring your kids! Most libraries have a kids’ section/area. Ours does, and it brings out their love for reading, which is essential.
  • Be timely in your returns. Aside from the minimal fine you’ll incur, it’s inconsiderate to other people who may have wanted to read that book.
  • Take phonecalls outside or to a designated area.
  • Don’t fold the pages! This one goes for any borrowed book. Don’t earmark the page to let you know where you are. Get a bookmark.
  • Limit computer use to an hour, if a time limit isn’t stated. Plenty of people use the library and all of its abundant resources, such as computers and/or wi-fi to do work. An hour is usually enough time to do what needs done while not preventing someone else getting their work done.

What other guidelines would you add to the above list?

As always, thank you for reading!