Your professional and academic experience plays a huge role in landing your dream job. But let’s face it, once your resume has been reviewed and your interview is scheduled, it’s your composure and business etiquette that could make or break your chances of getting hired. Here are some business etiquette tips to think about as you build your network and start the job hunt.
Part One: Come Prepared and With a Plan
You managed to schedule a lunch meeting with a high-level executive at your ideal company. Great! But that’s just the beginning.
You must be prepared and polished if you want to have a successful business interaction.
There is nothing worse than going into a business meeting to give someone advice about their future, but they don’t have an action plan or outline for what they want to accomplish. Come to every business meeting prepared, with clear goals so the person you’re meeting with can know exactly how they can help you. Bryan University’s career services department is one resource that can help you plan for your next business meeting and teach you about proper business etiquette.
Part Two: Pay Attention to the Details
Now that you have an action plan in place, you can start paying more attention to the fine details.
Use a Professional Email
Your CheetosLuvr82 email is no longer appropriate to use with people you’re networking with. Please, dump the old email address and be sure that you have an updated, professional one. A first initial, last name or first name, last name email address will be simple and easy to remember. If you’re making a new email, try to use Gmail – it is the most widely-used email server in the professional world.1
Start with a Strong Presence
Two easy ways to have a strong presence are standing when you’re being introduced and giving a firm handshake. In western culture, a firm handshake is an indicator of strength, respect and confidence, all of which are things a potential employer or business partner will be looking for.2 In fact, a study by the Beckman Institute revealed that a firm handshake increases the likelihood of a favorable interaction and diminishes the impact of a negative impression.3
Proper business etiquette demands that you don’t just act the part, but you look the part, too.
If you’ve read the invite over and over and still can’t figure out how formal an event is, it’s always better to dress up than dress down. Now, this doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and put on a tuxedo or ball gown, but keep in mind that you never know who you may meet at an event. You definitely don’t want to be the only one in jeans when everyone else got the business formal attire memo. To play it safe, always dress business casual in slacks and a nice shirt or blouse.4
Part Three: Take the Extra Step
Send Thank You Notes
If you’re not a note-sender, this may seem a bit over-the-top, but sending a thank you note shows potential employers and business partners that you value their time, are enthusiastic about working with them and have good business etiquette.5
Thank you notes are good, but they become great when you put thought into what you write. Each thank you note should have a handwritten message that shows gratitude and enthusiasm. Personalize the card by referencing a discussion you had with the person, show an eagerness to continue working with them in the future, and be sure they receive the note within three days.6
Address People Formally
At the bare minimum, you should address people by their formal titles, such as Dr. Mr. or Mrs., until they request otherwise or until you know the person well enough to refer to them by their first name. Here are two other simple rules you can follow:
- When in doubt, keep it formal. It’s better to be too polite than too rude.
- If you’re not sure, simply ask. Some people like to be addressed formally, while others are fine communicating on a first-name basis. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry.7
Be on Time and Be All There
At Bryan, our faculty and staff appreciate the time you spend in the classroom. Employers also value your time, so you should value theirs too. Your job interview or business meeting is not the time to be “fashionably late.” In this case, the old phrase still rings true: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”
And beyond being on time, there’s a special feeling you get when you know that you have someone’s undivided attention. Using or checking your phone in a meeting, and especially in an interview, is a sure-fire way to show someone that they are merely a checkmark on your list of things you need to get done. Try to schedule important phone calls outside of business meetings or interviews to avoid this distraction.
An Education from Bryan and Good Business Etiquette Can Help You Land the Job
Good business etiquette is important, but there’s much more to landing your dream job than just knowing how to be poised, polished and professional.
You need a quality education with hands-on experience to seal the deal on your next opportunity.
Bryan University offers a hands-on learning environment that can give you the experience and education that you need to ensure your next opportunity doesn’t pass you by. Learn how to get started at Bryan today.
For more information about Bryan University graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed our programs, transferability of credits and other important information, please visit our website at www.bryanu.edu/consumer-information.