Mind Your Manners: Etiquette for Success

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You hold open the doors for strangers, chew with your mouth closed, say please and thank you and generally do a good job of minding your manners. When it comes to general interaction with society, you do your momma proud.

Yet etiquette is often an overlooked part of the job search and networking process. We tend to forget the small details, but these miniscule details can make or break an impression. As Ottawa-based etiquette coach Julie Blais-Comeau points out, everything you say and wear, as well as the way you carry yourself says something about you.

Etiquette is important as it helps you get, keep, and move up in the workforce. It is an all-encompassing way to showcase who you are and what you are worth. So how do you use etiquette to get the job to begin with? Julie has the following tips:

1. Get to know the culture of the organization

It is so easy these days to figure out the corporate culture of a potential employer. Julie suggests using LinkedIn, but you could try Google or their corporate website. Understanding the culture of an organization helps you understand what role you may play in the organization and what values matter to them.

2. Show your strengths and compatibilities

Using what you know of the corporate culture, show how your strengths will fit in, and how you are compatible with the organization.

3. Observe yourself

Julie recommends calling your voicemail and leaving a message for you to play back. This helps you determine how you sound. She also recommends recording yourself to see how you look and portray yourself overall.

4. Invest in a full-length mirror

The final touch, since everything you wear says something about you. Use a full-length mirror to gauge how you look and tuck in that shirt! For interviews and work, make sure your clothes make a professional statement about you. For more tips, check out our fashion piece on winning that co-op job.

5. Lose the gum

A big pet-peeve for Julie, she raises a point when she says chewing gum is a solitary activity. Best done at home or when completely alone, ditch the gum for mints when interacting with coworkers.

No matter where you are in the progression of your career, it is always good to be aware of the image you are portraying to the world and your coworkers. Basic etiquette and knowledge can go a long way. Whether you’re going in for your first interview, a seasoned co-op veteran, or a recent grad at a long-term job, remember the tips above for success.

Etiquette Julie is a personal etiquette coach and strives to instill confidence in her clients. She coaches young professionals through skype and/or in person in four sessions. For more information, visit http://www.etiquettejulie.com/.


Picture credits:


Illustration by Anne Villeneuve, provided courtesy of Julie Blais-Comeau.