Business Etiquette

Networking Events:

  • Greet the host of the event with a smile and a firm handshake.  Introduce yourself with your full name, major and your university if it is a mixed business reception.
  • Appropriate conversation topics include the organization of the person you are speaking to, industry news, current events, asking for advice from the individual about your purpose for networking, and other general topics.
  • Avoid topics that involve religion, politics, marital/family status, and other subjects that evoke strong opinions.
  • If you are talking in a group, try to include everyone in the group in the conversation.
  • Do not dominate the conversation.
  • If food or drink is provided at the event, choose one and hold it in your left hand. You want to keep your right hand clean and ready for handshakes.
  • Be sure to thank your host(s) in person and shake his/her hand before leaving.


  • Address your emails with “Dear Mr./Ms.___.”
  • Have a professional email address (no or Make an address that is a combination of your first and last name.
  • Be sure to check your email regularly while job searching.  Company representatives may ask for an interview in less than 24 hours.
  • Do not use emoticons like smiley faces, hearts, or overuse exclamation points.
  • Use complete sentences and check for grammatical errors. While spell check may be helpful, it may not catch every error. *NO text talk.*
  • Conclude your email with a professional signature that includes your full name, university, graduation year, phone number, and email address Optional:  clubs you are involved in and leadership roles you hold, professional website, professional social media accounts, or an online portfolio. *Do not put a quote at the end of your signature.*


  • Leave a professional greeting that states your full name, what message you would like the caller to leave you, and state how you will follow up.
  • Take off all ring-back tones.
  • Do not have extraneous noise in the background of your message.
  • When leaving a voicemail with a potential recruiter, clearly state your full name and spell it if necessary.  State your purpose for calling concisely (30 seconds or less). Slowly state your phone number and consider repeating it along with your name.

Social Media:

  • Clean up social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Remove questionable items (political views, religion, marital status, controversial pictures or other items) from your site and make your accounts private while job searching and consider keeping it private after you get the job.
  • Google your full name in quotes to see what information recruiters could find about you.
  • Do not “friend” on Facebook or connect with anyone you interviewed with on social media sites.
  • Do not post about your interviewing experience on Twitter or Facebook. Employers may be able to access information you posted even though you made the content private.
  • Regularly check your privacy settings because they may be modified or lost with new updates.


Dining Etiquette

General Tips:

  • Keep your elbows off of the table.
  • Watch how you hold your utensils to ensure you are not intruding on someone sitting beside you with your elbows. 
  • Cut between one to three bites of food at a time.
  • Open your napkin below the table and place it in your lap with the fold closest to your waist.
  • If you have to get up during the meal, leave your napkin in your chair.
  • Place your napkin to the right of your plate, not in your food, at the end of the meal.
  • Often the person who initiates the meal will cover the cost, but it is polite to offer to pay. Do not insist on paying, however. Be sure to thank them.
  • Be polite. Remember to say please and thank you.

Entrée Selection:

  • Choose a meal that is easy to eat (i.e. entrees without a lot of sauce or things that can drip) and you do not have to pick up with your hands.  The purpose of the meal is to converse NOT to eat.
  • Select an item in the mid-price range. If you are unsure of what to order, it is appropriate to ask your host for their recommendations.
  • Do not order alcohol unless offered by your host.  It is perfectly acceptable to politely decline the offer. Have no more than one beverage if you decide to partake.

Eating Tips:

  • As a general rule of thumb, use the utensils on the outside and work your way in.
  • Your drink will always be on the right and your bread on the left.
  • Tip: Make a circle with your hands by touching your thumb to your forefinger  on both hands. Note how your left hand resembles a “b” (bread) and your  right hand resembles a “d” (drink).
  • Always taste your food before seasoning.
  • Place your knife horizontally at the top of your plate with the sharp edge facing towards you after you are done using it.
  • Leave some food on your plate and take small bites; remember the purpose of the meal is to have a conversation.
  • If you have a roll, break off pieces and butter them individually.
  • The proper way to eat your bread is to tear off a small piece then butter the individual piece.
  • When eating soup, always scoop away from yourself and never slurp.
  • To signal to the waiter/waitress you have finished, place your fork (tines down) and knife at the angle of 10:00 o’clock and 4:00 o’clock on your plate.