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<July 2015>

Current Location: Skip Navigation LinksHome | Get Set for Life | Careers | Making a Good Impression

Job Readiness - Making a Good Impression

Once you have secured your new job, as you carry out your day to day duties, there are expected protocols in the workplace that you should adhere to called etiquette. Webster defines etiquette as "the forms, manners, and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in social relations, in a profession, or in official life."

Etiquette is respect, good manners and good behavior. It is not just each of these things, but it is all of these things rolled into one. Click to explore a complete guide on Proper Business Etiquette.

The most important social etiquette tip is to be respectful. Speak clearly and politely while using proper poise. If all else fails, take a moment to observe how people around you are behaving and emulate their actions. Take a breath and smile. Make conversation with people by being polite and responsive, but not loud or abrasive. Social etiquette should not be something we fear, but a set of mannerisms that are embraced and used to put your best foot forward.

Meeting People

When meeting people, both nonverbal and verbal behaviors help to define your social skills. Using effective handshakes, good eye contact, and making the proper introductions show proper etiquette.

Handshakes are vital in social situations.

Meeting people
  • Develop a comfortable handshake and keep it consistent.
  • A handshake should not be too hard or too soft.
  • The host or the person with the most authority usually initiates the handshake.

Eye contact is another critical factor when meeting people.

  • Eye contact increases trust.
  • Eye contact shows confidence and good interpersonal skills
  • Eye contact shows respect for the person and business situation.

Proper introductions help to establish rapport when meeting people.

  • Authority defines whose name is said first. Say the name of the most important person first and then the name of the person being introduced.
  • Introduce people in the following order:
    • Younger to older
    • Non-official to official
    • Junior executive to senior executive
    • Colleague to customer
  • Remember names for future reference.
  • Provide some information about the people you are introducing to clarify your relationship.
  • Always carry business cards.
  • Keep notes on people in order to follow-up both personally and professionally.


Courtesy is as important in speaking over the phone as in talking to people face to face. Like face-to-face interactions, how you behave on the telephone tells others much about you.

When you talk on the telephone, remember:

Young man on phone taking notes
  • Your voice quality
  • Express yourself clearly and concisely
  • Always try to return calls on the same day
  • Keep business conversations to the point
  • Always leave your phone number is you ask someone to call you back
  • Do not eat or drink while you are on the telephone
  • Do not use slang words or Poor Language. Respond clearly with "yes" or "no" when speaking. Never use swear words. Address the Caller Properly by his or her title. (i.e. Good morning Mr. Brown, Good afternoon Ms. Sanders). Never address an unfamiliar caller by his or her first name.
  • Listen to the Caller and what they have to say. The ability to listen is a problem in general but it is very important to listen to what the caller has to say. It is always a good habit to repeat the information back to the client when you are taking a message. Verify that you have heard and transcribed the message accurately.
  • Be patient and helpful. If a caller is irate or upset, listen to what they have to say and then refer them to the appropriate resource. Never snap back or act rude to the caller.
  • Always ask if you can put the caller on hold. Never leave the person on hold for more than a few seconds or they may become upset and hang up.
  • Always focus on the call. Try not to get distracted by people around you.
  • When making a call
    • Always identify yourself properly.
    • Avoid leaving long winded messages.
    • If you reach a wrong number, it is important to say "I'm sorry, I dialed the wrong number." Before hanging up.

The person at the other end of the phone cannot see your facial expressions or gestures and the impression he receives depends on what he/she hears. The telephone carries your voice at its natural volume and pitch. Try not to shout but speak clearly and distinctly.


THE BASIC RULE of etiquette in any circumstance is to have and to show consideration for the other party. If you will just stop and think how the other person is likely to receive your communication, you will go a long way towards preventing misunderstandings and not giving offense. The SIMPLE TEST is: "How would I feel in these circumstances, if I received this message?"

Communicating by e-mail is no different from writing on your company letterhead. A business communication is business, period. A certain degree of formality is required. Just because e-mail tends to be more immediate and personable, it doesn't need to get personal.

www letters starting internet address
  • Never use all caps and watch for typos.
  • Always include a meaningful subject line in your message.
  • Use correct grammar and spelling.
  • Use a signature if you can; make sure it identifies who you are and includes alternate means of contacting you.
  • Be concise and to the point.

Work Etiquette

The following principles can be utilized by office employees to show proper etiquette; they include all aspects of the work environment.

  • Be timely. Arrive to work and meetings on time. Complete assignments on time.
  • Be polite, pleasant and courteous.
  • Learn office politics: utilize effective listening skills to discover appropriate office behavior. Pay attention to the way things are done.
  • Understand the unwritten rules of business.
    • The Boss is the Boss: Right or wrong, the boss ALWAYS has the last word.
    • Keep the boss informed.
    • Never go over the boss' head.
    • Make your boss look good.
    • Appearing professional and being well groomed are essential. Dress for your next promotion or job.
    • Adopt a can-do attitude.
    • Be flexible and cooperative.
    • Give credit to everyone who made a contribution to a project or event.
    • Do not differentiate people by position or standing in a company.


Being courteous to others is not only respectful to others, but it directly reflects on you as a person. Here are some common courtesy tips:

If you haven't already, get into the habit of saying "please" and "thank you". Say "excuse me", and don't interrupt. Use terms of respect when addressing other people, like "Sir" or "Mrs.". Use polite phone manners and basic etiquette at the table.

There's no need to be overly formal, but sometimes familiarity and casual atmosphere are used as excuses for being lazy and rude. Err on the side of being extra polite rather than not at all. (Remember, it takes adults an average of 30 days of consistently using a behavior for it to become a habit that is second nature, without having to think about it.)

At work - Holding the elevator is a nice gesture. Pushing the floor buttons for the other person is even a nicer one. Holding the door is very courteous too. In the business world, it's always courteous to say "hello" and "goodbye". If you are on the phone at work, it's always wise not to slam the phone down, as this type of discourtesy may leave a bad impression on the other end. Making coffee after you drank the last cup would probably be a good thing as well.


It is always important to look your best at work, appear professional and business like. Dress for your next promotion or job.

  • Clothes should be fresh, clean, neat, and pressed.
  • Avoid perfume or cologne to avoid allergies and/or objections.
  • Makeup should be conservative.
  • Fingernails should be clean and neatly trimmed.
  • Hair should be neat and combed. Women with long hair (past shoulder level) should wear it back away from the face.
  • Teeth and breath should be clean and fresh.
  • NO spots, stains, missing buttons, loose hems.


Employer Expectations - understand what you employer expects of you once you start your new job