Rules of Table Manners for New Recruits

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Let’s face it, we’ve all been nervous one time or another when we’ve had to go out for a job interview meeting over lunch or a formal business dinner with a client, and we question ourselves – am I doing this right? Especially when you’re a new recruit a business lunch with your boss can make you uneasy.

All that cutlery or not knowing what to do or how to act can get overwhelming! The key is once you know the exact rules of table manners at the dining table – you can be at ease, portray a sense of class and land that job or gain an important business client.

As published on Boston.com, here are some easy to follow rules of table manners and dining etiquette for new recruits:

1. Be on time. Make sure you leave enough time to walk from public transportation or to park. If you end up arriving early, wait in the lobby. Don’t sit at the table.

2. Turn off your smartphone before you arrive. Enough said.

3. Let your host (who may be your boss) indicate where you and the other guests should sit.

4. Don’t order alcohol unless others do first. If you do order a drink, then follow the one-drink rule. It’s easy to lull yourself into believing you can hold your liquor. Unfortunately, with alcohol you start sounding and acting impaired long before you realize it. All it takes is one too many, and you’ll be apologizing the next day for your behavior and hoping you haven’t ruined your reputation. Don’t risk your business future. Follow the one-drink rule, or better yet avoid alcohol altogether at a business meal.

5. When ordering from a menu pick medium-priced items, make sure you know what you’re ordering, and choose items that are easy to eat. There are usually plenty of mid-priced items on a menu, and it would be embarrassing to order something and then realize there’s no way you could ever eat it. Similarly, stay away from foods that are challenging (lobster) or messy (spaghetti) to eat. (I love mussels, but they’re messy. Great when I’m with friends, but not at a business lunch or dinner.)

6. Watch your host for signals such as to how to eat specific foods and when to start eating. If your host uses a fork to eat his shrimp cocktail, then you should, too. If your host has been served but hasn’t started eating, then you should wait, too.

7. Don’t chew with your mouth open or talk with your mouth full of food. It’s really gross.

8. Be a participant. Don’t dominate the general conversation, but do be a part of it. And when the table conversation quiets down, take a moment to talk with the person on your right and similarly be sure to talk with the person on your left. Your participation is the key to successfully navigating a business meal.

9. Don’t ask for a “to-go” bag.

10. Finally, be sure to thank your host at the end of the meal and again the next day in a quick note.

Knowing the rules of table manners is a basic necessity. How you conduct yourself at the table says a lot about you. To get a complete overview of everything you need to know about dining etiquette you might find Corporate Class Inc.’s Executive Dining Etiquette CD helpful!

With 50-mintues of enjoyable practical hands-on instructions, this unique CD uses a common sense approach. You get a true dining/video experience: you are seated at the dining table with simultaneous images, voice and text summaries.

Don’t head to your next power lunch without getting your Executive Dining Etiquette CD today!

 

Protect (and Polish!) Your Online Presence

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“If I post on my personal social media site, my boss won’t see it, right?” Wrong. If your name and face is somewhere on the Internet, anyone and everyone will be able to access it. There are countless situations in which an inappropriate posting, email, comment or photo has backfired on someone and they have lost a job opportunity or gotten in serious trouble because of it. Don’t let this happen to you: protect your online reputation. And, while you’re at it, take extra steps to polish your online presence – because, inevitably, a professional connection will find you on the Internet.


Survey what’s already out there.
The first step is to find out what already exists, and how easily searchable this information is. Google your name – and check out both the web search and the image search. You may come across old information or photos that you didn’t even know still existed, and will give you a sense of what needs to be cleaned up. It will also show you what appears first in a search. Making sure your search results reveal professional behaviour is crucial: according to this Mashable infographic, 78% of recruiters check search engines to find out more about potential employees.


Adjust your Facebook privacy settings and monitor what you share.
Never, ever post any inappropriate photos or status updates on Facebook – especially those referring to illicit behaviour. This is one of the most destructive things you can do to your online reputation.

Even if you’re grown up enough now to post judiciously, there may be some unflattering photos from university days still floating around on your Facebook page. In this case, set your privacy settings so that only you or certain close friends can view your photos (even colleagues can be Facebook “friends,” so don’t be misled by clicking “friends only” viewing). This is also a good idea for future protection; after all, friends won’t ask your permission to post every photo of you that they upload on Facebook.


Tweet positively.
Whereas photos are the key representation of you on Facebook, your words are what really matter on Twitter. Again, any inappropriate language or illicit content in tweets are a definite no. Also, even if your tweets are clean, try to maintain a positive attitude in what you post. If a potential boss sees a string of complaints on your Twitter feed, they might assume you’ll bring a negative attitude into the workplace, too.


Emails aren’t private.
Any email communications you have with colleagues should be kept strictly professional.  Remember, anything that you write can be forwarded to the wrong person with the click of a button – confidentiality disclaimers aside. If the content of your email is inappropriate – for example, gossip about another co-worker or complaints about a boss – this can lead to some very awkward situations. If you encounter a situation that would merit a complaint about someone, skip the email entirely and address the problem directly with the appropriate person.


Focus on your LinkedIn profile.
Work on polishing your LinkedIn profile. This is a professional social networking site, which means it is guaranteed (and encouraged) that business contacts will be viewing it. Make sure your work history, current position, marketable skills and personal information are up to date. The more active your LinkedIn profile, the more likely it is to climb to the top of a search engine’s results list. And that’s the kind of information you want an employer to see.

 

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How to Break Into A Career

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Recent graduates: are you feeling overwhelmed as you begin to head down your career path? Even if you have an idea of an occupation you’d like to pursue, starting out with little or no job history can be daunting. How do you break into a career without having previous experience in that field? Luckily, there are a number of ways you can test the waters and learn about a company or an industry before you are ready to apply. Combining research, networking, outreach, volunteer work and a positive attitude will help you learn more and make connections – and prepare you for an actual job prospect.


Do your homework.

Researching an industry is a huge first step: you need to know all the ins and outs of your area of interest. Start by finding out which jobs are associated with a particular field (for example, communications-related jobs could include a writer, editor, social media manager – the list goes on). Then consider how your qualifications could apply to a particular position.

Also, seek out relevant companies that exist in your area and their backgrounds, such as the number of employees, the range of positions and levels of qualifications in their employees, and their current products or activities.

With a knowledge base of your field of interest, you will have a better sense of what your options are and what kind of company or position you may want to pursue.

Request an informational interview.

Reach out and contact someone who is already working in your ideal field, company, or job, and request to conduct an informational interview. This is an excellent method to continue building your knowledge base. Many people who have reached their career objectives are very willing to help by sharing their experience and wisdom gained during their path to achievement. You can learn not only about the details of their work, but also how they obtained their career goal and what sort of obstacles they had to overcome along the way.

Informational interviews are also a very effective means to network within your field of choice. Contacts will recognize that you are proactive and enthusiastic about an industry, and may keep you in mind if an opportunity arises in their company. So, don’t forget to bring a business card to the interview!

Keep networking.

Besides making connections through informational interviews, be creative and find other means to network with key contacts. For example, go to public events hosted by an organization or company of interest to you. Ask for an introduction if you know a family member or friend with a connection you would like to make. Use professional social networking sites like LinkedIn to build your contact base.

Volunteer.

If there are no current job openings, or if you are not yet qualified to apply for any available positions, start by seeking out volunteer jobs or internships. The more volunteer work that you can financially accommodate, the better, but even one or two days per week is enough to begin building your relevant on-the-job experience.

The benefits of volunteering or interning are manifold: first, you can learn immensely from first-hand experience. Second, the job experience will add a necessary complement to the academic qualifications on your resume. Finally, this is another effective way to build your important base of contacts – and may even lead to a paid job within a company once you have established yourself among its employees.

Heading into today’s job market certainly can seem intimidating. But building your experience, knowledge, and connections in simple yet significant ways will ease the transition as you begin to navigate your career path.

 

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How My Daughter’s Tragic Accident Brought the Gift of Life to 6 People

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When my 11 year old daughter Sandrine died in a school bus accident, the lives of 6 people were either saved or enhanced. Since 1999, I have worked with several organizations to help raise awareness of organ and tissue donation. Recently I met the incredible Hélene Campbell and I am in awe of what she has been able to achieve to help raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. By getting the attention of Ellen DeGenerous and Justin Bieber, more people than ever are talking about organ donation and registering their wishes.

 

Hélene received the gift of life a few months ago and after her moving press conference, I was asked by Laura DiBatista  on Here and Now at CBC to share my experience.
Please click to Listen audio (runs 8:17)

 

Diane Craig sat on the board of directors for Trillium Gift of Life Network, where she played a major role in governance issues and developing communication strategies, from 2004 to 2016. She is the founder of Sandrine’s Gift of Life, a not-for-profit organization focused on organ and tissue donation awareness and often speaks about her passion for organ and tissue donation and how we can best serve those on waiting lists. Here’s another CBC piece with Diane Craig and Don Cherry:

In Ontario you can register your wish to donate at www.beadonor.ca.

Please talk to your family and share this post to spread the word. Someone’s life depends on it.