Imagine you’re fresh out of college at your first job. Your one month in and your employer sends you halfway across the country to attend a conference. You’ll be going to meetings, networking and representing your company and you have no idea what you’re doing. On top of that, as you unpack your suitcase in the hotel room you realize you didn’t pack very well and your shirt is wrinkled. You find an iron in the closet and make an attempt to get the wrinkles out. All this is a bit nerve-wracking, right? I can help with that!
I’m teaching a Business Etiquette course at Fullerton College in the Spring 2024 semester. Every aspect of the scenario I described above, plus more, is covered in the class. When an employer hires a candidate, many times they’re focused on the technical skills needed for the job. Once hired they don’t have the time, resources or the knowledge to train them in soft skills needed. That’s where this course comes in. According to the U.S. Department of Labor employers view soft skills as even more important to work readiness.
The objectives of this course are to prepare students for success in the business workplace. They will learn how to prepare a professional resume, prepare for and execute a job interview, and outline a plan to execute a business event to showcase etiquette and protocol skills. Students will also polish their presentation skills and conduct interview prep.
Each module of the 16-week course will dive deep into different topics around business etiquette and projecting a professional image in the workplace. Many of the topics we will cover are rooted in the goal of having my students come away with skills they can apply in real-life scenarios. There will be hands-on training and role playing throughout the course.
We will cover introductions, handshakes, listening skills and the art of conversation. We will also discuss how to respond to awkward questions as well as those awkward moments we’ve all experienced. We'll even take mini field trips on campus to practice elevator etiquette and the proper door protocol in a business environment.
One class will be solely devoted to projecting a professional business image. Employers want staff who will represent them in a positive manner when they are out in the field. This module is designed to do just that! It may be a little unconventional for a college class, but the takeaway for the student’s will be invaluable. We will discuss dressing for success: business attire vs. casual attire. In addition, they will learn basic skills that will help them become a polished representative of their employer. Part of the class will focus on clothing maintenance: how to sew a button, how to iron a shirt and even how to tie a tie.
In other classes we will review conducting business with other cultures, netiquette and business travel (which will include how to pack to avoid wrinkled clothing). The final project of the class will be for students to plan and execute a business etiquette meal. Part of this project includes proper dining etiquette that they will need to demonstrate at the meal. All this will require teamwork and collaboration skills that are essential in many jobs.
I’m confident that the knowledge the students will learn in this course will set them apart from other job candidates as well as co-workers. The skills they acquire will prepare them from experiencing the situation I described at the beginning of this blog post. Plus, having this class listed on their resume will catch the eye of employers who want these soft skills in their employees. If you or someone you know is looking to up their game in the job market, please share this blog with them.
Here is the link to the course: https://bit.ly/3QWDmIm
Suzy Lins is a certified etiquette trainer located in Southern California. Educating on manners and etiquette to help people gain confidence to master business and social situations is the core of her teaching.