For many college students, entering the workforce is a new and unfamiliar experience. Consequentially, this opens the door to a new form of etiquette. From your first interaction with a company, to the way you conduct yourself once obtaining the position, maintaining a professional image can be challenging.
Recently, companies have elected to participate in college campus events as a means of connecting with new students. These employers have volunteered to hold ice cream socials, create workshops, speak in front of classes, and even assist in the move-in process. With these efforts, employers are creating a friendly rapport between themselves and the student in hopes of making the interview process a little less intimidating. Although these ideas have had some great success, there is a downside to this level of employer/student integration. Being that these activities are social, it makes it difficult to maintain a professional front.
As young professionals entering the workforce, it is important that you always maintain a certain level of professionalism, regardless of the situation. Regarding events that take place outside of the office, it is easy to become too comfortable. Although these events are created to make you feel at ease, be sure to conduct yourself in a way that would make the employer proud to have you on his/her staff.
Always be mindful of the way your language changes in different situations in order to make sure a professional tongue prevails in any setting. Although the concept of code switching does come as second nature, your ability to maintain appropriate conversation will set you apart from the rest! In terms of proper dress, many young professionals question their attire when interacting with employers in a casual setting. If you are unsure about what to wear, don’t be afraid to ask! It is always better to know than to show up in the wrong outfit. That being said, if the suggested dress is casual, be sure to maintain a certain level of appropriateness. Avoid any clothing that is too tight or see-through, as well as any graphics that could make your future employer uncomfortable.
As companies that continue to break down employer/student walls, it is easy to let proper etiquette slip through your fingers. However, with these tips, you will rule the boardroom AND the ice cream social!
All the Best,
Career Center Graduate Assistant