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Etiquette Tip of the Week: What interviewers don’t care about

It’s time for a little tough love.  This is difficult for me to say, and the last thing I want is for you to take this the wrong way.

But interviewers don’t care what they can do for you.  There it is.  The skunk is on the table.

They don’t care that the job might be a great stepping stone in your career or that you would have a tremendous sense of accomplishment if you worked for them.

I know!  That’s so selfish of them, isn’t it?  Who knew they could be this uncaring and unfeeling?  It’s all about them.  So typical.

The same for sales relationships — the person buying products from you doesn’t care if you meet your next target or that writing a big order would help you buy the new Corvette with the V8 engine and over 600 horsies… not even if it would get you more dates. (…or a date.)

Employers and potential customers want to know what you can do for them.

So when writing a cover letter or a sales pitch, don’t say, “I feel like this job (or sale) would be a great opportunity for me.”

Do say:
“I know my legal expertise and writing skills would be a great asset to your company.”
“With my social media background, I am confident I could help define your target audience and expand your reach.”
“These new widget-magidgets will double the productivity of your team and give you more time to focus on distribution.”

Now get out there and get that job or land that big contract!  It really is about you, but that can be our little secret.

Culture and Manners Institute

Etiquette Tip of the Week: Emailing the CEO

The higher a person is in an organization, the shorter the email response.  Some shift through hundreds of emails a day.  So if you email your plan to a CEO or VP and he/she gives you a one sentence response instead of the paragraph-by-paragraph, thoughtful analysis you were craving, it’s not personal.  It’s a time thing.

Digital communication is rapid and allows us to make contact from anywhere. (Even Antler, ND has wi-fi, don’t cha know.)  We fire off emails quickly.  That’s also how we read them.

Most people don’t read every word in an email, they skim it.  Write emails with that in mind.

  1. State your purpose early.
  2. Mention attachments early. (As soon as you type, “attached,” attach the document so you don’t forget.)
  3. After you draft it… half it.  Eliminate excess words.

Etiquette is about being attentive to others, so when you write, write with the other person in mind.

Culture and Manners Institute

Etiquette Tip of the Week: How to offer a toast

It’s the season of graduations, weddings and many other celebrations — and time to raise a glass.

At a wedding, the toast often comes at the beginning of the meal.  At a dinner party, the toast comes after the main course.  It’s the privilege of the host to offer the first toast.  If the host does not offer a toast, any guest may ask permission of the host to offer a toast.  The guest of honor or recipient of the toast may offer a return toast (“Thank you for a wonderful evening and delicious food…”) after the host’s toast, or at dessert.

In an informal dining situation, guests remain seated during the toast.  For more formal occasions, all guests rise.

Hold the glass at chest level while delivering a toast, then raise the glass to eye level and drink.  Contrary to popular belief, you do not “clink” glasses with everyone around you. Some cultures clink glasses after a toast, but in America, you are not supposed to clink.  (I know some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “Everybody does it here.”  It’s poor form… and so is rolling your eyes.)  Sip from the glass, don’t drain it.

If you are the one being honored by the toast, remain seated and do not drink to yourself.  It’s like saying, “Hooray for me!” (You may do that in front of your mirror at home, but not when guests are present.)

What words do you use?
Begin: “Please join me in a toast to…” or “It is my honor to offer a toast to…” or “I would like to offer a toast to…”
End with best wishes for the future: “Here’s to (name or names)” or “Here’s to your health…” or “Here’s to your happiness…”
The guests may respond with approval for the toaster, “Hear, hear,” (not “Here, here”), which means, “Hear him/her.”

Culture and Manners Institute

Summer Hours Starting July 1st!

Summer Hours

 July 1 – August 22, 2014

 Open Monday – Thursday      8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Closed Fridays


 If immediate assistance is needed please see someone
in the Student Life office.

You may also leave a phone message at 581-1359 or an email message at and we will respond to your message as soon as possible.  Thank you.

Have a great summer!

Our normal hours will resume August 25, 2014

Open Monday – Friday 8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m.

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Etiquette Tip of the Week: Great…once you get to know them

Last week, I had some down time on a speaking trip to Los Angeles, so I sat in on some Toastmasters club meetings.  A young man named Travis Jones at the Claremont Foothills Toastmasters at Claremont Graduate University said this: “I don’t want to be the guy who people say, ‘He’s a great guy… once you get to know him.’  I want to be the great guy from the start.”

That is what first impressions are — doing what you can so people think well of you from the start.

At a networking event, very rarely will someone take you by the arm and say, “Let me introduce you to the most fabulous people in the room.”  Networking takes effort on your part. (There is a reason “working” is the root word here.)

If you see someone standing alone, introduce yourself.  “Hello, my name is (first name, last name).”  The person who introduces himself/herself is more memorable than someone who hangs back and waits to be introduced.
When the person offers his/her name, say, “How do you do, (name)?”

When you see a group of people talking, stand outside the group until you hear a lull in the conversation, then step forward and introduce yourself.

To keep a conversation going, ask questions of the other person.  People will appreciate you when you take an interest in them.

Be the person people want to know from the start:
Make eye contact with people in the room and not with your cell phone.

Smile — this shows you are open to communication.

Dress so people respect you… not inspect you.  If you show too much skin (you too, Mr. Saggy Britches), the right people will avoid you and the wrong people won’t.

Culture and Manners Institute


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the Career Center
5748 Memorial Union, Room 300
Orono, Maine 04469-5748
Phone: 207.581.1359 | Fax: 207.581.3003E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469