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Spring Break

By Sam Kunz
Graduate Intern

Spring break is right around the corner and that means rest, relaxation, and recharging.  But it is also a great time to hone and focus your career search tools.  Wisely investing some time over spring break can help you get a leg up on finding that summer job, internship, or simply be better prepared for when opportunity decides to knock on your door.

Going home?  This is a great chance to network and set up summer internships or jobs.  Also you can use this time to explore possible careers by contacting companies or businesses that interest you.  Their human resources office is a good place to start if you are looking for an informational interview or a job shadow.  Our own Maine Mentor Program is a fantastic opportunity to connect with UMaine alumni who are now professionals in hundreds of career fields.  And don’t be fooled by the name, Maine Mentors are not only here in Maine.  We currently have mentors in over 39 states!

Maybe this should be filed under “late notice,” but there are many companies that offer week long internships during typical spring break weeks.  Usually the applications need to be submitted several months in advance, however the actual deadline depends on the company.  But keep this in mind for future breaks. In fact, why not research possible internship programs for next spring over this break?

Juniors (or sophomores), are you thinking about grad school?  This is a great time to explore graduate schools and programs that you are considering attending.  It wasn’t that long ago you were visiting campuses looking for the right fit for your undergrad education. It’s kind of the same now, except that you are a little older and wiser.  Before you contact the graduate school admissions office, plan out the questions you need answered to help you determine if the program is a good “fit” for you, gain a little insight on applying, and then get on campus!  Applications won’t be due for quite some time (usually December or January), but remember any work you do now will help out when those deadlines come around the same time as you’re preparing for finals.

Are you participating in Alternative Spring Break or doing some other volunteer work?  Just remember that volunteering isn’t only good for the community, the world, and your soul… it’s great for your resume, too!  Don’t sell yourself short.  Sure, employers want to know about your education and work experience, but they also want to know a little more about you.  This shows that you value community, have drive, and aren’t afraid to step out of your comfort zone.  You can read more about the growing relevance of volunteerism on your resumé in this New York Times article.

So you get the idea.  It’s break, but make the most of it!  The Career Center will be open our regular hours over break, so if you are staying in the area come on up and see us!  We would be glad to go over your resumé, cover letter, or help you plan to make the most of your time off!

Otherwise, have a great break and check back soon for our next blog post!

Etiquette Tip of the Week: Settling the spaghetti spoon issue

Normally, you would stay away from spaghetti in a business meal and opt for something less messy — a smaller noodle like macaroni or penne.  But sometimes, a little spaghetti into our business or social lives must fall.  That said, we are finally going to settle this spaghetti and spoon thing once and for all.  The etiquette authorities are divided, so I will quote them directly:

No Spoon:
Letitia Baldrige: Letitia Baldrige’s New Manners for New Times, 2003
“If you are a purist about eating spaghetti, linguine, or any other long, thin noodles, you will not use a spoon as a support.  You will go it alone with the fork.  The secret is in twining just a small number of strands around your fork (four or five.)  Keep turning your fork around slowly until all the strands are rolled compactly around it and you’re ready to put it into your mouth.”

Judith Martin: Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, 2005
“A fork is the only utensil that may be used to eat spaghetti while anyone is looking.  It must make do with whatever cooperation it may muster from the plate and the teeth.  The fork is planted on the plate and the spaghetti is then twirled around the tines of the fork.  If you can manage to use the grated cheese to add grit to the mixture for better control, so much the better.  The twirled forkful is then presented to the mouth.”

Maria Everding, Panache That Pays, 2007
“Wind a few strands at a time, around a dinner fork, and lift to your mouth.  Using a tablespoon and fork is archaic.  Do not cut pasta.”

Elizabeth Post, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 1992
“The fork is used to spear a few strands of spaghetti, the tips are placed against the bowl of the spoon, which is held in the left hand and the fork is twirled, wrapping the spaghetti around itself as it turns.  If no spoon is provided, the tips of the fork may be rested against the curve of the plate.”

Amy Vanderbilt, Complete Book of Etiquette, 1954
“The aficionado knows that the only graceful and satisfying way to eat real Italian spaghetti (which comes in full-length or perhaps half length rounds) is to eat it with a large soup spoon and a fork.”

Marjabelle Young (Stewart), White Gloves and Party Manners, 1967
“Spaghetti is quieter and less messy if you wind it around a dinner fork held against a large spoon.”

Pro-… uh, wait a minute:
Suzanne von Drachnenfels, The Art of the Table, 2008
“As a base to steady the fork while the noodles are wound, sometimes a spoon is held in one hand, a technique frowned upon in Italy.”

Life is about choices and next time you have spaghetti, you will have to take a side.

Culture and Manners Institute

Etiquette Tip of the Week: Spread the love…

It’s Valentine’s Day this week, and as is our tradition here at the Etiquette Tip of the Week, we turn our thoughts of love to those who know us best and have seen us at our worst.

That’s right, I’m talking about the IT department.

Where would we be without this team of dedicated professionals to fix our computers and other electronic devices?  Down the hall crying in the bathroom, that’s where. Or taking out our frustrations by tossing our malfunctioning electronics into the “fake lake” on the corporate campus. (Who uses that lake besides Canadian geese, anyway?)

IT professionals deal with people at their worst — when they are angry, frustrated and stressed out at their inability to fix their own computers.  We must not transfer our stress or anger to people who are trying to assist us.  (That goes for everybody assisting us, not just IT professionals.)  Treat them with patience, kindness and gratitude.  Follow up with a hand-written thank you note to individuals that have helped us or a nice note of praise to their supervisor.

And it never hurts to send some treats down to the IT Department this Friday to let them know they are loved.

Culture and Manners Institute

Etiquette Tip of the Week: Spring cleaning of social media…

If it has been warmer in Alaska than where you are lately, you might be feeling some winter doldrums.  Even the Southern Californians are suffering in the 60s.  Brrrrrr!  It is so bad, some of them are even wearing socks.

The best cure is spring cleaning… of your social media.  Here are a few ideas to make your public profile sparkle:

Freshen up your Linkedin photo. Whether you work in a business or business casual environment, does your photo represent the professional, polished look you want?  (If your neckline falls below the bottom of the picture, then no one knows how low it goes.  When it comes to the workplace… modest is hottest.)

Clear out other photos.  Those hilarious party photos on Facebook?  41 percent of managers in a survey said information about drug or alcohol use on a Facebook page would cause them to reject a job candidate.

Scrub and scour your language and grammar. How you communicate online is a reflection of how you will communicate with future co-workers or clients.

Toss out old posts that don’t serve your current career aspirations.

Change your work email for a personal email. Never sign up for any social media with your work email. If you get laid off, you may not have access to reclaim your account.

Doesn’t that feel better? Don’t you just feel like a new person online?  If you are on Twitter, tweet me a picture of how the weather is in your area: @MannersThatMove  (You might even see my snow cow.)


Culture and Manners Institute

Etiquette Tip of the Week: The sweet seat…

When you invite someone out to lunch, that means you are the host and you pick up the check.  It also means you offer your guest the best seat. Which is the best seat?

The seat facing out into the dining room.
The seat with the best window view.
The seat that is away from the aisle traffic.
The seat that is the most comfortable. (In the case where one side of the table is a cushioned couch-like banquette and the other side is a hard wooden chair, offer your guest the cushy banquette.)

If you are the guest, wait until your host tells you where to sit and remain standing by your seat until your host takes his/her seat.

Culture and Manners Institute

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