Main Content

Business Etiquette


  • Make sure your email address is appropriate. Try and have an email address that uses your first and last name such as john.smith@gmail or Be sure your email address is listed on your resume next to your name, address and phone number.
  • Check your emails regularly. Recruiters will often email with an interview request with less than 24 hours notice.
  • Reply to email messages whenever possible within the same day. Make sure you reply to all professional emails within 24 hours at the latest. Do this even if only to say that you received the original email and will need more time to do what is requested.
  • Read over and spell check each email before you send it.
  • Do not use smiley faces, colored fonts or exclamation points in professional emails.


Social Media

  • Be careful of what image you make your profile pictures on social media sites such as Facebook. Your image still shows in search results, even if your profile is private.
  • Don’t say or do anything on social media sites that you wouldn’t want your co-workers or boss to know about.
  • Handle private matters and concerns via email or messaging, not on someone’s Facebook wall.
  • Don’t use a fake name for your profile.
  • Use LinkedIn for professional networking. Most industry or professional contacts don’t want to know about your private life.
  • Don’t consistently use your Twitter stream to self-promote.
  • Be authentic.


Small Talk

  • Be well informed. You should read at least one newspaper, weekly news magazine, or Internet news page each day.
  • Before attending a function, come up with three things to talk about and a few generic questions or comments.
  • To get small talk started, ask open-ended questions. Focus on safe topics such as current events, restaurants, hobbies, movies, mutual friends, and sports. Avoid anything personal such as family issues, health issues, gossip, off-color jokes, politics or religion.
  • Current events that related to your industry are great conversation starters.
  • If you are uncomfortable with small talk, practice in front of a mirror.
  • Pay attention to names during introductions. Use others’ names frequently to help you remember.
  • Maintain eye contact. Don’t glance around the room while others are talking.
  • Always accept business cards and take a moment to read them.
  • Have a few exit lines ready so you can politely move on to the next conversation. When you need to leave, try “It was nice talking with you, have a great evening” or “Please excuse me.”
  • Make eye contact when shaking someone’s hand. Smile.
  • Never use inappropriate language or tell stories that could be offensive.