Business Etiquette Tips for Recent College Graduates

By February 27, 2017 College Grads  Comments

You took your final college exams and received your diploma. Now you’re officially a college graduate, which means it’s time to begin your search for a full-time job in your career field. As you begin going on interviews and start your first job, it’s important to study up on proper business etiquette. Read on to learn some of the most important business etiquette tips for new grads and then test your knowledge with the quiz at the bottom of this page.

Interview Etiquette

For recent graduates, interviews are often the most nerve-wracking part of the job search process. As you begin your interview, studies say that your interviewer will form an opinion of you within thirty seconds of meeting you. Since the first impression is so important, following proper etiquette is crucial. Dress with care for your interview – it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, so always opt for a more professional outfit. Here are some examples of what you’ll want to wear. When you get the job, you can go for the more casual look if the office dress code isn’t strict.

Once the interview begins, pay attention to your body language. Be sure to sit up straight and look the interviewer in the eye. Be careful not to interrupt the interviewer when they’re asking questions, and make sure to smile brightly. Smiling will show that you’re friendly and approachable, and it will signal to the interviewer that you’ll be able to get along with coworkers and clients.

As the interview winds down, the interviewer will probably ask you if you have any questions. Even if you feel like all your questions have been answered, it’s still best to ask a few questions about the company and its culture. Here are some examples of questions you might want to ask. If you don’t ask any questions, the interviewer may think you’re uninterested in the job, and it could give them a negative impression of you. Asking a few questions will the send the message that you’re invested in the job.

End the interview with a firm handshake and a heartfelt thank you, and be polite to everyone you meet as you head out of the building – you never know if the person you’re talking to in the elevator is one of your new supervisors. Within twenty-four hours of the interview, send your interviewer a thank you note that touches on some of what you discussed. Here are some examples of what to say in your “thank you” note.

Etiquette at Meetings

You nailed the interview and have started your new job. Now it’s time to prepare for your first meeting. If you want to take notes during the meeting, most companies will allow you to use your laptop. If you’re unsure if laptops are allowed, feel free to ask the person hosting the meeting. But don’t spend the entire meeting on your laptop – when you’re finished taking notes, tilt the screen down and make eye contact with the presenter.

During the meeting, keep your cell phone on vibrate, and don’t take any calls unless they’re urgent. If you are expecting an important call during the meeting, inform the presenter beforehand that you may need to duck out for a few minutes.

Throughout the meeting, stay engaged and alert, and ask questions to show that you’re interested and invested in your colleagues’ ideas.

Social Media Etiquette

For recent graduates, social media is a part of everyday life, but once you enter the working world, you will have to be a bit more careful with how you use it. As you begin making professional relationships, your clients may ask to be friends on Facebook. It’s up to you to decide if you want to mix personal with professional, but if you do decide to add clients or coworkers on Facebook, you’ll need to make sure that everything you post on your page is professional. If you’d rather keep your Facebook all personal, politely ask your client if you can add them on LinkedIn, or refer them to your Twitter handle.

In general, try to keep your social media presence professional, and use your Twitter and Facebook pages as platforms to promote your professional interests. This will be looked upon favorably when potential employers see your page during your job search.

As you move from the classroom to the office, it’s important to brush up on business etiquette. Following these basic rules will make you appear more professional, and they can help you succeed in your new career. These rules of etiquette will help you make a great impression at your first job out of college.

Guest post courtesy of Tiny Prints. For more college grad career advice check out these posts:
First Job Advice I Wish I Received
Finding the Path to Career Fulfillment
2 Strategies for the College Grad Job Search

About Noelle

Noelle Gross is a career strategy expert and founder of NG Career Strategy. Noelle’s mission is to help people do what they love & she does this by applying a common-sense, executive recruiter-born approach that takes the pain out of the job search and produces quick results. Noelle brings a shrewd headhunter prowess, fun-loving practical perspective, and element of fresh to the career world.


  • Great site Noelle!
    It’s awesome to see fellow FUS alums killing it!
    Have you ever presented at FUS for the graduating seniors? You should… Help them pay those student loans off faster ;)

    • Noelle Noelle says:

      Hi Dean,
      Thanks for your note! I authored a career article for the FUS Alumni magazine but I would absolutely love to help the graduating seniors land jobs and pay off their loans :) I’ve helped a few FUS grads as clients and they have all done quite well in landing great roles and higher salaries than their peers.
      All the best!

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