Illinois Valley Community College's Career Services office recently hosted a business etiquette dinner for students in the Ralph Scriba Conference Center.
Thirty-one students along with IVCC faculty, administration and six local employers experienced a meet-and-greet with hors d'oeuvres and a four-course meal. Instructors Bob Reese and Cory Tomasson presented proper business etiquette before each course.
"Resumés get you in the door, your business etiquette and charisma get you the job," said Reese. "The simplest faux pas in dining etiquette can show an employer that you make decisions abruptly or without an open mind."
In addition to learning about business etiquette, students practiced networking with employers and learned what to do in awkward social situations.
While most employers were from career program industries, students were encouraged to think outside the industry box and remember there are many facets to managing a business, such as accounting and/or payroll departments, customer service or marketing.
Students sent thank-you notes following the event. Martha Hoffman, of Earlville, wrote, "I learned so much and I'm better prepared for my future career. I can now confidently interact and network and I know I will use these skills frequently."
Career and Student Services Associate Lisa Witalka said, "This is our ninth etiquette dinner and we are grateful for our employers that were willing to give up their evening to participate.
"While we aim to educate our students, our employers also commented that they learned a few things and will benefit from knowing just how well prepared our students are to enter the highly competitive job market," she added.