1. Handwritten Thank You Notes
My Mom taught me well.
A handwritten thank you note goes a long way. Always write a thank you note after a job interview. If you get the job, or if you don’t you can still write a thank you note for the opportunity. Thank you notes to a co-worker for help on an assignment, a co-worker who may need some encouragement, or someone in your life who gave you great advice many years ago are some of the best thank you notes.
My mom taught me this at a young age—each time I received a gift, scholarship, a nice gesture or advice, she always said, “be sure to send a thank you note!”
I start each day at work by writing thank you notes. It’s such a simple and humbling practice that reminds me how grateful and blessed I am to have people in my life to thank.
2. Proper Introduction
My Mom and Dad taught me well!
When introducing yourself, look the person in the eye, use that firm handshake, and state your first and last name, and title, if applicable, and end it with a “pleased to meet you,” salutation.
If you’re in a meeting, and someone new whom you’ve never met enters the room, stand, and introduce yourself and allow others to follow suit.
3. It’s “yes,” not “ya.”
My Mom beat this one into my brain.
Eliminate the word “ya,” or “yeah,” from your vocabulary. At least in the workplace—for me anytime, anywhere, anyplace. Thanks, Mom. (:
4. The Manicure and Pedicure
My Mom, and a few other special ladies taught me well. (:
You don’t have to spend a fortune and get a fresh manicure and pedicure every two weeks—but, take care of your nails. Whether you do an at home mani or go to the spa, make sure to pick a neutral color for the workplace. It’s classy, clean, and people totally notice if you have what my ex-nail technician referred to as “skanky nail".” If you prefer not to paint your nails, just make sure they are nicely groomed.
When it’s vacay time, go wild with the colors!
5. Work dinners/brunches
Back to you, Mom and Dad.
DO NOT begin eating until everyone in your party has been served their meal. No, it’s not so you have time to take a food-stagram, it’s polite and courteous. Follow the host—if they do not order alcohol, you shouldn’t either. If they do, feel free, but use the two drink rule so you don’t look like a fool. (: You’re welcome.
6. Eliminate Filler Words
Mom, this one goes to you again.
Filler words—pesky little words that can destroy your credibility. You know, like, when um, someone, like, talks uh, you know, like this? Make it stop. It’s easier said then done. But here’s my advice: pick one filler word you use all the time and focus on that word for one whole week until it’s eliminated from your vocabulary. Then, move onto the next. I used this method in college. I gave campus tours and speeches weekly, and one week, I would focus on not using the word “like,” then the next week I focused on, “um,” and so on and so forth.
7. Dress the part, look the part, be the part
This one is all me
I hate the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” You should always look your best at work. In my young and humble opinion, I feel as if business professional has turned into business casual, and business casual, has turned into casual. Let’s step it up, my friends. Be the hardest working person and best dressed person in the room and you’ll go far. You don’t have to spend a fortune on your wardrobe either—stay tuned for a professional dress series. (: