5 Social Skills to Move From College Life to Business Life

Posted March 10, 2015 by

Executive Impressions logoLeaving the comfort of college life and entering into the fast-moving, competitive corporate world can be alluring and at the same time, really unnerving. I remember when I started my first “real job”, like every other recent graduate I had a lot of technical knowledge but when it came to attending business meetings, networking events, or simply interacting with other professionals in the office, there were a lot of situations that were unfamiliar to me and to be honest, a little intimidating.

Now with 10 years of international corporate experience and a wealth of knowledge in business etiquette, I want to share with you my top 5 business etiquette tips that can really distinguish you from the competition.

1. Project confidence with your handshake

Whether you’re at a networking event or business meeting, when you shake hands with somebody in business, they will immediately be able to tell if you’re confident and powerful, or weak and insecure. Of course, confidence is what you want to convey in your handshake, and for this, you need to concentrate on 4 things: 1) a firm handshake with a full-grip, 2) 2-3 up-and-down movements, 3) direct eye contact, and 4) a smile.

2. Store business cards in a proper business card case

Exchanging business cards is an opportunity for you to display your professionalism, and respect for the other person you’ve just met. You never know, this person may be the key to your future promotions or a better job. By purchasing a business card case, it not only helps to keep your cards and the business cards you receive free from bends and creases, it also signals that you’re somebody who cares about the smaller details. Perfect for those who want to move up the corporate ladder.

3. Dress like a leader

Your appearance in the office impacts your whole professional reputation. If you want to be known as somebody who is “leadership material”, then you’ve got to consistently set a standard of professional dress that makes you look like a leader. The key is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Take a look around your office. How do your mentors or the people you look up to in your company dress? Take cues from these people. They’ve achieved their high-status for a reason, and their professional wardrobe probably contributed to that success.

4. Practice confident body language

If you want to always look confident in business situations, it’s powerful body language you need to master. Once you know how to stand and how to sit to look confident, it will soon become a natural part of your professional image. Confident body language stems from good posture. Hold your rib cage up and keep your head held high. When you hold your head high you expose your neck, the most vulnerable part of your body, and project to those around you confidence and poise.

5. Clean up your LinkedIn profile.

When you’re applying for a job, as soon as your resume lands in the hands of your potential employer, they will search for you on LinkedIn. If your LinkedIn profile is uninspiring and full of spelling or grammatical errors, your resume will go straight into the trash. I see these types of LinkedIn profiles all the time. I think it’s such a shame because a small “typo” can eliminate the ideal candidate’s chance to prove in-person how perfect they are for the job. Do you really want to risk your dream job by not taking a couple more minutes to look over your LinkedIn profile and erase those errors?

Submission by Kara Ronin

Executive Impressions




Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and the founder of Executive Impressions TV. Kara is passionate about giving people the social skills to thrive in business and in life. Be the first to know about new articles, products, and free training videos here: www.executive-impressions.com/your-gift. Connect with Kara on Twitter @execimpressions.

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