Career Week works to help students succeed

Deborah Meter, coordinator of Cooperative Education Career & Academic Planning Services, holds up a sheet of paper as a guide while discussing how to create and present an effective resume Monday in the Scottsbluff Room. — Photo by T.J. Thomson

Deborah Meter, coordinator of Cooperative Education Career & Academic Planning Services, holds up a sheet of paper as a guide while discussing how to create and present an effective resume Monday in the Scottsbluff Room. — Photo by T.J. Thomson

Approximately 50 students, half as many as expected, attended a dining etiquette presentation and meal, Wednesday in the ballroom. Student Services hosted the event. Dr. Barbara Limbach, a business professor, gave the presentation.

The ballroom was filled with round tables covered with white tablecloths, glasses, dishes, and rows of silverware.

Some students who attended the dinner were dressed formally, while others wore sweat pants.  Some of the students cautiously examined the place settings and sipped at their glasses; others quickly tossed back their drinks. Limbach said 100 students were expected to be present.

“The information presented today can make or break your opportunities,” Limbach said. Formal dining experiences are often part of job interviews, so it’s important to make a good first impression, she cautioned, since employers make judgements about potential employees within the first one to three minutes of meeting them.

Limbach showed a Power Point presentation that listed table manners and etiquette. She discussed the elements of a formal meal, from professional attire to correct use of silverware to appropriate topics for conversation. The students listened while they ate and navigated the rows of silverware.

“Make people your priority,” she said, adding that conversation with employers, and not the meal, is the priority.

Student servers served soups, salads, entrees, and desserts. Limbach talked the students through each course and explained how to order food, where to place their napkins, and which forks to use.

As she discussed correct posture, many of the students slowly sat up straighter. She said that employers notice more than what a potential employee says.

“Body language sometimes speaks louder than communication,” she said. According to Limbach, some companies, like J.C. Penny’s will not give top positions to people who season their food before tasting it. This behavior indicates that they are quick to make assumptions without gathering facts, because they assume the food needs salt or pepper.

At the end of the meal, students were given a chance to ask questions. Many students participated, asking what to do if they couldn’t eat a certain type of food, and what price range is acceptable when ordering food.

This etiquette dinner is part of a series of professional development events that will culminate in a career and internship fair, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., today in the Student Center.

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