Fairfield University calls on etiquette coach to help students outclass their competition in the job market


Everyone knows that competition for jobs is fierce. What many people do not recognize is that displaying good etiquette can differentiate you from other candidates, said Ann Marie Sabath, founder of At Ease Inc. and author of six books on etiquette.

But just when etiquette matters most, people seem to be ruder than ever!

A down economy is a stressful time for many people - particularly those who are out of work, Ms. Sabath said. Nervous job candidates, including students, are letting their anxiety show through in less-than-regal behavior, Ms. Sabath said. Many don't even realize how crucial it is to follow up on an interview.

Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business is hoping to give its students an edge in the marketplace with its second annual etiquette dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 5:30 p.m. Ms. Sabath will spend the evening coaching students on a variety of skills, including:

  • How to extend the courtesies that interviewers appreciate
  • What to do when recruiters don't return calls or e-mail messages
  • How to get a potential employer to say "yes"
  • Why most job candidates fail
  • How to be politely relentless

"In spring 2002 the Dolan School of Business held its first Competitive Edge Dinner and it was a resounding success," said Norman Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business. "The participants' evaluations of the evening were literally 'off the scale.' Ann Marie Sabath made the evening informative yet lots of fun!"

Prospective employers will often invite job candidates who've made it past the first two interviews to an interview over a meal. Ms. Sabath will help them put their best forks forward by instructing them on the do's and don'ts of a formal business dinner. Among the guidelines that Ms. Sabath will share are:

  • The real intent of business meals
  • The difference between dining and eating
  • How to display your confidence during a meal
  • How to handle difficult-to-manage foods
  • The most commonly made table manners faux pas

"We have terrific students and we see helping to hone their personal presentation and etiquette skills as an important way to give them the 'edge' in the all important social realm of business," Dr. Solomon said. "I certainly wish that I had this opportunity when I was a college student! Adding to the professional atmosphere of the evening is the fact that faculty and members of the Dolan School of Business Advisory Council will be attending as well as representatives of People's Bank and the Alumni Association, both sponsors of the events."

And while job prospects may seem bleak, Ms. Sabath said getting hired is far from an impossible task.

"Yes, the economy may be tight," Ms. Sabath said, "however they're only looking for one job."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 7, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 190