Etiquette Dinner: Eat your way to a dream job

Bonnie Koenn--At the biannual etiquette dinner, hosted by Career Services, students experience a full dinner in order to prepare for future business encounters.

Dressed to impress in business chic, men and women mingled their way to a beautifully set dinner table at California Baptist University’s business dinner to learn something not usually put in textbooks: dinner etiquette.

Students, faculty and staff gathered on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Copenbarger Presidential Dining room to learn how to eat properly at an etiquette dinner.

The Career Services Department has hosted this event biannually for the past 11 years with the goal of having each participant learn how to properly conduct one’s self while participating in a formal business dinner.

“Many times, a prospective employer will make your second interview in a meal setting. Getting the job means being prepared,” Diane Keate, district manager for Sodexho campus services, said.

As a CBU alumna and lecturer of the event, she taught approximately 55 CBU students, staff and faculty that night on the specifics of formal dinner manners and rules.

From the starting appetizers of bruschetta to the dessert of tiramisu and coffee, participants learned how to properly hold silverware, pass food to each other and much more.

While some may think that etiquette is a historical convention of the past, the hosts of this event think otherwise.

“We want every student to take advantage of becoming fully equipped to enter the career world,” Kushi Jones, director of career services, said. “This function will assist them in having the edge they need to be successful.”

Many departments believe this philosophy and have encouraged their students to attend, even sponsoring a table and inviting groups to come. Just a few of these sponsors include the International Center, Campus Activity Board (CAB) and various athletic teams, all of whom desired to better their students’ chances of landing their dream job.

“Being able to represent their company well is crucial to prospective employers,” Jones said.

No matter what the niche, from wrestler to campus activist, the skills learned that night helped to prepare for their future.

For the price of $5 for undergraduates and $25 for OPS students, participants were provided a fabulous meal, wealth of valuable knowledge and an entertaining night of stimulating conversation. At the end, those who attended were also mailed a free book going into more details on the subject of the night.

“I strongly believe in the value of one,” Jones said. “If just one student of the group came away with another way to further his or her career, then it was successful and well worth the effort.”

Campus Services is open to suggestions for moving times and agenda to accommodate the majority of students for future Etiquette Dinner events. Jones encouraged students to drop by and sign up for the next dinner in spring scheduled for March 23.

One of the many aspects you can learn during this event is that employers are looking for employees that will best represent their company to clients and others. Therefore, compiled below is a list of a few tips for learning proper business etiquette and landing your dream job.

-When introducing two people you know to each other, always introduce the person in a higher position first. For example, introduce your boss to your spouse and then reverse.

-When being introduced to someone new, respond with an appropriate reply of “How do you do?” or “Pleased to meet you.”

-It can be very difficult to remember each intricate rule of business etiquette. Therefore, when in doubt, follow the host’s lead.

-If someone asks you to pass the salt or pepper, always pass both together. This will save others from having to ask multiple times.

-Sometimes while eating, bones, pits or other unwanted materials may enter your mouth. Remove the food from your mouth the same way it entered; that is, if you ate with your fork or fingers, remove it with your fork or fingers.

– The bread and butter plate on your setting is where you should place any trash that comes by you such as sugar packets, chopsticks or skewer sticks.

– When eating bread, break off one piece, butter it, eat and repeat. Do not butter and eat the entire piece all at once.

– If you are in doubt about how to properly eat something, or continuing to try to eat something particularly messy; don’t be afraid to leave it alone. Remember, you are there for networking and socializing, not the food. Instead, put down the fork and spark up a new topic of conversation.

– One of the most important and ignored business etiquette rules is that there should be absolutely no texting, emailing or receiving calls during your dinner. Put the phone away and focus on impressing your perspective employer.