Lack of etiquette can pose problems for job seekers

Feb 21, 2014

Even though the explosion of social  media may suggest  the younger generation is more social than ever before, it seems the face-to-face part of the equation has fallen far short.

As much as the millenials — a name attached to the 20-somethings and younger — communicate with friends and others, it is through text messages, Twitter feeds that must be 140 characters or other media sites where the communication involves keyboarding as opposed to a spoken conversation.

The rise of this impersonal communication has created an oasis of very basic skills, potential employers report.

Grammar and spelling skills have fallen by the wayside in the rush to text quickly — and sparsley, while reliance on slang or overly casual language has become a bad habit.

“Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” are powerful words that have fallen by the wayside, as has the polite practice of looking a person in the eye during a conversation. Too often the familiar “ping” indicating a cell phone message has arrived takes priority over the conversation in the room.

Even when families or groups get together for a meal out, notice how often some, if not all, of the parties at a table are looking at their cell phone.

A recent employer survey reported the need for job-seekers to brush up on basic social and etiquette skills. In response, businesses have started up to teach the basics. Recently, Shelia Sumpter volunteered her time to teach children attending a United Methodist Church program the proper way to act in social situations.

One of the topics in Sumpter’s etiquette class focused on how to behave with a cell phone or how to present yourself on social media sites. She also teaches traditional etiquette topics such as how to shake hands when meeting people and how to set the table for dinner.

All of us could probably learn a thing or two if we took some etiquette pointers, but it’s especially important to instill this knowledge in children to ensure they become successful as they get older.

If your Generation Z child doesn’t seem open to taking an actual etiquette class like Miss Shelia offers, there are other options. Thanks to the Internet, you can search for etiquette tips on just about every social situation. And it’s not just for kids, either.

Want to learn how to behave at a dinner party and other formal settings? Check out the YouTube channel by Gloria Starr that focuses on good manners and etiquette.

Need to learn how to act properly when you travel out of the country? Believe it or not, there’s an app for that called You’re So Rude — The Social Etiquette Patrol.

There are also several websites and blogs addressing proper etiquette in the workplace or at a job interview.

We are glad to hear that there are some who still see the importance and relevance of teaching etiquette to children today. It’s important for people of all ages to at least remember follow The Golden Rule — always treat others as we would like to be treated.