Patti Bowman Carey ’82, director, McGaughy Professional Development Center, and lecturer in business communication

How to succeed in business

The course, which is required for business majors, prepares students for the workplace. Students polish résumés, cover letters and elevator speeches. They also hone other skills that Carey considers “critical to success,” including dining etiquette and how to dress for interviews and job situations. An etiquette dinner and a presentation on proper business attire by a fashion-savvy Belk employee are regular features.


Passing the salt, pepper and etiquette muster

Among Carey’s dinner tips: Offer the bread (or other food) to the person on your left and then pass it to the right; pass salt and pepper shakers, and cream and sugar, together; use the bread plate on your left and drink from the glasses on your right. Napkin etiquette includes not shaking the napkin while unfolding it (the napkin should remain folded in half with the crease toward one’s lap) and using it to blot, not wipe, your lips.

Par for the course

This semester, for the first time, Carey is partnering with the men’s and women’s golf coaches to add golf instruction to the curriculum for those times when business dealings move from the office to the fairway. “I don’t know of any Virginia university or college offering golf as part of its business curriculum,” said Carey. In another new twist this spring, human resources and talent managers are providing feedback on students’ cover letters in a cover letter clinic.

A soft touch

I tell students their résumé may get them an interview, but their ‘soft’ skills will get them a job,” said Carey, a former human resources vice president for East Coast Oil. Business is all about etiquette, professionalism and making a good first impression. This is one of the most practical, useful classes that students take.”

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