Manners will help you get a job

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 15, 2002

The thought started more than a week ago.

Sitting around a table during the monthly Business Education committee meeting for the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, my thoughts were on the future of our youth.

The committee pores over applicants who compete for monetary scholarships. Funds for the scholarships are provided because of the generosity of numerous local businesses and other folks in the area.

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Sadly, today's perception of tomorrow's leaders (by some) isn't the brightest. Numerous piercings on any body part come to mind. Wearing jeans that appear to be spray-painted on? That's another.

But most youths (at least around here, anyway) are good kids.

Still, I had to laugh as I took notes while attending a jobs fair this past weekend.

The mission: To find qualified applicants who are graduating from our region's colleges in the winter and spring terms. Although we don't have any openings now, our newspaper (along with 16 others statewide) know it's best to always be prepared.

I was quite impressed at the demeanor and appearance by the majority of the students. Many carried themselves quite professionally and I'm confident they'll have no problems finding jobs when the time comes.

However, there were exceptions.

If you're a looking for a job (or will be in the near future), you might want to take some notes on what not to do.

Parents and teachers: You may think your children/students automatically will know to avoid the following. However, it's always better for them to either see it on paper, or hear it from somebody else.

Here's four examples. And yes, I actually met these individuals:

Tongue-pierced applicant This is probably the least offensive out of the group. Many folks apparently enjoy mutilating themselves to make a fashion statement. I know people who have their nose, tongue, eyebrows, etc … pierced.

Not a big deal.

However, when interviewing for a job, you might want to ditch the tongue ring. Call it my lack of maturity, but it's a bit difficult to concentrate when a metal object is flying around in someone's mouth while they're speaking to you. It's even worse when they start clacking it against their teeth.

Bad language applicant This person was looking for a sports position and … ahem … colorfully described how his college got beat quite badly the night before.

I'm not perfect. Yes, I've used a few choice words before. However, it's probably not wise to do so, unless you're applying to become a longshoreman.

Food-eating applicant This is a person whom you've heard stories about, but couldn't believe they actually exist.

They do.

The applicant was eating a croissant. While in the midst of eating this pastry, she came up to the table, thrust her hand as to shake mine and said mumbled something that I think resembled 'Hi.'

All I really noticed was the moist ball of bread being chewed quite briskly. I supposed when you're hungry, you gotta eat.

But you need a paycheck to eat. No job, no paycheck. No paycheck, no food.

Get the picture?

Bad clothes-wearing applicant I'm not talking about showing up like you're going to a disco.

However, I still wonder if this guy intentionally wore his outfit to stand out from the others. If so, he succeeded.

Faded blue jeans (complete with visible grass stains) coupled with a wrinkled shirt was his choice for the runway.

He would've been better walking off a short pier.

I know these are only four examples. However, they all attended Minnesota institutions of higher learning, so it apparently is possible that someone from this region could do this.

If there's any lesson learned today, first impressions can go a long way.

And chewing with your mouth closed only helps.

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at