What Texting Teens Don't Know -- But Need To -- About Business Etiquette

"Hi QT. Hope ur hvn a GR8 day! RU coming out 2nite? TML so we can goss. TTYL!"

While you might be scratching your head trying to decode that sentence, it's an example of what a typical text message written by a teenager might look like. Texting has become the main form of communication for many teens, according to a study by the Pew Internet Research Center. The study found that U.S. teens are talking on landlines and cell phones less, using smartphones more, and averaging 60 texts a day. Many are so hooked that they can't even get through a class without sending a text message; a University of New Hampshire study found that 65 percent of college students surveyed are sending around one text message per class.

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Helping To Ease The Communication transition

Since texting has yet to become the norm, or even an acceptable practice, during the job-search process, some college students nearing graduation may need a little help adapting their communication skills for the business world.

Recognizing this communication gap and knowing that those new to the working world will be faced with fierce competition for jobs, college-to-workforce transition training is gaining in popularity.

Lynne Sarikas, executive director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University, says that their students can take courses on anything from business etiquette to dressing for success. Students also have the opportunity to meet with employers to talk about common workplace expectations for communication styles, work ethic and on-the-job behavior.

"Employers still highly value communications skills -- both oral and written -- and expect students to perform in that environment," Sarikas says. "One of the critical aspects in addressing the gap is to manage expectations. It would be wrong to chide students for inappropriate behavior if they are never told what constitutes appropriate behavior."

Elizabeth Venturini, founder of the college career-strategy organization Scholasticus, also saw the need to help young adults who have moved toward less real conversation and more technology-driven communication. She recently rolled out a workshop called Charm School for the College-Bound to educate students on the importance and essential skills of business etiquette.

"Etiquette matters more than ever in today's technology-charged society," Venturini says. "In an age when it is second nature for so many young people to text [rather than] talk, knowing business etiquette is critical as they prepare for college and future employment."

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Venturini shares the following four tips to help new job seekers brush up on their business etiquette:

1. Connecting while chatting:
One-word answers may work well for texting, but when connecting with people of influence, complete sentences that kick "awesome" to the curb and say something of value pack a powerful punch.

2. Take your eyes off the screen:
Off and away is the answer for how to carry your cell phone when you are meeting someone who has the power to take your future up, up and away.

3. A real smile, face to face, beats an emoticon every day of the week:
Look people right in the eye and make a genuine connection with a smile that speaks volumes about your confidence.

4. Stand up and show up:
When meeting someone for the first time, stand up and take notice of the person who can open the door to a world of new career opportunities. It's a quiet and compelling demonstration of respect.

"Now more than ever, students realize they will no longer just be applying for college or a job after graduation -- they will be competing for them," Venturini says. "Knowing good manners and basic business etiquette can give students the winning edge in an increasingly competitive job market."

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Heather Huhman

A nice post, Debra. I may be wrong, but I do believe business etiquette classes are offered and often required at most colleges across the country. And while I do believe young Gen Y'ers have more sense than to submit a job application using text lingo, your sentiment about the necessity of professionalism to succeed in the job market today is clear. Young job seekers applying for positions need to understand the importance of spelling and grammar when drafting their cover letters and resumes. Success and the ability to communicate effectively are closely linked.

August 10 2012 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And after FAKE performing all thiose proper actions for a prospective employer ... Once hired, use the company time and computer for games, chat, shopping Faebook updating etc .. and have your cell ON and be texting as often as you can get away with it .... ESPECIALLY if your new position is white collar or in a public job position ... Tiome for people to grwo up .Why are kids even allowed to have cell phones IN school? Geez 99% of the time toe p[erson they're texting is either in the same classroom, or was just spoken to in person in the hall between classes. And adults are no less useless to the world as these kids when they duplicate the kids cell in the hand 24/7 ... Wish there was a gov'yt tax like the tobacco taxes to drive the majority of these self-involved addicted people off their phones.

August 09 2012 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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