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27 October 2005
JSU Students Show Grasp of  Good Manners

Good manners includes dressing appropriately for the job interview.

By Leslie Gober
JSU News Bureau

Students say facile delivery of good manners is nearly as important as a college diploma. 

Random interviews this week seem to indicate that Jacksonville State University students are not only steeped in good manners but possess outstanding role models among faculty.

Few people at JSU know more about the practical aspects of etiquette than Teresa Cheatham Stricklin, a former Miss Alabama and runner-up to Miss America, who now teaches voice at JSU.

"Dress conservatively, walk with confidence, show a good attitude, and—most of all—smile and make the interviewer feel comfortable," says Mrs. Stricklin. 

"The interview will go better if you are not self-centered. Breathe deeply and relax. Use proper English. Do not chew gum. Do not interrupt the interviewer. Sit straight and tall, be clean and well groomed. Listen and pay attention to what is being said, and respond honestly to all questions asked."

Mrs. Stricklin, a JSU alumna, is former director of special projects and former director of the JSU Information Center. Not only has she applied for many positions throughout her career, but she has coached many young ladies who have competed in scholarship pageants and improved their manners for job interviews.

Dr. Legare McIntosh, head of the Dr. David L. Walters Department of Music, offered this advice: "Know what the job entails. Let your potential employer know what you can contribute. Do research on the company you are applying for, and be properly attired. Arrive early, and do not dominate the conversation. An employer will hire someone who can represent their firm in a positive light. Thank the interviewer, and write a follow-up letter thanking the interviewer and expressing that you look forward to hearing from them."

Grayson Lawrence, a junior majoring in instrumental music from Clarksville, Ga., said "Never sit down until asked to do so. Shake hands if the interviewer is a male, but if it is a woman you must wait. Avoid wandering eyes, maintain eye contact, have good posture when sitting. Avoid fidgeting—playing with your fingers, scratching, patting your feet. Answer questions fully—no one-word answers. Make sure to say 'yes sir' or 'ma'am.' Relax and be yourself."

Phillip Goodman, a junior majoring in communication from Smyrna, Ga., serves as chairman of JSU's College Republicans. He said, "In the professional world, etiquette and manners are two of the most important skills one needs to succeed. When meeting for a job interview it is always important not to slouch or recline in the chair. Sit up straight and be very attentive. Show the reasons why the company would want to hire a person of your type or caliber. Be assertive and understanding. Overall, be professional and humble."

Layke Rowell, a senior majoring in vocal music from Albertville, said "One must be dressed in appropriate attire. Use clear verbal communication. Have a positive attitude and show that you are eager to learn."

Judy Holt, a senior music major from Jacksonville, said, "It is important to give a strong handshake, have a good résumé, references, a positive attitude, and a strong personality."

Want to know more about manners in the professional world? Career Placement Services in Bibb Graves offers workshops and counseling. For more information, contact CPS at 782-5482.

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