News and advice on business etiquette — September 2014

What to wear and not to wear on business-casual days in the office, plus news on EY’s new “#SelfEY” marketing campaign on social media and more.


Q: What’s the appropriate way to dress on casual Fridays?

A: If your company doesn’t have HR policies about what is — or what isn’t — acceptable when it comes to dressing for business-casual days in the office, err on the side of business. Nix your three-piece suit for more relaxed occasions, but don’t ditch your dress code altogether; leave your yoga wear, Sunday-football-viewing attire and anything not in tip-top shape in your closet. "The general rule of thumb is no capris, shorts or flip-flops in warm weather, and no running shoes or ripped jeans," says Erin Nadler, a fashion consultant and president of Toronto-based Better Styled. Women can be comfortable wearing casual dresses, dark jeans with blouses and blazers and skirt-and-sweater sets. Men can sport dark chinos with short-sleeved button-down shirts and dark jeans with knit sweaters or with shirts and blazers. "Keep your look professional in the office because you never know when a client may pop in, when you might get the opportunity to meet a potential customer, or when a work emergency may occur where you are pulled into a meeting. You never want to have to justify or explain your clothing," Nadler adds. "Your appearance always needs to exude a level of professionalism, even when you are wearing jeans on dress-down day."

— Lisa van de Geyn

EY selfie


EY co-opts the selfie

First, Oxford dictionaries named it the 2013 word of the year. Then, Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres took the most famous selfie ever, posing with a dozen Hollywood A-listers. Now, in a clever twist of brand marketing, Big Four firm EY has co-opted the self- portrait trend with the Twitter hashtag #SelfEY.

Campus recruiters at EY’s two-day Emerging Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, in June asked attendees — North America’s best and brightest students — to share photos of themselves on social media using the hashtag. The result? Dozens of online posts showcasing smiling young upstarts having a blast, all under the EY label. One poster even thanked the firm for fulfilling his dream of going to DC, complete with a #SelfEY in front of the White House. We’d call that a social media win.

— Tamar Satov


This may be your big "brake"

Good news for chronic misspellers: hiring managers are becoming more forgiving of errors in resumés. According to a US survey by staffing firm Accountemps, only 17% of senior managers would eliminate a candidate based on one typo in his or her resumé, down from 40% in 2009 and 47% in 2006. The majority said two or three mistakes would land an application in the "no" pile, while 9% said it would take four or more gaffes. Some unfortunate blunders respondents have seen:

- "My last employer fried me for no reason;"
- "I am graduating this Maybe;"
- "Referees available upon request;"
- "Looking for a bass salary of $40,000."

— TS