School’s out, and it’s time for summer! While all Girl Scout-related in-person activities and events have either been canceled or postponed, we want to make sure you have exciting experiences that bring you closer (metaphorically) to your fellow Girl Scout sisters.
For those of our eastern Missouri Girl Scouts who will be starting their senior year of high school, working on the Business Etiquette badge might be a welcome and timely distraction. No matter what your career dreams—astronaut, CEO, neurobiologist, rock star, or author—basic business manners will come in handy. Once you’ve earned this badge, you’ll have learned to communicate with confidence, ace an interview, hone your negotiating skills, explore how to act on a job and network.
COMMUNICATE WITH CONFIDENCE
Like any skill, excellent communication takes lots of practice! Each of the steps involved in earning this badge has multiple choices—you only need to do one to complete the steps, but if you feel inspired, do more!
Pitch a business idea – Have you dreamt up a new app that will solve a problem you and your fellow Girl Scouts have identified? If so, assemble those family members living with you (remember, we’re self-isolating) and present your idea. It might be a great idea to spend time beforehand writing down an outline of your presentation. Don’t forget to wear business attire! But most importantly, ask for feedback afterward.
Write with business flair – Visit a job board, type in some keywords related to a job you’d love to have, then write up a cover letter. Find examples online to see what information to include—remember, people want to hear what you like about the work they are doing. That means you’ll need to do some research to connect with the organization. Afterward, ask a mentor to review and provide feedback.
ACE AN INTERVIEW
Sometimes the fear of the unknown is scarier than the actual process! So, if you’re feeling nervous or anxious about answering questions, practice, practice, practice.
Here are some interview essentials to always keep in mind—show up at least 10 minutes early. You never know what kind of parking disaster could derail your plans. Turn off all electronics. Never be afraid to ask questions in an interview, write a list of at least five down beforehand. And, afterward, write a thank-you email or note.
Now, to complete this particular step in the badge, either conduct a mock first interview on the phone or videotape a mock interview. Ask someone you’re living with to interview you for at least 10 minutes. Provide them with common interview questions and then ask them to come up with at least one you weren’t expecting. Finally, ask for feedback. Did you get the job?
HONE YOUR NEGOTIATING SKILLS
As Girl Scouts, speaking up and taking action is second nature for us! Continue voicing your needs, and pretty soon, you’ll be climbing your way to the top of that corporate ladder. To finish this step, try learning from a pro. Even though we’re stuck at home, reach out to a local businessperson you admire. Whether you’re able to talk to them on the phone or via an email thread, ask them to share examples of situations in which they’ve had to negotiate. What happened, and what did they learn?
You can also go international! In a global economy, it’s crucial to understand how different cultures negotiate. Research online and then organize a mock international business negotiation with friends via FaceTime.
Pro tip: The key to any successful negotiation is listening. Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and don’t forget, ask a ton of questions.
EXPLORE HOW TO ACT ON THE JOB
Success at work goes beyond technical skills. Managers and colleagues note how you interact and handle conflict. Use this step to create a list of qualities that impress (or that you’d like to practice) to keep as a reference as you transition into the working world.
Interview a manager – Connect with a mentor and find out what actions and traits they value in an employee. What’s the worst behavior they’ve seen, and how do they suggest handling difficult situations?
Get an employee’s perspective – Research businesses that have received great rankings as a wonderful place to work in your community. Then, connect virtually with an employee and ask that person what it’s like to work there and what’s necessary to do well on the job.
It’s never too early to practice networking as it’s an essential skill you’ll continue honing throughout your lifetime. Did you know, at least 60 percent of jobs are found through networking? So, what are you waiting for? Try one of the ideas below that could literally pay off at a later date.
Schedule an informational interview or informal meeting – Before you start connecting with others, a great first step is setting up a LinkedIn profile. Once you feel great about the content you’ve created, reach out to individuals working at a company in your area. Ask them if they have a few minutes for a quick Teams, Skype or Zoom call.
Expand your circle – Perhaps there’s a new activity or club that interests you? While we’re still practicing social distancing, organizations in the area have rallied and created all sorts of virtual networking opportunities. Attend a virtual event or meeting and introduce yourself. Now’s your chance to build contacts and get even more information!
Congratulations! You have now earned this badge! It’s difficult putting yourself out there, working through this badge was no small feat. If you have any questions about this particular badge and related activities, reach out to a member of our Programs team at firstname.lastname@example.org.