Why the Small Things Matter

07/30/2015 11.03 EST

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Our firm has just completed the process of filling two new positions with recent college graduates.  It took us a few months, and, at the end of the day, we were very happy with the outcome.  Along the way, we were surprised by a few things and frustrated by others.  I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our observations in the spirit of helping all of those new job seekers still out there pounding the street.   We don’t do a lot of off-campus hiring, so the first step we took was to list the positions with the career centers of some local colleges and universities. To our surprise, we got little or no response. I know everyone complains about the quality of the assistance they get from their career centers, but this response made me wonder if students are even paying attention to the listings of open jobs available to them.   We were surprised by how people composed cover letters responding to the posting (one started with, “Hey Jennifer”) and even how they spoke on the phone. Small things – like answering the phone for a scheduled telephone appointment by saying, “Hello Jennifer, this is Pete,” impressed us much more than the person who just picked up and said, “Hello.”   Some people applied for specific jobs despite not having the required background or experience. That may not be a non-starter if their resume included a cover letter acknowledging the lack of...