Manners count. That's what I realized this week after recommending an intern I'd worked with at Diversity Woman magazine for a staff writer position with a local business magazine. I've never seen one scrap of this intern's writing. However, he impressed me so much with his manners and professionalism that I was eager to plead his case.
"John" (as we'll call him) is a throwback to an earlier era. Although all of us at the magazine showed up at the office in jeans and t-shirts, John wore a white shirt and tie every day. He never missed a "please," "thank you," or "excuse me," and although I begged him to call me Dena, I was inevitably "Ms. Harris." He was prompt in responding to e-mails, took on extra work without being asked, and is simply one of those people you know you can turn to for the work to get done.
Dressing up and being polite should be the foundation skills of any young person looking for a job, but it's amazing how often it isn't. None of us would have thought anything amiss if John wore jeans and a sweatshirt, but there was something about seeing him in a tie each day that reinforced the message, "This person has value."
So I hope John is asked in for an interview. And in following his good example, I have ditched my standard jeans attire for the day, and am heading into Greensboro for my casual meetings in a skirt.
But I'll still probably call you by your first name. =)