My brother has been searching for a dog-walker to take over summer strolling duties with his canines. And he forwarded me an email he received from a high school student interested in the gig.
Everything, from the subject line, to the tone, to the information provided, was pitch-perfect. She introduced herself. She explained her interest and her availability. She expressed a desire to meet my brother and his dog at a convenient time—everything that an introductory email from an interested job candidate should be. As my brother told me:
“I loved the quick response and enthusiasm. Clearly she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure she gets the job.”
And no surprise, he hired her.
To be fair, I’d count this entire skillset as one of the rare places where kids today have actually fallen a step behind kids of yesterday. When I was in high school, the only way for teens to have taken advantage of an opportunity like this would have been to pick up the phone, call the adult, and do everything this student did in her email. Most parents would not have taken over that step lest their student be out of the running for any position of responsibility. We interacted with adults. Even those of us with paper routes growing up had to go door to door just to collect our money from the customer.
Times have changed, but they’ve also presented a wonderful opportunity for kids and their parents.
Students today can stand out by showing the initiative to seek out an opportunity. They can make an impression by clearly communicating. They can ask intelligent questions about the opportunity and demonstrate that they can be trusted with the responsibility. Actions like that make an even bigger impression today than they did when I was a teenager. Best of all, those skills will bring them more opportunities of interest, help them get into college, and develop the skills they’ll need to be successful once they’ve walked out from under their roofs.
That’s the kind of learning this dog walker has secured for herself. And it all happened because of one great email.