Office Depot Small Business Index Finds Ability to Learn Quickly is Top Trait for New Grads Seeking

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Office Depot Small Business Index Finds Ability to Learn Quickly is Top Trait for New Grads Seeking Jobs

BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As part of its commitment to the small business community, Office Depot, Inc. (NYS: ODP) , a leading global provider of office supplies and services, today released findings from its latest Small Business Index. The study revealed that the top skill SMBs look for when evaluating new grads for open positions is the ability to learn quickly. Being a fast learner is valued even more than social media skills.

When asked what they look for in a new grad, SMBs reported the ability to learn quickly (84 percent) trumps other criteria such as willingness to wear multiple hats (76 percent); willingness to work beyond 9 to 5 (66 percent); and social media expertise (43 percent).

"To stay competitive in today's market, small businesses need to constantly reinvent themselves and incorporate new and improved ways to drive profitability," said NFL legend and small business expert Fran Tarkenton, who has partnered with Office Depot to create Small Biz Club, a free, one-stop resource for business advice and tools from the nation's leading SMB experts. "By hiring new grads who can learn very quickly, SMBs develop the bandwidth and bench strength to stay nimble and take advantage of opportunities when they arise."

The study also revealed the majority of small business owners (78 percent) recommend new grads take a position at a smaller business early in their career versus a larger corporation where they might get lost in the crowd. Among the cited benefits that SMBs provide:

  • Ability to develop critical business skills more quickly (64 percent)
  • Opportunity to work across multiple business functions (64 percent)
  • More access to high-level executives (52 percent)
  • Quicker path to promotions (29 percent)

"I learned incredibly valuable life lessons at a very early age from starting and growing businesses, even while I was playing in the NFL," added Tarkenton. "Working in a small business environment helps build confidence, business savvy and leadership abilities - all very transferable skills."

"At Office Depot, we know recent grads bring new ideas, energy and enthusiasm to the workforce," said Michael Allison, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Office Depot. "Through Small Biz Club, we provide tools that help SMBs grow their businesses and, as a result, increase their talent pool. Since one out of every four Americans works for a small business today, this is more important to our economy than ever."

To learn more about the products and services available at Office Depot, please visit your local Office Depot retail store location or To become a fan of Office Depot on Facebook and receive exclusive content, offers and more, please visit To follow Office Depot on Twitter, please visit

About Office Depot

Office Depot provides office supplies and services through 1,628 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs, and global e-commerce operations. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $10.7 billion, employs about 38,000 associates, and serves customers in 60 countries around the world.

Office Depot's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP. Additional press information can be found at:

About Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton is a serial entrepreneur based in Atlanta, Georgia, having personally started and run more than 20 successful companies over his lifetime. His efforts to provide knowledge and tools to small business have been a full time undertaking since 1996. Mr. Tarkenton is a passionate advocate for small business, operating through Tarkenton Institute, Inc., to directly serve hundreds of thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs nationwide over the past 17 years. Mr. Tarkenton's multiple companies and websites are each focused on ways to help entrepreneurs succeed in any industry and at any stage of development. A complete list of subsidiaries and brands can be found at

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