We love success stories at AfterCollege (then again, who doesn’t?), but this one is especially sweet since it shows how a recent grad got a sales position in our very own office. Charlie Ryan graduated from San Diego State University in December 2011 as a Business Management major and joined the AfterCollege team as a sales associate in March 2013. Read on to learn more about his job search and hear his advice for other job seekers.
How did you go about your job search?
I knew I wanted a job in sales in tech in San Francisco. I went to a bunch of companies, big, small, startups, had a ton of applications in, and I stumbled across AfterCollege’s website and joined. I happened to check the career site, applied, and Matt Baum (Director of Sales) got in touch a few days later.
Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career in sales?
I had a pretty good idea, but it wasn’t definite. My father is in sales, so that helped. I knew that I liked people and having customer relationships. And there’s obviously money to be made. I love technology and messing with computers but I’m not a coder or engineer so I wanted to find something where I could be involved in using technology without a really technical background.
Did you have an internship at some stage?
Yes, at Kroger grocery store chain in the summer of 2010 and 2011. I worked with produce buyers and I was able to see the sales process. On a daily basis I’d get sent to warehouses and inspect any fresh produce that was being shipped to our stores to make sure it would pass. I would grade the product on quality and relay that information to buyers.
Do you have any advice for students looking for internships?
Personal references (people you know, family, friends) are huge. Make use of any form of networking you have at your disposal. In my case I was able to get an internship by talking with people my dad did business with. It’s definitely worth stopping by career services at school, too, but in my experience it was my networking and personal connections that really helped me get my internship.
What would you say to college students who are considering a career in sales?
Somebody shared this piece of advice with me a couple months ago—all it takes is one job. Don’t be discouraged. Apply to anything and everything that you see might be a fit. If it says three to five years’ experience and you don’t have any, just apply. You never know who you’re going to get to talk to. I was surprised by the companies I heard back from.
Make sure that you like people and a diverse range of personalities. For me growing up, I’ve always gotten along with lots of different people. You have to adjust to everybody’s personalities that you come across.
Congrats Charlie! We’re happy to have you on board at AfterCollege.
Homework time: Charlie mentions the importance of personal connections in finding a job or internship. Ask your family and friends to reach out to their contacts to see if they can connect you with someone. They might not be able to offer you a job, but maybe they can still give you advice or teach you more about your desired industry.
P.S. Still feeling overwhelmed by the job/internship search? I feel your pain. Check out this post on five easy steps to finding an internship and things won’t seem quite so scary.