Not everyone begins their career thinking they want to go into sales. Some of us, like AfterCollege sales associate Katherine Shea, start off as musical theater majors, switch to Latin American Studies and Spanish, head to Argentina to gain some experience in the wine industry, and discover that sales is actually a perfect fit. Read on to learn more about Katherine, who graduated from University of Redlands in May 2011 and joined AfterCollege in March 2013.
How did you go about your job search?
I saw a posting for a sales associate on Craig’s List. I really liked the verbiage in the posting of what the job would entail and the fact that it was an entry-level position. The post really illustrated that it was a training position, and that was intriguing to me.
How do you see the relationship between your major and a career in sales?
My major was heavily focused on writing formal papers. This helped with my communication and writing skills.
Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career in sales? If not, how did you change tracks?
No. I originally thought I was going to be a musical theater major, so acting was a major part of my life. I think that relates to taking on a role; being able to communicate a concept. As I started doing different jobs, the selling aspect of each job was what I excelled in, e.g. selling the non-profit organization to prospective volunteers or selling bottles of wine.
Did you have an internship at some stage?
How did you go about finding your internships?
Both of my internships were through personal connections. A close family friend was on the board at the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund and recommended me. They have a lot volunteers, but the internship was a new position there. My mother works in food and wine PR. She was contracted to do the PR for Julia Zuccardi for the US tour. My mother told Julia about me and my background and she told my mother about the internship. Within a month of applying, I was booking my flight to Mendoza!
What advice would you give to college students who are considering a career in sales?
I’d utilize all your existing networks, whether it’s social media, family connections, or online tools to look for entry-level positions. Be aggressive in your search. Cast a wide net and don’t put all your apples in one basket. If you can’t find an entry-level sales position automatically, don’t get discouraged. Look for something where the skills are transferable.
Congratulations, Katherine! We’re happy to have you as part of the AfterCollege team!
Homework time! Katherine mentions that she was originally a musical theater major and that experience helped her take on a role and communicate a concept, two skills that are an important part of sales. What skills have you learned from your major and extracurricular interests? Make a list and think about how you can sell these skills to a potential employer.
P.S. Katherine’s not the only one to see a connection between theater and sales. Matt Baum, Director of Sales at AfterCollege agrees that sales is essentially an acting job. Learn more about who make the best salespeople in our interview with Matt.