What You Should Know About Working in Sales Via Our New Talent Solutions Team

AfterCollege Talent Solution Team
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The AfterCollege talent solutions team (formerly known as “sales”) just got a little bigger! We’ve added four new members to our family. We decided to sit them down and ask them a few questions to get to know them a little better.

Here’s what they had to say about working in sales, the job search, and what they recommend for other students and recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in their field.

Vivian Rackover

Vivian Interview

College: Started at Cal State Long Beach, transferred to Oakland University in Michigan

Major: Communication

Greg Ludvickson

Greg Interview

College: UCSB, SF State

Major: BA Classics (ancient history – Latin, Greek, and French), MA Classics

Hector Bravo

Hector Interview

College: SF State

Major: Electronic Media and Marketing (creating documentaries, editing music)

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SFCuts/videos?shelf_id=1&sort=dd&view=0

Short Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub3c4WKcTlY

Ben Kemp

Ben Interview

College: Berkeley City College (on hiatus)

Major: Chemistry

How did you become interested in your field?

“My first job was prospecting companies, so it was like an assistant to sales. You’re qualifying companies that’d make a good fit. I really liked the process of the different touches. I like Salesforce and I like strategy, so I became good at getting the right person on the phone and understanding the structure of the company. It became a challenge, like playing a video game.”

- Hector Bravo

What was your job search process like?

“The first part was deciding what I wanted to do. My last job was retail supervisor at a CVS store. I realized I could really do without some of the corporate culture, but my coworkers were awesome. I really loved helping people and talking with them.

I began looking on all the job posting websites and aggregators. I found the AfterCollege posting on Craig’s List. I found the AfterCollege Blog and watched the videos and could tell that you really cared about what you were doing and that really appealed to me.”

- Ben Kemp

Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career in sales?

“No, definitely not. I actually wanted to be a stage actor, then a musician—a singer/songwriter or in a band. The traditional office setting is not me at all. I didn’t realize there was this start-up mentality. It happened to work out that I majored in communication.”

- Vivian Rackover

What are you most looking forward to about your new job?

“The new experience. It would be great to be introduced to the sales world and develop the skills I have. I’m interested in getting to know an entire industry and seeing where I can take that in the future.”

- Greg Ludvickson

What advice do you have for college students considering a career in sales?

“Don’t believe everything you hear in the media. Do your own research. There’s a lot of information about sales and some of it is outdated—like you get on the phone and persuade the person to buy something they really don’t want. Really it’s about helping people out.”

- Hector Bravo

Hector phones 1

“Salespeople are born, not made. If it’s something you’re really good at, you’ll already know. There are things that you can learn, but you’ll get really excited about it and passionate about it if it’s what you’re meant to do.”

- Vivian Rackover

Vivian Phones

“Go to AfterCollege.com. I wish I had known about it when I was in college! I floundered and all the problems we talked about during orientation [at AfterCollege] are things I experienced. I had no idea where to go or what I could do with a classics degree.”

- Greg Ludvickson

Greg phones

“Use AfterCollege. I’m not just saying this because I work here now. I just got off the phone with someone and she said there’s no one else who does this. It helps you find things you didn’t know existed. I’d also recommend patience. Your tenacity will be rewarded.

Many people have a picture of what sales is and that’s not what it’s like. So make sure you really understand what it’s all about. Start sooner rather than later. Start familiarizing yourself with the positions; think about whether you want to be B2B or B2C. I know this sounds really obvious, but Google is really useful and you can use quotation marks or plus or minus signs to narrow down your search. One of the things I see a lot of people hesitate to do is go to the library. You can also call people to ask them about their job and career path—they’re usually surprisingly willing to help.”

- Ben Kemp

Ben Sales action

We’re very happy to welcome Vivian, Hector, Greg, and Ben to the AfterCollege team! They all went through the job search process and are now ready to help other students / recent graduates make their way through it.

Homework time! Well, you heard ‘em. Make use of AfterCollege.com! Also, do some research on your field. Especially with sales, it can be easy to get a false impression.

Ben Kemp suggests using Google search techniques like quotation marks and plus and minus signs to narrow results. He also suggests looking for information in actual books (yes, those still exist). Try out a few internships. Vivian says that if sales is right for you, you should feel excited to be making those calls, finding leads, and closing the deal. An internship can help you discover if you’re made for sales.

P.S. Want to get a jump-start on your research? Check out our series on what it’s like to work in sales.

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