Field Sales Representative at Mike's Hard Lemonade
Please describe your job/role
The core accountability of my role is doing in market work with district manager level influencers at distributors. I execute all aspects of the sales plan with the wholesaler network in my assigned region and work on brand plans and programming of all of Mike's products in the flavored malt beverage category. To successfully do this, it is expected of me to be tracking market conditions, monitoring competitive trends, and working closely with managers and teammates to ensure we are taking the right path.
If you had a campus job or internship, how did they impact your career development?
Prior to graduation, I had multiple jobs on campus and internships. The ones that best prepared me for my career development was my sales internship at Rove pest control and Perrigo, a self-care company out of Allegan, MI. These internships were polar opposites.
At Rove I was selling pest control contracts for a small company on people's doorstep through metro Detroit. It was incredibly intimidating going in as this internship was summer after my first year at Western. I was the youngest person in the office, and it was 100% based on commission. This meant if I was not selling I was not making money. This job was not fun or easy, but it impacted my career development more than the rest. Through my experience at Rove I learned how to take chances, bet on myself, open myself up to strangers, how to take rejection, and enhance my fact based selling since no one trusts a random eighteen year old on their doorstep.
At Perrigo I was working in an office daily managing data for a publicly traded company. It was much more structured, stable, and a traditional internship compared to my one at Rove. The biggest career development I gained from this internship was having a full summer to get a glimpse of what selling at a full time professional level looks like, how to work as a team in an office setting efficiently, how to interpret data effectively, and how important it is to get good at Microsoft office. I would say starting at Rove gave me the skills to become a professional, and Perrigo gave me the tools to execute and continue to hone these skills professionally.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
The Food Marketing Program and the Food Marketing Association (FMA) prepared me for a career to the absolute best of its ability. From the Director Dr. Frank Gambino to all of my peers, I felt like I had full help and support from everyone involved in the program and they were looking out for my best interest not just in my time at WMU but also after graduation. I was presented with countless opportunities to connect on a personal level with employers, go to industry conferences, and hold executive board positions in FMA, which enhanced my resume greatly. I was also involved in the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, which I joined just one semester prior to declaring my major. Getting connected with several people of all academic classes and majors helped me get a good understanding of each major place in an office, where I fit best professionally, and how to network. I consider my involvement in these organizations to be what transitioned me from a young, immature, college kid to a well rounded professional.
Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?
Networking, 100%. I would not have the job I have right now if I did not attend networking events and get connected with the right people. There is countless great students and workers in the world and picking one out of all the options is nearly impossible. Networking and connecting that application to a face, an event, or a conversation is how one stands out. This goes beyond looking for a job as well. Any opportunity in life will be exponentially easier to achieve by getting your foot in the door with the right people.
What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?
The experience that impacted my career path was the process of accumulating several experiences. It is impossible to know what you want to do until you do it, so the best way to know is to try it! I came to Western only knowing I wanted be a business student and nothing else. To figure out what suits me best, I went through a lot of trial and error. Taking different classes, doing different jobs, talking to different faculty, going to different events, each experience I took away positives and negatives. As I moved on to the next thing I tried focusing to get more of the positives of the last experience and less of the negative. Getting closer to everyone's goal, that perfect dream job. As I graduate now can I confirm that I know I am doing what I want for sure? Of course not. However, I can say I have an immensely stronger idea of what I want to do now than I would have if I did not put myself out there and get those experiences.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
My advice for pursuing a career after college is before any other factor, find the company that you feel like you fit in at and you are passionate about. Everything else will follow. I promise you will be much more motivated to progress in career if you enjoy what you do and the people you work with.