Treeline does not usually partake in job fairs but I went to a college job fair the other day for the first time. Typically we feel that we are all sales people and that job fairs are too reactive as opposed to our usual proactive approach to our business. Let me explain; we partner together with a company, find out what kind of sales professional would be a successful fit for their company and we, in turn, proactively search for, find, qualify and help present that company with those kinds of sales people.
You can plainly see that my colleague and I might not be too enthused about sitting behind a table with a bowl of candy and a stack of our business cards waiting to meet anyone who approaches our table. Not really 'a thrill a minute' type of afternoon. Don't get me wrong…the function as a whole was well done. It was a great setting in a grand academic hall. There were grad and undergrad students bustling about – getting to and from classes. Some students came to talk to us about how we could add value to their search after they graduate in a month. Some are looking for an internship for the summer. Some just came for the candy. We have conversations with several students but do you know what I spoke about the most?! I spoke with panicked students who were freaking out about how there are no jobs out there and there never will be again.
Seriously, I spoke with people who thought the sky was falling. There was one girl who thought that going back for her MBA was a waste and that she'll probably end up working at KFC. She wasn't talking about working in KFC's corporate office, she meant an actual KFC…not that there is anything wrong with working at KFC, but people usually aim higher with an MBA.
I speak with dozens of sales professionals everyday and as a team, Treeline keeps a firm grip on what the market is doing on a day to day basis. The messages that I kept on delivering to these students are the same messages I deliver to the people whom I speak with every day;
- There are jobs out there and there are more jobs on the way. Don't get me wrong, it is tough out there…dang tough. But, it has been tough before and it will be tough again. You just have to keep your head down, drive hard and wait for the smoke to clear.
- There are entry level positions out there but they will not find you, you have to find them.
- There are certain industries out there that are struggling and others that are growing. The thing is, a lot of people know which industries are growing and those same people are also trying to break in to those industries…there is a ton of competition out there and you have to separate yourself from the pack.
- It is not uncommon in the least to have your MBA and be in sales. If you go to get your MBA to get out of sales, that is fine. It does not mean that you are above sales. It just means that sales is not for you. It is my experience, any professional who does not see the value of a strong sales career is very confused and should definitely stay in school.
- And lastly, to the Class of 2009, please come out of school – we need you. We need fresh minds with fresh ideas who will build the market. New minds, not preoccupied by classes and dissertations, will invent new products, new services and new technologies. Do you think Bill Gates dropped out of school to go work for Microsoft? The answer is yes, the only problem is that Microsoft wasn't hiring because it did not exist yet. So, Bill Gates essentially started Microsoft for the sole reason that he wanted to work there.
That is what we need from the graduating class of 2009. Dream up the company you want to work for and then go out there and start that company. And, when you need to build a sales team, call Treeline, we will find the right sales people for you.