Where are you working and what do you do there?
I work at Plaid Enterprises in Norcross, GA. My title is "Key Account Coordinator", which is a sales support position. We manufacture and sell arts & crafts products worldwide. I support our large accounts including Michaels, Joanns Fabric, Walmart Canada and Hobby Lobby.
What is your typical work day like?
Every day is different; my daily tasks really depend on what my sales reps need and what our big accounts ask for on any given day. I love that I don't do the same thing every day!
My tasks range from: booking travel, planning lunches for clients, sending out product samples, attending marketing presentations, coordinating business meetings, creating and modifying plan-o-grams, attending trade shows, doing store checks, routing sales alerts and contracts, and the list goes on. I learn something new almost every single day.
What path did you take to your current career, were there other jobs along the way?
After graduating from UWEC, I decided to migrate south to warmer weather, and ended up in Atlanta. I had high hopes that the big city would guarantee a great job. Boy, was I wrong. I graduated right when the economy was collapsing - December of 2008, It took me 3 months to find a job, and I ended up at a place where I really wasn't happy. I stuck it out for two years, and through NETWORKING, got a great referral for the position I currently have. I can't stress enough how important it is to network! You never know who can help you find your dream job!
How did your liberal arts education at UW-Eau Claire help prepare you for your career?
Being in my position at Plaid, I interact with all departments in one way or another. From accounting to marketing, customer service to product development, having a well-rounded education has really given me an advantage. Especially being the youngest employee in our organization, I feel confident knowing I can keep up with the experts.
Is there something more you wish you would have done in college to prepare for your career?
I wish I would have been more involved in organizations and extra-curricular activities at UWEC. This gives your resume depth. It's great to have your college degree on there, but your employer is also looking to see what kind of person you are, what excites you, what motivates you. I worked 35-40 hours as a bartender in college; looking back I would change that if I could.
What advice do you have for UW-Eau Claire students to become successful in their own careers?
Keep your contacts, make a linked-In profile now, get a head start. Go to career fairs, make connections there. Keep in contact with your favorite professors. They are an invaluable source of information and reference. NETWORK! It is so imperative in your future job search. "It's not what you know, it's who you know"
Don't be scared away if you aren't interested in the company's industry. I work in the arts & crafts industry - yet I am not a crafty person AT ALL; although I am getting better as I learn more :)