Recruiter Roundtable: Holiday Parties

Today’s business world can be really confusing- especially in social settings. What is the protocol for office events? Are they mandatory? What about when alcohol is involved? All of these topics and more are discussed in our Recruiter Roundtable series, where we invite a diverse group of Sales Talent Agents to share their ideas and debate the topics important to you.

Today’s topic is “How do you navigate your work’s holiday party?”

Clockwise: Dan, Danielle, Sheila (host), Brittany, Chelsea. Not pictured: Meredith, Nico, Emily

Clockwise: Dan, Danielle, Sheila (host), Brittany, Chelsea. Not pictured: Meredith, Nico, Emily

Sheila (our host): Today’s scenario: you’re bracing yourself for your work holiday party. How do you balance having fun and being professional?

Nico: The first thing that I am going to say is that I think you have to be comfortable with the decisions that you make. The question I always ask myself is: am I going to wake up tomorrow and regret anything I did? This is the same mentality I have when I go out with my friends.

Sheila: So I think you’re alluding to how much you drink, right Nico? What are everyone else’s thoughts.

Dan: I’m scared of getting drunk at the party so I really pace myself.

Bana: To second that, I always try and be more aware when I am at a work function. I don’t drink as much as I normally would. At the end of the day you want to be perceived as professional when you come back into the office on Monday. You can have fun but I’d reconsider that last drink.

Sheila: What are some tips for not kicking yourself come Monday?

Bana: One tip is to watch the leadership team at the holiday party and gauge what is appropriate from there.  

Chelsea: I just graduated from university. I’ve never been to a work Christmas party ever. I know a lot of the scouts are the same. I’m sure a lot of us will be really careful to not be that new person who’s just going off the rails who’s too drunk and uncontrollable.

Sheila: So to everyone who has never been to our holiday party, what does success look like to you? What are you hoping to get out of going to our holiday party.

Brittany: “Hey, I work here”

(everyone laughs)

Danielle: I think I want to use it as a chance to bond with everyone. Get to know everyone.

Bana: As someone who has worked here for years I also try and be opportunistic about getting to know people that you work with. I especially think it’s a great opportunity to engage with the leadership team that you don’t directly interact with on a daily basis.

Meredith: And even if you do engage with leadership regularly you can still work to further that relationship. That said, I don’t think you should corner your boss and ask for a raise or promotion. Definitely not an appropriate platform to have those discussions.

Sheila: What are some appropriate talking points with your boss?

Nico: Vacation plans. Christmas- great go to. What are you getting for Christmas. All safe bets.

Meredith: I think it’s also healthy to reflect on your year you’ve had. Obviously you’ve had ups and downs. Just say ‘It’s been a great year. Thank so much for your leadership’. Acknowledge they are the healm of everything you’ve been doing for the last year.

Chelsea: And I imagine work’s naturally going to come up, especially at the end of the quarter. We all work closely as a team so some personal stuff may come up as well.

Meredith: On that personal note, introduce your plus one!

Emily: But don’t bring your new Tinder date.

(Everyone laughs)

Sheila: Agreed. Now, here’s a question. What do you wear?

Meredith: Something festive and something dressier than you would normally wear on a day to day. Something that is more formal and less business. It’s an occasion. You don’t have to show up in a blazer and a pencil skirt, but of course if that’s what you're comfortable with, that’s fine too. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is any piece of skin that you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing in the office- you shouldn’t show. I wouldn’t wear a crop top to work so therefore I wouldn’t wear to the office party.

Dan: What about for guys?

Bana: I think jeans and a nice dress shirt. Keep it simple. Keep it casual.

Emily: I’d go for a suit.

Nico: Agreed. I dress to impress.

Meredith: It all comes down to your preference so long as you’re not crossing any line.

Sheila: And a tip for that is if you’re questioning something, just move onto another outfit.

Sheila: So let’s say you do go over the top, or you wear the wrong outfit. How do you recover come Monday?

Nico: Unless you do something horrendous you are not going to be scarred forever. You can recover. If you do get a little too drunk, you can learn for next time.

Meredith: The only time it will rub people the wrong way is if you’re making the same mistake one too many times.

Sheila: With that kind of risk, would it be easiest just not to go?

Nico: 100% you should go.

Bana: It’s a silly opportunity to miss out on. Even on my maternity leave I made it to the party!

Brittany: I am obviously excited to go but I’ll be honest that this is intimidating for me. Two weeks into the job… I don’t really know anyone… Do I just stand around… who do I talk to?

Dan: You’re also at a Christmas party with people who talk for a living.

Emily: ...And have made 7 new friends doing this Roundtable, so you’re golden.

(everyone laughs)

Sheila: So you’re at the party… are you early or are you late?

Dan: I was first there last year.

Nico: I would say fashionably late.

Sheila: How late?

Nico: ...5 or 10 minutes late. 8:30, 8:35. You have to walk in so everyone looks at you. No one looks at the first person

Dan: I can vouch for that.

Sheila: But if you’re late you’ll miss the food!

Meredith: Oh yes, don’t ignore the buffet.

Nico: Eat some food before too, especially if you’re drinking.

Sheila: On that note if you’ve been heavily drinking, when is it time to leave?

Bana: When you take your heels off it’s time to leave.

Brittany: If there’s less than 5 people on the dance floor or that last shot isn’t sitting well with you, it’s time to leave.

Meredith: Don’t over or under stay your welcome. It’s all about balance. Also keep the venue in mind. If the party is at a public place, fine. If it’s at your boss's house- be respectful of that.

Sheila: Thanks Meredith for the final point and thanks to everyone who contributed today- this concludes another Recruiter Roundtable!

Our tips:

  • Be opportunistic with the leadership team
  • It is okay to arrive 5 minutes late, but not 30
  • Expand your network… don’t be cliquey
  • Follow the leaders on alcohol volume (never drink more than they do)
  • Dress to impress, not to attract
  • Eat before and during the party
  • Be thankful to those around you, but don’t be a sycophant
  • Choose your plus one wisely

Sales Talent Agency presents: A Candidate's Guide to Interviewing

While not all bosses will be as hard to impress in an interview as Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada; preparation, dress code, timing and post interview follow-ups will set you up for success.

While not all bosses will be as hard to impress in an interview as Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada; preparation, dress code, timing and post interview follow-ups will set you up for success.

Congratulations! 

This job is now within your grasp and it is up to you to ensure you put your best foot forward. Following are some simple tips and advice for how to prepare for-and conduct yourself during and after-this interview.

The most important thing to remember:

Approach the interview as though it is a sale - the product you are selling is you! Do not think you can "wing" an interview: preparation = success. Whether this is your dream job or a role that you are not sure you want yet, prepare thoroughly and always aim to get further short-listed for the role. You can always reject a job that you do not want, but you can never take back a bad first impression.

Preparation

  • Make sure you know the time, location and details/role of the person you will be interviewing with.
  • Thoroughly explore the Company's website to get a feel for its products and services, its culture, and how it positions itself to its customers
  • Read the job profile thoroughly and ensure you understand what you would specifically be responsible for in this role
  • Ask your Sales Talent Agent why they are recommending you to move forward (this will help you understand why they think you are a good fit for the role and what the client has asked them for). Make sure you also ask what-if any-"red flags" they have about you that may put off their client (e.g. gaps in your resume that you have not adequately explained)
  • List the reasons why you think you are a great fit for this specific role and prepare success stories/anecdotes that support this (e.g.: you exceeded quota each of the last 3 years and were the top performer on your team)
  • List the reasons why you may not be the "ideal" candidate and prepare to address those concerns
  • Prepare 5 appropriate questions that you want to ask. IMPORTANT: know the difference between an appropriate question (e.g. What are some of the challenges a person will face in their first 6 months in this role?) and an inappropriate question (e.g. How quickly can I be promoted?)
  • Know your metrics: what was your quota in your last 2-3 roles? What percentage of quota did you hit? What percentage of these sales were net-new business? How did you rank compared to other sales reps in the same role? Were you responsible for sourcing your own leads?  Remember: your interviewer is looking for proof that you are a great sales professional who can meet and exceed set goals, so be prepared to talk about this. If you have ANY documentation of your sales performance, or any positive letters from your clients or superiors, make sure to bring these to your interview. Proof of accomplishments is worth 1000 words and can definitely help differentiate you from the crowd

Dress code

  • In the entire history of Sales Talent Agency we have NEVER had a client reject a candidate because they were "over-dressed", but have had lots of candidates rejected because they were too casually dressed. You should be going for a clean, professional look-every time!
  • No matter what the role or the company (blue-collar, white collar or trendy ad agency), you should always wear a suit (or equivalent) to an interview
  • Make sure your clothes are pressed, your hair is neat and tidy, your fingernails are spotless, there is nothing between your teeth, you are clean shaven and your breath is fresh
  • DO NOT WEAR perfume or cologne-no matter how many people have told you how great it smells on you! It can be extremely distracting to certain people and especially in small office spaces. You should look and smell clean. That means no sweat, no cigarettes, no perfumes. NO EXCEPTIONS

Timing

  • Never be late for an interview. Traffic is never a good excuse (it makes you look unprepared, and great sales people are NEVER unprepared). Plan to be at the interview location 15-minutes prior to the interview BUT only walk into the office 5 minutes prior to your appointment
  • If your interviewer is running late, use this time to try and find out more about the company. Read the magazines/internal newsletters in the reception area; watch how people within the company engage with you and each other; engage politely with the reception staff and stay off your phone (unless in an emergency)

Nerves

  • It is okay to be nervous-you SHOULD be nervous! If you are too confident, you likely are not well prepared and are taking this opportunity or the interviewer too lightly. Take some deep breaths, keep a smile on your face, and don't let the nerves over-power you.

In the Interview

  • Treat an interview like you would treat the first meeting with a new prospect. In other words: remember that you are selling and that the interviewer is buying. In later stages of the interview process-once the employer has decided that you could be a valuable contributor to their company-you can start buying and let them sell the culture, package and opportunity to you. THIS IS NOT THAT TIME!
  • You should be engaging and polite at all times. Listen to the interviewer's questions and ensure you have adequately answered them.
  • Be careful of asking too many or inappropriate questions at this stage. There are good questions for you to ask in a firstinterview and there are bad questions to ask. Good questions show that you are interested in the client, the culture and their goals for the role (e.g. asking the interviewer what attracted them to the company). Bad questions make you are only interested in what is in it for you (e.g. asking how much money you will make in your first year)
  • Beware: Be mindful of interviews that seem really casual and friendly! It's often a trap to see how in control you are of the sales process. Remember, your goal is to move yourself forward to the next round of the interview process. Be friendly, build rapport, but make sure you stay on focus!

Closing the Interview

  • Recognize when your interviewer is trying to wrap up the interview-don't overstay your welcome
  • As a good sales person, you want to ensure you are moving to the next step. A great way to do this would be to thank the interviewer for their time, reiterate your strongest attributes for the role, and let them know that you are interested in the opportunity and moving forward. Finally ask if there are any concerns that they have that would stop you progressing further so that you can address them before your leave or follow-up with a response

Post Interview

  • Immediately following your interview call your Sales Talent Agent to let them know how it went (they will then know that the interview is ended and will get additional feedback from the interviewer)
  • Send a thank you email (would not suggest card - takes longer) - be sure to proof read - it is such a positive thing to do and if there are spelling/grammatical mistakes, this will only hurt you vs. help you - feel free to send to your Sales Talent Agent for review first if you want feedback

Recruiter Roundtable: Networking 101

Today’s business world can be really confusing when managing your career. How to meet potential employers? How to dress for an interview? How to negotiate your offer or a raise? All of these topics and more are discussed in our Recruiter Roundtable series, where we invite a diverse group of Sales Talent Agents to share their ideas and debate the topics important to you. Today’s topic is “How do you network?”

Clockwise: Xander, Sheila, Jamie, Sonya, Lidia, Armin, Kelsey (not pictured) and Emily (taking the picture).

Clockwise: Xander, Sheila, Jamie, Sonya, Lidia, Armin, Kelsey (not pictured) and Emily (taking the picture).

Emily (Our Host): Today’s scenario: You’re at a networking event and want to be noticed. You feel uncomfortable and awkward- what do you do?

Sheila: Networking is an uncomfortable thing for me and most people, but what I learned from Sonya is to have a specific goal in mind for what I want to get out of it. I would rather have one quality outcome than networking for the sake of networking.

Sonya: I think everyone has to decide upfront what their goal is. If you want an internship opportunity I think you have to be honest and upfront about that. I’m always impressed when someone comes up and has seen something our company has done or i’ve done. I’m impressed when people generally come up to me and start a conversation. It shows courage and maturity. That said, someone once found my instagram and quoted a hashtag I used. I found that creepy. It was a crossing of a boundary.

Xander: I think it can get awkward if someone stays with you a little too long. You need to have emotional intelligence so you can infer whether or not someone is being short with you and whether or not you need to move on.

Sheila: You have to remember that this networking event is not going to get you a job offer. You have to think of it as a first step and then follow-up the next day. You’re not going to a networking event to have a full interview or sign a service agreement. It’s not the platform to go deep. It’s just a next step. Anything over five minutes feels awkward to me.

Armin: I agree. I think you need to state your intentions up front.

Jamie: I find it awkward when someone comes to talk to me but they don’t really tell me what they want.

Armin: Yeah. I also find it can be awkward when everyone is talking and you’re looking around trying to find a group to join…

Sonya: That’s me!

Sheila: Sometimes everyone works together and you’re the odd one out and someone brings up ‘Trisha’s lunch’ and you just think ‘well I’m the odd one out in this group’. Wrong group.

Sonya: Last time that happened to me... I took a selfie and sent it to my team! I was standing there in the corner like a wallflower. It was my worst nightmare!

(Everyone laughs)

Kelsey: I usually stand there on my phone awkwardly...

Jamie: I think we need to learn to put our phones away otherwise we won’t get what we want out of it.

Xander: Body language plays a big part in that as well. Think about how you’re standing. Shoulders back, smile.

Jamie: I think it’s important to note that no many how many years you do this it’s still awkward. It’s not awkward just because you may be new to this. I’ve been at this for 25 years.

Sonya: Some people just have their ‘move’. I know one person who hangs out by the pizza and offers people the dipping sauce. He offer’s the dipping sauce!!! He calls it his ‘move’.

(Everyone laughs)

Kelsey: Normally my move is saying to someone ‘have I met you before... or have I just stalked your linkedin profile?” I say it all the time- it usually gets a laugh. But it’s actually true!

Jamie: Bring a friend but both of you have to have the idea of talking to others. It’s almost like building an alliance. If everyone's feeling awkward, find someone who’s just as awkward as you and do it together.

Emily: Okay. Scenario: You strike up a conversation with another person. You exchange respective job descriptions and the conversation goes stale. Now what? How do you make your exit?

Sonya: I would say “It was really great to meet you” and then let them know that you want to meet someone else who can help you achieve your goal of the night.

Sheila: I always say “I’m going to let you go now”.

Jamie: Ruthless.

(Everyone laughs)

Sonya: They say your network is your networth. You can always learn something from everyone.

Jamie: What if you’re shy?

Lidia: I’m pretty shy and for me you just have to rip the bandaid off and go for it.

Kelsey: Go get a drink. Go get a slice of pizza. Find a situation where you can make an easy intro to someone.

Sheila: Another strategy is volunteering. Your busyness will create an easier transition into networking.

Jamie: In these events you can always smell the people who are the busiest who people want to talk to versus the person who is scared. One thing you can do is to look a little more urgent. Look as if you have something to do without touching your phone.

Sheila: I think networking is a lot like going for a job interview; the best outcome always comes when you are prepared.

Kelsey: Yeah. Also making an a positive and memorable impression. Offer insight. If you are going to contribute, add something of value.

Sonya: Follow-up. The work you do for today is not really for today. Even if you made a horrible impression. It doesn’t matter. Follow up. You can always provide value later “oh you mentioned you were interested in blockchain and I just came across this really interesting article”.

Armin: An alternative idea is to have conversations not about the objective. Just a general conversation. Then in the follow up mention what your goal is. Sometimes you don’t want to pester for data points right away.

Jamie: There’s a fine line between talking about what you want and not saying anything. Everyone’s there for a reason.

Emily: Great point Jamie. Alright, well thanks everyone for taking part in our first ever Recruiter Roundtable. Up next: What to wear to your next job interview: Women’s edition.

5 things to keep in mind before your next networking event

  • Put away your phone
  • Set a goal
  • Don't forget your follow up
  • Add value
  • Go outside of your comfort zone

Advice on Creating a 30/60/90 Day Plan for Your New Job

So, you’ve been tasked with delivering a 30/60/90 day plan to land your next sales role. While it may seem like a time-consuming task up front, the investment you make in time and effort now will pay off down the road.

Your future employer is asking you to build this plan for the following 3 reasons:

  • To predict how quickly you will ramp-up

  • To gauge how invested you are in the role

  • To see how you react under stress and scrutiny

Taking part in this task is an excellent way to showcase both your expertise and strategic planning ability. The following breakdown was created to serve as a baseline template for each stage.

30 days

The first 30 days of the plan is about showing your eagerness to become an expert. Not every boss has the time or desire to hand-hold each new employee. Because of this, they seek those who are self-motivated and can hit the ground running.

In the first 30 days you should be focused on equipping yourself for success, namely by building your sales ‘tool-kit’. Use this as an opportunity to learn about the company’s processes; their systems, products, services, CRM’s and sales cycles. Understand the company’s value proposition, marketing templates, and if given the opportunity, interview top-performing peers to gain valuable insight into the company. And lastly, the first 30 days are a time to understand the competition in the marketplace by identifying “low-hanging-fruit” potential clients, to learn your territory/opportunity base and – if available – to review current clients purchasing/contact history.

This is the time to show how you have set yourself up with a solid understanding of the company and are determined to succeed as a top-performer.

60 days

Once the initial leg work is out of the way, this is your opportunity to show the practical experience you have and how you will employ it. Perhaps this entails getting in front of customers or overcoming pushback/rejection in the sales cycle. At this stage you will need to learn what a good “discovery process” looks like in that specific role (i.e. what do you need to understand your potential client in order to be effective).

This is the ideal time to ask for feedback to see how you are doing. It’s also an ideal time to outline specific activity targets that you want to meet (I.e. “minimum of 30 customer conversations per week”).

90 days

The last 30 days of your master plan are when you show what you are bringing to the party. By this time you should be up to speed on how to navigate your role with independence and how to contribute significantly. You should now know your way around and be initiating things on your own; thinking of ways to increase customers or revenue, generating ideas to save time or money, implementing plans or schedules, fine-tuning your schedule and continuing to get performance feedback.

The overarching aim of your plan is to get your hiring manager to picture you in the role and have no objections about your work ethic or potential.

Details matter

The more details you can incorporate, the better. Specifics count here. Take the time to find out the name of the software used and put that in your 30-day section. Alternatively, you can incorporate the name of training and specific mantras used internally, if known. Also, don’t forget to include the activity/revenue goals that you plan to achieve. To discover these kinds of specifics, it's important that you research the company as well as the goals for the position.

In Conclusion

The point of the 30/60/90 day plan is to have a high-level conversational piece to discuss in your interview. Moreover, it’s a great tool for the hiring manager to understand your thought process, so don’t worry about getting it ‘wrong’. This is also a chance to hear any feedback the hiring manager may have for you. The fact that you’ve gone above and beyond in the creation of your plan already is something that will elevate you in their eyes to show that you are determined, enthusiastic and energetic. Overall, this task shows qualities that are difficult to show on a resume; that you're a hard worker who thinks critically about tasks and can prioritize while setting goals.

5 menswear looks to upgrade your office wardrobe for fall

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As a formal dress code no longer exists (hello 2017) getting ready for work can leave us in limbo. How does one navigate that ambiguous space of looking office sharp without coming across as stuffy and drab or worse yet- overly casual?

Fall is the perfect time to introduce a few staple pieces to elevate your look. Pair one or two new garments with your existing wardrobe and watch how people take note. The holy grail takes place when one comes across as polished and professional yet still injects their own personal flavour.

At your service

Off duty or on, add some depth to your greys, blacks and navy blues this fall with a touch of moss green.

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Quilt till you wilt

For those who seek comfort in their work attire, fall 2017 has delivered. Wear a quilted bomber paired with trousers for a more comfortable spin on professionalism.

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Roll with the punches

Your neck will be well protected this fall as roll necks are a must have! Pair a roll neck with dark denim or a cardigan and trouser for the ultimate fall look.

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Throwin' Back

Say hello to the 80’s with the oversized, double breasted suit jacket making it’s return.  Pair it with a crew neck and dark denim for a sophisticated yet casual look.

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Wide-leg trouser

Fall 2017 is all about comfort. From quilted fabrics to a more relaxed pant fit, late nights at the office just got a whole lot easier.

Happy styling!


Lidia Aiello is a personal stylist working in the downtown Toronto area. She specializes in everyday office looks that make you look and feel your personal best. For more information on working with Lidia, visit her personal site here.

5 Fall womenswear looks you'll wish you were wearing to the office right now

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By Lidia Aiello

Fall is here and we're collectively glad we no longer need to shiver under pashmina scarves (masking our chic summer ensembles) while getting our work done at the office. That said, many of us still ask ourselves what is and is not appropriate to wear when heading out the door.

The overarching theme is this: a formal work dress code no longer exists.  The corporate sector now allows employees to wear jeans and leggings to work and even the House of Chambers in Britain has agreed that it is time to rethink their dress code.

Sometimes having too much choice can be paralyzing, especially as a women. Do you wear pants? A dress? A skirt? What's a suitable length for said skirt? What about tops and tank tops? What is appropriate and what crosses the line?

Below you'll find our top-5-fall-picks that are 100% office appropriate and most of all, stylish.

Lady in Red

Associated with power, determination, passion and desire, red is the colour of fall. Wear this memorable colour as an accent or a head to toe ensemble (if you dare)  and you’ll be sure to go un-missed.

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Do the Polka

Extravagant, Parisian and feminine. You can’t go wrong with this timeless classic.

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Victorian Collars

The turtlenecks fancy older sister comes out to play this fall. Pair this elegant neckline with a trouser or skirt for a respectable and lasting impression.  

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A Boy's Life

No frills, just powerful women. With pant suits making a come back, the men in the office will be restless in their boardroom seats.

The Middy

Why go mini when you can go middy? This fall, mid length skirts are in full effect. Pair this skirt with a tall boot for the ultimate fall look.

Happy styling!


Lidia Aiello is a personal stylist working in the downtown Toronto area. She specializes in everyday office looks that make you look and feel your personal best. For more information on working with Lidia, visit her personal site here.

Does your sales pitch meet these 5 key criteria?

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BY SONYA MELOFF

Crafting a good pitch can be the difference between having a door open, or not. It is one of the most critical components of the sales process and it’s important to think carefully about what you are trying to sell and who you are selling to.

Below are 5 key elements to keep in mind when considering that perfect P-I-T-C-H

P- Problem solver (Show how you have a solution that works)

First thing is to identify a problem that exists and what the solution is that you have to help solve that problem.  Sales is really problem solving in disguise, so it’s critical to think about what problem you are looking to help with.

I- Inspire an action (Have an end goal in mind that you’re leading them to)

It’s important to have an end goal so that you know what direction you’re heading. We’ve all heard the term 'getting to a close' and it’s ok to say upfront what your goals are, whether it’s buying a case of steak knives, or requesting a professional business meeting.  Getting that next step or inspiring a positive action, is the most critical component of an effective pitch.
 

T- Tailor it to the audience

Make sure you’ve done your research; know who you are talking to, (or if selling to a company, know everything about that company) what their own goals might be and why what you have to say is important. Part of knowing what is important to them is also asking good questions.  One of the most critical components in sales is asking good questions and a great first pitch should open the door for that 2nd step which is a meeting to discuss and learn more about the goals of the customer.  A well tailored pitch will get you to the next step in the sales process.

C- Concise (be quick and to the point)

We live in a Twitter Universe where people’s expectations are that you can make a concise argument in 140 characters, or 30 seconds!  That’s pressure!

It’s called an elevator pitch because if you’re in an elevator with someone you want to hire you, you have about 30 seconds before the elevator reaches the lobby to get him or her to take your card. By tailoring it to them and solving a problem they have, you’re more likely to keep their attention and inspire an action.


H- Heart (Be passionate!)

Passion is contagious!! Be passionate about what you’re selling. Whether you’re selling yourself or your product, show them why it’s important and why they should care – with passion!

Be authentic and always be professional.


Learn more about crafting the perfect pitch here

Selling yourself for your first sales job

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BY SHEILA CASSIDY

We all know the infamous saying: you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. As such, the idea of drafting a resume as a student is a daunting and seemingly impossible task.

I’ve reviewed resumes professionally in two capacities: one as a Student Career Leader at Western University and one as a B2B Sales Recruiter at Sales Talent Agency. When I was a student leader I was trained to help students show off the transferable skills they have gained; when I was a sales recruiter I coached new grads to highlight not just what they did but what they accomplished. Sales is a very metrics oriented profession and that should be taken into consideration when drafting a sales resume regardless of your career level.

The 5 tips below are designed to help you craft your first resume out of school to help leverage you for your first sales position.

1. Make it as easy for prospective employers to contact you

If you’re hoping for someone to contact you, make it as easy as possible for the person reviewing your resume to do so. The basic contact information you want to highlight should include your address, phone number (remember to set up voicemail!) and email address.

2. Be conscious about the location you are choosing

What address do you choose? Trust me, I’ve been there - I was studying in London, my hometown was Burlington and I wanted to work in Toronto. When you are selecting the address to put on your resume choose the one that is most aligned to where you will be located when you graduate. If you are open to relocating be sure to include that as well.

3. Don’t underestimate the experience you already have

Before you start putting pen to paper, complete this simple exercise: for each role you’ve had, both paid and unpaid, write down what you did, what transferable skills you developed and what you accomplished. When you go in for a sales interview, your hiring manager will be interested in your activity, but will also want to ensure that your activity delivered results. So how can this be applied for your experience that isn’t a direct sales role?

  • Restaurant experience:
    • Did your restaurant ever push items to upsell? If so, how did you perform?

    • Were you ever recognized for having the highest sales?

  • Did you receive accolades for outstanding customer service and/or sales?

  • Volunteer Experience

    • Fundraising experience is very applicable to sales. Did your team have a goal? Did you meet or exceed it?

    • Did you have to get sponsors? If so, how many calls did you make and what was the result?

    • How did you measure success? Did your team do a great job?

  • Awards

    • What was the criteria? How did you win? How competitive was it?

  • Extracurriculars and Sports

    • Did you win an election? Win a championship? Take charge on a team? One of the first things that hiring managers will evaluate is the level of someone’s drive and a competitive go-getter spirit is a sure fire way to relay that you have a lot of it.

4. Be concise with your descriptions and clear on your accomplishments

I’ve heard a lot of rules on campus on the number of pages and bullets per section of a resume. The general rule should be that every line on your resume should be relevant and everything should be something you can confidently speak to. The other thing to consider is that everyone has different styles and that is very okay. Here are some examples that I put together based on my own experience, but use this only as a guideline -- be yourself!

Western University - Career Leader September 2010 - April 2011

  • As a team, assisted 802 students with resume, job searches and interview skills in one-on-one drop in times

  • Co-facilitated informative workshops about how to prepare a resume and cover letter for existing university students, with notable attention to our international student body

Richardson GMP - Intern July 2010 - September 2010

  • Worked with a team in transferring over 40,000 client files into an electronic database
  • Remained flexible and reliable in order to complete the project on time and on budget

National University of Rwanda, Africa - Intern May 2010 - July 2010

  • Actively participated in the development and grand opening of Butare’s first ice-cream shop “Inzozi Nziza” where a team of interns took on projects related to accounting, operational booklets and computer manuals

Western University - Residence Don August 2008 - April 2010

  • Promoted from the position of Residence Advisor to Residence Don in my second year on Residence Staff

  • Planned and executed regular floor meetings for new students to discuss any events, opportunities for advancement, and to strengthen the floor dynamics and was also recognized for having the best floor meetings across campus

5. Do not invent experience you do not have

You should be excited and prepared to speak to the experience you put on your resume and trust me - the hiring manager you are sitting across from will know if you are overemphasizing your previous job responsibilities.

When hiring managers are hiring at an entry level they are not looking for experience; they are looking for strong drive, great nature and potential to develop business acumen.

Your resume (and interview) should highlight that you are eager to learn, that you’ve developed some great transferable skills and have had some exposure to the workplace that has given you glimpses into your strengths and opportunities for improvement. Embrace it and don’t mask it with experience you can’t yet back up.

 

For students eager to learn more about sales and landing a sales job please be sure to submit a pitch for the Great Canadian Sales Competition this fall! 




 

I've landed my first job. Now what?

Working with Sponsors such as UPS within my first year as the Competition Coordinator with the Great Canadian Sales Competition.

Working with Sponsors such as UPS within my first year as the Competition Coordinator with the Great Canadian Sales Competition.

BY KATHERINE PERRIN

It’s hard to believe that just a year and a half ago I was a new graduate entering my first role out of school, with the Great Canadian Sales Competition. Furthermore, it’s hard to believe how fast the time has passed by. I remember my first day. My first week. At the time, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. As I am sure most recent grads experience, it was completely different -- but it was great.

I started with the Great Canadian Sales Competition as the Competition Coordinator and Regional Manager of Ontario. I was the first full time hire for the competition, outside of its Director, Sheila Cassidy. As such, the role required us both to be extremely flexible and there were a lot of times that it felt like that old saying “you either sink or swim”. There were a lot of learning curves within defining what my role was and what the competition actually needed from a Coordinator.

I am now the Manager of Campus Recruitment and Operations and I have the opportunity to manage this year’s Competition Coordinator and Regional Managers. I entered a growing company, in a brand new role and I learned a lot along the process. By all means, I am no expert on how to succeed in a new position, but I do feel inclined to share what I learned. See below my 5 tips to help you define your place within a new role and company in your first year.  

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

First off, be resourceful. There are many resources that you can utilize to figure something out - and trust me, your boss will appreciate the initiative. But with that being said, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your boss wants nothing more than to see you succeed, so ask them questions. Use them for their knowledge. There is absolutely no reason why you should start working on something and have to redo it, just because you didn’t ask the question.

Identify your strengths

Your strengths are ultimately the keys to your success. Everyone has different strengths in different areas. From the get-go start to identify what you like and what you are good at. See what excites you and look to see what you do differently than everyone else. Start practising these skills and start to define them. And lastly ask to be a part of projects that utilize these skills.

Work on your weaknesses

Everyone has things that they wish they were better at, but I’ve learned to look at them less like weaknesses and more like an opportunity to develop. Ask for feedback. Chances are if you think you are weak in an area, your boss probably does as well. Utilize them to coach you through your weakness and to help you improve it.  

Enhance your credibility

As cliche as it sounds, don’t be the last person in the office and the first person to leave. You need to prove to your boss and yourself that you deserve to be there. Go above and beyond when asked to complete a project. And when that is finished, be proactive and find other ways to put your skills to use.

Take Initiative

You may be new to the role, but don’t sit through meetings in silence. Show the initiative to engage and contribute to the conversion. Utilize meetings as a way to learn as much as you can about your organization and the way that it works. You need to be visible. The more people that see and hear you, the sooner that they will come to you in the future for help.

Feeling overwhelmed with extra-curricular involvement? Choose your lane.

Elite Daily stated that “we live in a society in which productivity is considered to be a highly valued aspect of life. If you seek to impress someone, whether it's at a job, networking or in everyday relationships, people will wonder what you're up to. ‘Nothing’ is an answer that’s often frowned upon, as is general laziness”. However, it seems that for the most part this statement is misconstrued, especially by those who are young, hungry and eager to impress - students.

How I Landed 2 Amazing Co-op Positions Without Applying to an Online Job Posting

Prior to going into my second year of University I was approached by Sheila Cassidy, Director of the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC), regarding an ambassador position at St Francis Xavier University (StFX). When I received her message, I was unsure what I would be getting myself into - I knew absolutely nothing about sales, but I had nothing to lose so I gave it a shot. Little did I know, just how much I had to gain from taking on this opportunity! I took the call with Sheila and quickly realized there was a huge networking opportunity that the GCSC would offer my fellow students and I.

Unlearning What I Thought I Knew About Sales

If you asked me a year ago if I would have considered sales as a career, I probably would have said “no” with a large degree of certainty. But in reality I was uneducated about what sales consisted of and what a sales career actually looked like. Working as an on-campus Ambassador for the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC) really helped me to understand what sales actually was and ultimately led me to the exec position I now hold with the team.

How extra-curriculars made me job ready

BY KATHERINE PERRIN

When I think back to the earlier days of my education, I remember one particular day like it was yesterday. A man from Enactus Canada came to one of my marketing classes to speak about the benefits of extracurricular activities. He said “How many of you want to get a job after graduating?” I raised my hand. I looked to my left and looked to my right and everyone else had their hands raised too. “How many of you want to get a marketing job after you graduate?”

Again, I raised my hand. I looked to my left and looked to my right and everyone had their hands raised again. He then said “This is your competition, what is going to set you apart?” And then it hit me, this was just my competition at my school. There would be tons of graduates from universities and colleges in the GTA region that would also be my job competition. From almost every stand point these facts were daunting.

So, what was going to set me apart? And my answer was extra-curriculars.

Throughout my journey in the Niagara College School of Business I constantly strived to do my best academically. In fact, in my 3 year marketing program, I graduated with Honors Standing and at the top of my class. But, not only did I try to do well academically, I tried to be involved with as many extracurricular activities as I could manage between my academics and working part-time.

I tried out and was selected to be a part of Niagara College’s Marketing Team from 2013 to 2015. Through this I became a silver medalist in market research and 1st runner up in retail marketing at the Ontario College’s Marketing Competition. I was also one of three Niagara College students selected in 2014 to complete at a national level marketing competition called the BDC Case Challenge. BDC involved 16 hours a week of training and a lot of hard work, but provided me with new and exciting skill sets.

I was also selected to be the Vice President of Enactus Niagara College in 2014. Niagara College’s Enactus program focused on working with a community of student, academic and business advisors to create developmental projects for smaller businesses throughout the Niagara region. In my year as Vice President, I worked hard to restructure a program that had been ignored and undervalued. Within a year we had won the honor of being the Most Improved Enactus Team nationwide.

After my 3 years in the School of Business I wanted to further my education and hone in on my communication skills. So, I decided to take on Niagara College’s Public Relations Post Grad, which was at the School of Media and Technology. This meant a new campus and a new territory; and with this came new connections, new extra-curriculars and new experiences. Through this program and my extracurricular experience I was one of 12 students chosen to participate in the Public Relations Society- Hamilton Chapter 2015/2016 mentorship program. The mentorship program focused on building relationships with industry members, developing communication skills and networking with future connections.

And last, but certainly not least, I took part in The Great Canadian Sales Competition, Canada’s Biggest Student Competition, as Niagara College’s Team Lead/Ambassador. In the Competition’s second year (and first year at Niagara College), our team encouraged 72 students to participate on our campus putting us at 360% to our team target. The GCSC helped me develop sales and entrepreneurial skills that I wasn’t necessarily learning in school. And the GCSC provided me with measurable and attainable targets that helped set me apart in the job market once I was finished school.

Through all of these extra-curriculars I became committed, connected and driven. But most of all I became job ready. I encourage all students to get involved in extra-curriculars at their college or university in any way that they can. My extra-curricular’s gave me an accolade to put on my resume, relevant experience and amazing networking opportunities. Lastly, my extra-curricular involvement allowed me to develop skill sets that made me job ready. And for all students, extra-curriculars will provide you with the same.  

I couldn’t be more excited to be hired on as the Competition Coordinator/Regional Manager for The Great Canadian Sales Competition, right out of school.  Not only do I understand competitions and how to get students involved, but I also understand how extra-curriculars can be a huge benefit to students. I encourage any student that is reading this to get involved and to get involved now.


Please feel free to contact me at katherine.perrin@salestalentagency.com to discuss how you can get involved on campus with the Great Canadian Sales Competition!

The Three Things You Must Prove To Win Your Next Big Job Interview

In the world of recruitment there are nuggets of advice that we find ourselves sharing every single day. Some of this is so simple that it borders on inane (make sure you wore a good suit, show up on time and send a thank you email when you're finished) but some have proven time and time again to change the way that people view the interview process and provide measurable results.