Undergrad with Questions: Relevant Skills/Experience?

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Dec 13, 2010 2:02 am

Basically, I'm a "restaurant kid". Its the family business, I grew up in it, I help manage it, and I am and have been a waiter at a few other places. Its the only job experience, aside from my internship at Merrill, that I have. I can't put on my resume I have any "sales" experience, although waiting tables does require some selling skills. For example, we have to push the specials, sell off the over-stocked inventory, and land drinks/appetizers/dessert orders. Also, you need to have a finess with the customers to make them happy and help you land that fat tip. I'm no math whiz but I can think on my feet when its adding/multiplying/percentages. I am not saying because I am a good waiter I'll be a good broker or FA, but these seem to be important skills to have in the Wealth Management field where you need to not only sell, but establish relationships with clients. All this makes sense to me; maybe because I'd like it to. But how would it be perceived by a FA or Manager looking at my resume? Would I have better luck dropping the restaurant scene and doing something with "Sales" or "Banking" in the job title? I feel like my experience has helped me develop great selling and interpersonal skills, but its no use to me if this isn't realized

Also, how important is your education (the kind thats proven by a piece of paper) in the fields I am interested in? I've had to work full time throughout my college career, not only because I love having money, but because my family has seen better days and I needed to take some weight off their shoulders and support myself financially. I've managed to do this, but it has definately distracted me from school. My GPA is under a 3.0. It also doesnt helpt that I find myself looking through WSJ articles and playing with my Investopedia Stock Simulator (up 23.7% this past quarter !) when I should be studying biology or calculus. 

I've heard this plenty of times in regards to this field: Its not what you know, its who you know. What do you believe is more valuable, getting excellent grades and GPA, or networking with people in the field, attaining internships, etc? (Note: the family biz is a goldmine of finance-type customers, especially hedge funds.)

Dec 13, 2010 4:51 pm

How old are you?

You sound like me, some 25 yrs ago. Nice post.

Dec 13, 2010 5:02 pm

You sold me on how a waiter could be a good FA.  Sell that to who ever you get an interview with and it won't matter if your only other experience was cleaning the tiolets at your family business.

Dec 13, 2010 5:19 pm

[quote=BigFirepower]

How old are you?

You sound like me, some 25 yrs ago. Nice post.

[/quote]

I'm 20 years old, sir. Turning 21 real soon.

Dec 13, 2010 5:26 pm

Ok, make sure as heck to finish the school. Not because it is worth anything you might actually use later in life, but because it means you are a closer, you finish what you started. Make your parents proud of you, that I'm sure is important to you. Ok, humor me, what is your line of studies/degree?

These diners of yours, Wall Street types right? Get to know them, tell them what your goals are, don't sound too starry eyed or unrealistic. Tell em you're willing to start in the mail room if that is what it takes. When you finish college, you'd like at least the door to be cracked open, and do they have any leads.

I had zero college, but I had business and sales skills coming out my nose at 24. So, the door got cracked open for me...

Dec 13, 2010 5:27 pm

Oh, and good for you coming to us now, because now you got ALL the time in the world to get your ducks lined up. Other new posters come here when it's too late. Kid, you'll go far.

Dec 13, 2010 5:51 pm

[quote=BigFirepower]

Ok, make sure as heck to finish the school. Not because it is worth anything you might actually use later in life, but because it means you are a closer, you finish what you started. Make your parents proud of you, that I'm sure is important to you. Ok, humor me, what is your line of studies/degree?

I'm an Economics major. And you're right about finishing school. But again, due to working full-time while attending college I probably won't finish in the 4 years I had hoped for. I understand the need to finish school, but my academics certainly will not be a selling point on my resume. I am just a little concerned as to how much of a disadvantage I will be at when competing with Ivy League trust-fund babies. 

These diners of yours, Wall Street types right? Get to know them, tell them what your goals are, don't sound too starry eyed or unrealistic. Tell em you're willing to start in the mail room if that is what it takes. When you finish college, you'd like at least the door to be cracked open, and do they have any leads.

Yes. While the place itself is nothing fancy (its a typical old "mom & pops" type breakfast and lunch place, been there 30 years), we get alot of these guys, and its in a very affluent area. I've already hinted to the younger professionals that their field is what I am interested in (by mentioning my internship at Merrill) and some have offered to "drop in" my resume if I was interested in interning with them. The older fellas I'm still working on, but I'm trying to not be obtrusive. I don't want them to come in, see me, and think "oh great this kid is probably gonna keep asking me about that internship". Slowly but surely, I am trying to get that door open. 

I had zero college, but I had business and sales skills coming out my nose at 24. So, the door got cracked open for me...

[/quote]

[quote=BigFirepower]

Oh, and good for you coming to us now, because now you got ALL the time in the world to get your ducks lined up. Other new posters come here when it's too late. Kid, you'll go far.

[/quote]

I sure hope so, sir. Thank you for replying

Dec 14, 2010 3:12 pm

I knew a guy who couldn't get hired because of his lack of sales experience. This despite a college degree and a successful career in the Air Force where he attained the rank of Captain. Door after door slammed in his face. Finally, one BOM told him to get some relevant sales experience and if he was successful he would give him a shot.

So, our hero went in search of the perfect sales job. He tried everyone. A catch 22 presented itself. He couldn't get into the brokerage biz without sales experience. But he couldn't get that sales experience because of no sales experience. No one would hire him. Finally, he tried a Ford dealership. They hired him on the condition that he not take any floor time from the experienced salesman. In car salesman speak, he wasn't allowed to take an "Up." He was overjoyed!!!! He had a sales job. Little did he know that he had been handed an impossible task. The dealership had set him up to fail. And, not only that, but to fail quickly. With no way to meet customers there was no way to sell cars. No doubt ,the Ford managers had a bet on how long the dunce would last. But, our guy was so dumb about sales and how it all worked that he was clueless. As a person, though, he was smart and driven. never under estimate a clueless, driven, smart person!! He immediately went to a print shop and had business cards printed. He got a map of the area around  the dealership and plotted a plan of attack. On his first day he hit the streets cold walking the neighborhoods around the dealership. He knocked on doors and had a simple pitch 'Hi, my name is xx and i sell Fords. I can give you a great deal." Sometimes he struck out and sometimes he struck up a conversation.

Three months in he was the top salesman at the dealership. All without ever taking an 'Up.' He took his sales report to the BOM who had promised to hire him. The BOM said "Three months? That's nothing! Show me a year on top." And so our guy went back to selling Fords. A year passed and he stayed on top. The dealership that had tried to screw him did everything it could to hang onto him. He was hired by the BOM who was as good as his word. He went on to become a two million dollar producer. That neted him, in rough dollars, about a million dollars a year in income. He also became a community leader and business mentor to many in this business. His business was still growing 5 years ago when a heart attack ended his life.

He credited the Ford dealeraship for his success. that and not being good enouch to get in without sales experience.

BTW, the Ford dealership that hired him turned him away the day before they hired him. he went back the next day, saw another manager and begged for a job. that's how bad he wanted it.

How bad do you want it? Bad enough to bring that GPA up to 3.5? Think about your drive to excel and this guy's?

There's a lesson there.

Dec 14, 2010 3:30 pm

I'll hire you dude.  And I won't call you kid.