"It's not about what you know, it's about who you are as a person," Nate Bell said as he described his move into sales. Nate explained that while we are getting an incredible education in business, we can't forget the soft skills while we grow. Being able to hold a conversation, to express your enthusiasm, and to let your personality shine are just as (if not more than) important as what is on paper. We are so grateful to have the chance to meet such successful young professionals. Below, you can check out the main points from his visit.
Nate gave us a list of the 4 Keys to Success as well as a behind the scenes look at interviewing.
While joining SBA is a good step to getting a career in sports, you can't get too caught up in one niche. If you only have sports experience or one specific kind of activity on your resume, you look one-dimensional. It's important to show how you are different from the other applicants and why the company should value your uniqueness. Nate joined the school newspaper to gain these experiences. If you have another passion or want to develop a skill, find a club/volunteer work/job to do that.
This is huge in a small, connected industry. Networking isn't about handing a resume to an employer and saying you want a job. Networking is relationship building. It's investing yourself in getting new information from people who inspire you. Nate brought up the idea of a "warm introduction" and explained it with the following example. Say you are interested in Sports Operations. Although Nate is in sales, he may know someone in sports operations. Get to know Nate and then ask him to introduce you to that person. Now you have 2 connections, more knowledge, and an inside connection to a career path that interests you.
Get out of your comfort zone
Don't be afraid to move out of your hometown, to try something different, to talk to new people. Getting out of your typical routine helps you grow as a person.
Buy into your other classes
Be well-rounded. Pay attention in your social studies classes, math, global politics, etc. As a sales person, Nate needs to be able to establish common ground with people in all different backgrounds and careers. He sells to everyone from lawyers to people in oil and gas companies. Having conversation starters and a wide view of the world comes in handy. He told a story about taking a music class in college. In the course, he learned about a famous sitar player in India, Ravi Shankar. The musician passed away in 2012 and somehow it came up in conversation during one of his client meetings. The client was impressed that Nate knew about the legendary figure and it helped Nate establish an important connection in the sale. Having a broad range of knowledge helps you be an interesting person.
He also gave us linkedIn and interview tips.
LinkedIn: For every 1 push, give 3 pulls. A push is a promotion. For example, he would talk about deals with tickets. A pull is an interesting share/story/photo. He could talk about speaking at SBA or a volunteer project. This is a good one for a TED talk you watched, too.
Now for the interview tips. Disclaimer from Nate: these tips are most applicable to sales positions with the Pirates. While many can be applicable in other areas, take them with a grain of salt.
- Do not hand in a 2 page resume. Keep it one page, one side.
- Related experience is important, but it's not the only thing to a resume. Showing diverse skill sets/experiences helps drive the conversation and helps the interviewer see more sides to you.
- keep answers (usually) to 20-60 seconds. Don't ramble, but explain your point.
- Spin the negatives to positives.
- Give examples when you speak and stay out of the hypothetical. Think of the BAR method so the interviewer will learn how you operate.
- Have questions for the interviewer to show that you are prepared and interested in the company.
- Don't be afraid to show you passion. Get excited. Be animated when you talk. Want the position.
- In a phone interview, it's about tone of voice. Smile through the phone and act very interested. Don't be monotone.
- In a face-to-face interview, give a firm handshake, MAKE EYE CONTACT, and show your confidence.
- See if the culture fits with you vibes. Work in a place with people you like.
Joe Lassi, Marketing Coordinator at Pitt Athletics is not far removed from his days as a student at the University of Pittsburgh. After completing a degree in Exercise Science, Lassi stayed at Pitt to complete a second degree in marketing. Throughout his educational journey, he was an avid sports fan. He became a zoo president and attended most collegiate sporting events in addition to playing intramurals.
Lassi wanted to stay connected to Pitt Sports but missed the deadline to be in the marketing academy his junior year. Instead of giving up, he emailed the employees in Pitt Athletics, offering to volunteer. When the calls came, he continuously said yes. The next year, he became an intern in the Marketing Academy. Again, he showed his determination and positive work ethic.
As luck would have it, the department needed to expand as they entered the ACC Conference. With Joe’s experience and attitude, he was the perfect candidate as the next marketing coordinator. Now he oversees the interns, acts as a liaison to the zoo, handles media and game day functions as well as other more strategic opportunities to the department. Joe is a great success story to show the importance of hard work.
A few of our members attended the annual Pitt Business Diversity Conference. In addition to networking with our corporate partners including PNC and Dick’s Sporting Goods, our members attended break out sessions covering various Diversity topics in the workplace.
SBA members attended a session on bringing your personality into your career and understanding the positive aspects of surrounding yourself with unlike minds. We talked about the Myers Briggs Personality profiles and other means to see our leadership styles. In addition we discussed how unnerving and negative it is to feel like an outsider. We touched on how a negative attitude to others decreases productivity for the company long term.
We greatly enjoyed this experience and thank WIB, ENACTUS, and the HR Club for putting on this event.