The One Job Every College Student Should Have
Working during college is a necessary evil for many students — how else can you expect to pay your living expenses, buy text books, and not get crushed by debt once you finish studying? Last year, Georgetown University released a report called Learning While Earning: The New Normal and, as the title suggests, their research found the vast majority of college students earn a paycheck while they’re enrolled.
But holding down a quality job while also furthering your education can be a challenging balancing act.
Work robs you of valuable time — time that could be spent studying — and working more than 20 hours a week can have a negative impact on grades. Not to mention the fact that work drags you away from the more intangible benefits of college. These years are meant to be some of the best in your life, a time when you can grow as a person by socializing, exploring, pushing your boundaries, and having fun. No one wants to miss out on the fun of college because all their spare time has been sucked up by a soul-sapping, menial job.
And what about when you graduate and dive into the increasingly competitive job market? Will the work you devoted so much time to during college be an asset on your CV or will it be relegated to a few inconsequential sentences no employer is going to care about? One thing’s for certain: employers hold relevant, real-world experience in high esteem — it’s proof you can do more than just talk the talk. In fact, in some sectors your real-world experience, not your education, is the key to landing the position you want.
Unfortunately, getting that real-world experience through paid work in the field you’re studying — while you’re studying — isn’t so easy. Your peers are all vying for those coveted positions, which gives businesses the upper hand and they take full advantage of it — even if you do come out on top of the pile in this situation, the best you’re likely to get offered is an unpaid (or poorly paid) internship.
But what if, as a student, you could find well-paid work that builds skills transferable to any job in any field? What if the job that gets you through college also gives you the ability to persuade any potential employer that you’re exactly the person they’re looking for? What if the work you do while studying could turn into an incredible career in and of itself?
There is one job that complements absolutely any college degree, and Suz Somersall’s story is the perfect example.
Somersall’s education is impressive, but to be fair, her qualifications are the sort people often believe to be useless because they’ll never get you a job (other than waiting tables). She has a dual degree in English and art history, topped off with a graduate year of design school. Somersall developed a fashion jewelry line in 2006, but her formal education hadn’t equipped her with the knowledge she needed to sell it. So, she worked three part-time retail jobs simultaneously to learn how to get people to buy her product.
The sales jobs did the trick.
“Working at the stores helped me understand how much money people were willing to spend,” she said in an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine. “I started to learn the psychology of people who buy my product.”
Today, Suz Somersall has a thriving business. Her jewelry can be found in outlets across the U.S., along with several international stores, and has caught the attention of countless celebrities and influencers, including the likes of Jessica Alba and Demi Lovato.
Sales jobs aren’t just for business-minded entrepreneurs like Somersall, though. They can be of great benefit to any college student because selling is essentially persuading, and persuading is something everyone has to do all the time. The ability to persuade and influence people (which isn’t synonymous with manipulating them) is important in both our professional and personal lives. Robert Herjavec, from the hit business reality show Shark Tank, eloquently summed up the ubiquitous nature of sales in an interview with Forbes:
“Sales is everywhere. It’s all encompassing. From a mother trying to convince her son to eat his vegetables, to an intern trying to get hired full time, we are always selling. When I first started my career in computer sales I had to convince the company to hire me. And I even ended up working for free for six months.”
And if you think it takes a certain personality type to be good at sales, which counts you out, think again. Herjavec goes on to say that the ability to sell isn’t innate, and anyone can learn to do it (he proved this by turning non-sales people into great sellers on an ABC 20/20 segment).
Along with the gift of artful persuasion, working in sales will teach you a range of highly desirable interpersonal skills that you’ll carry for the rest of your life, such as effective negotiation, how to be more personable, and relationship-building. It’ll broaden your professional network and even help you win friends, according to ZACK Group Consultant, James Kennedy.
A bonus for college students is the fact that sales positions offer attractive financial rewards, which are potentially limitless. If you can earn more in less time, then you can spend more time studying, which means better grades. With a sales job, you might even have spare time to enjoy yourself and make your college years truly memorable!
Then there are the other abilities you’ll learn through selling: critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability. All of these qualities are directly transferable to any career path you choose, but perhaps one of the most important things a sales job can give you is self-confidence and the knowledge that you are your own greatest asset.
If this article has piqued your interest in finding a sales job while you study, and an exceptional work environment is important to you, Clearlink is looking for sales associates in Scottsdale, AZ, Salt Lake City, Utah and Orem, Utah — worth checking out.