Job Title: Client Services Director
Type of Company: My company provides marketing analytics to chief marketing officers, buyers, and campaign managers to help them make better decisions on what to buy and where to spend their marketing dollars.
Education: BA, English, James Madison University JD, George Mason School of Law
Previous Experience: After leaving the law, I worked in competitive intelligence consulting, which led to sales and channel consulting, which in turn led to marketing consulting, which led to my current position in outsource marketing operational analytics.
Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is to foster a good, profitable relationship with one or two very big clients. The way this works isn't hard to describe but it can vary from client to client. Here's a sketch of how it goes: I take the new requirements for a report or data download that a client's requested and I walk them through our recommendations on the best way to get it. Then I scope out the man-hours and the resource requirements, figure out what it will cost us to generate, ask for more money to pay for it, and then insure that the job gets accomplished -- on time, on budget and at high quality. Often I will do the work myself, as I have learned to program and organize databases.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is that I work for a small, start-up company, so I can see the fruits of my work and have a real impact on the strategy and priorities of the company.
The worst part of the job is that I work for a small, start-up company, so there is substantial risk of going under, or of hitting lean times, and I worry about being able to provide for my family.
1.) Regardless of what they tell you in the career center, matching skills to requirements is not a potent recipe for building a career. Finding a good place to work is more like finding a spouse than it is like ordering dinner at a restaurant. For you to enjoy working somewhere, you've got to share certain values with management, have similar (or at least complementary) problem-solving strategies, and of course, work in a role that suits your passions and skills.
2.) Learn how to cross-pollinate your skills and education. I have never had a single business or database class, yet these are the fields in which I currently make my living. In every interview, I have needed to demonstrate how my experiences are useful for the new task, if not directly applicable, and then learned pretty much everything as I went in on-the-job training. By the way, it is easier if you figure out what you want to do first and then focus on that. My own life would have been far easier, but broadening your horizons ain't a total loss either.
3.) Search your soul, and determine whether you are a small-business person or a big-business person. A big-business person is at peace with being a cog in a large and complex system, where you work very hard at something, sometimes, and it doesn't get used, or you never get to register its impact. (Sometimes you do, but many times you don't.) This is not personal. It is simply the nature of working in a large organization. If this idea is not appealing, then a small business environment is what you need.
Additional Thoughts: You cannot succeed without a proper work ethic! You must show up on time, respect your managers, respect the process of getting a job (e.g. wear a suit to the interview). Don't text during meetings. Avoid IMing during working hours. Honor deadlines. And communicate frankly with co-workers. When you're first starting out, the number one measure of your success is whether someone in senior management elects to mentor you. If this hasn't happened in two years, move on. Your twenties should be dedicated to finding the proper fit.
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