Alumni - Jessica Gilfillan, BA Publishing

Working in Sales

If I’m honest, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I completed the Brookes publishing BA. With a lack of knowledge about which area of publishing would suit me best but a great enthusiasm to get my foot in the door, I started applying for a wide array of positions. After around 20 interviews I managed to land a job as a Sales Administrator at Macmillan due to some experience I had previously gained in customer service.

It was a good starting job but I eventually moved on and have now been with Oxford University Press for nearly 18 months. Although I am still a Sales Administrator (working with our professional law and medical lists) I have now been able to take on my own customer accounts, attend a few sales conferences and this year I am looking forward to meeting up with one of my own customers at the London Book Fair.

I knew little about publishing sales to begin with but quickly learnt that if you are confident dealing with lots of different people, chances are you will probably be good at it! Sales allows you to interact with all sorts of customers (often from all around the world) and it’s a real buzz when you manage to help them with a query or solve a problem with a tricky order delivery. As a Sales Administrator there is never a dull day as I am usually juggling a variety of things at once – from helping to close an important sales deal to organising printing, shipping and team social events!  I genuinely love my job and seem to thrive in a sales environment even though I basically fell into it by chance. If you’re an organised person and good with people I would definitely recommend giving sales some consideration.

It is important to say please do not be discouraged if you find yourself applying for tons of positions, attending interviews and seemingly getting nowhere. Try to remember that all interviews should be seen as good experience even if they do not ultimately lead to getting the job. At one point I thought I may never find a job and kept missing out at the last hurdle to candidates with more experience.  Keep positive - the right job will come along and it should be worth waiting for.

Posted on 18 Feb 2011 around 11am