Name: Sam Demaree
College: Texas Christian University, May 2014 graduate
Company: Nextep – Professional Employer Organization
Job Title: Business Consultant
Place of residence: Fort Worth, Texas
Hobbies and interests: Business, Psychology, Wakeboarding
Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?
A: Before entering my freshman year, I met with Brad Hancock, the head of the Entrepreneurial Management Department. Under his leadership, the program was ranked #6 in the country and was continually getting better. My father and grandfather are both business owners and starting a business is something I have wanted to do since I was a kid. I knew it would be a perfect fit.
Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?
A: It was an extensive process for sure, but Lori MacNeill, founder of Career Onward, helped me every step of the way. We completely remodeled my resume and LinkedIn profile. She also educated me on the importance of LinkedIn and how to use the site, which is ultimately how I found my dream job. After my profile and resume were in great shape, I began applying to outside sales jobs in Fort Worth only since I wanted to live in this area. I knew I wanted to sell a product I was passionate about to executives in a wide range of industries. I also wanted to sell a product or service that I could apply to my own business five or ten years down the road. Without Lori’s weekly advice and her patience with my ever-changing vision of my future, there is no way I would be where I am today.
At Nextep, I sell PEO services to every industry imaginable in the Fort Worth area. I have presented the service to many executives and have established business relationships with people in over 200 companies. The knowledge I have gained plus my daily learning about human resources will be very applicable to owning a business of my own one day.
Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?
A: The most stressful times were around graduation when I had not found a job. My roommates and many friends all knew what they were doing after college and how much money they would be making, but I was still searching for my dream job. I went back to Arizona for a month to be with my family while I continued my search. In July, I drove back to Texas, but there were still limited outside sales jobs for college grads with companies I wanted to do work for in Fort Worth and I didn’t want to settle for inside sales. I was encouraged to stay positive and not settle. For college students searching for the dream job, I would recommend writing out exactly what you are looking for in a job and then re-writing what this looks like every day. I do this with every goal I have and it pays off tenfold. The key is having an action plan with specific steps so you know how to execute to get what you want.
Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?
A: I am extremely lucky because the majority of my friends stayed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, I would say the biggest adjustment is the consistent work. In college you can get away with missing a class every now and then, but in the real world you will be working more than 40 hours a week if you want to be successful. In fact, the number of hours over 40 that you work each week is the degree to which you will be successful, especially in the beginning.
Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?
A: Find a company that not only provides a service or product that you are passionate about, but that also has great management and culture. While in college, I wrote a description of my ideal workplace and ideal manager, and with Lori’s help both of these became a reality. My manager, Breanna Honeycutt, invests ample time and energy into not only educating me on how to become the best salesman I can be, but also on how to progress in the business world. If you can find a mentor who highly values your future like she does, work will not feel like work and you will stay motivated during those long days.
Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?
A: Brian Tracy is a genius in the area of goal setting and I follow his method regularly. Here is a link to a PDF that shows exactly how to set goals that has changed my life.
Currently, my main goal is to become the first rookie to be the number one sales producer at Nextep. I am also in the process of finding a lake house with two close friends, along with a Wakeboard boat. Life on the lake has been my dream since high school, and less than a year out of college, I will be living it.
Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?
A: For students who are dealing with so many unknowns, I would say have faith and try to enjoy the process. Implement the habit of writing goals down every morning and take the time to figure out what your dream job looks like/feels like. Then, trust Lori’s process and have fun with it.
Also, be appreciative to all those who got you where you are today. College isn’t cheap and if my parents didn’t pave my academic road, I would not be living the dream life that I am today. I recommend sending a message of appreciation every now and then to those people who helped make your life possible.
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