Earlier this week we had the opportunity to interview a current employee of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Tim Brewer is the BizVoice® Advertising Sales Director for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He has been with the organization since 2000, and first started in the Membership department as a representative. Then he worked his way up to become the Vice President of Membership. We asked him a series of questions about his career experience and what is important in the early stages of professional development.
Indiana INTERNnet: What did you look for when applying for full-time jobs?
Tim Brewer: There are many things to look for when applying for full-time jobs. But you must ask yourself, “what is most important to me?” When applying for jobs it all depends on the individual. What I was looking for was flexibility, stability, balance, and it being enjoyable. You must enjoy what you are doing, or else you won’t last long. You don’t want to have a job that you complain about while going to work! You have to enjoy the job to where you can work a 40-hour week or more. But you also must be flexible and find something you are interested in doing. I looked for an organization that I wanted to work for long-term.
IIN: What other things do hiring managers look for in candidates?
TB: Employers and hiring managers really look at your track record with previous jobs once you start for applying for other mid-level/experienced roles. So early on you must choose a company you plan on working at years to come. Most companies won’t hire you if your track record with other companies is short. Meaning that you are switching companies every two years, taking time off and so on.
IIN: When you were the VP, you hired sales reps for the membership department. What skills or attributes did you look for in applicants?
TB: I looked for someone who was self-driven with great oral skills, confident, competitive, and had the ability to carry themselves. But what I really wanted was someone who could sell themselves! If they can’t sell me on why I should hire them, how are they going to sell the services we provide? Also being able to differentiate yourself from candidates in the hiring process will get you more exposure.
IIN: How did you progress to the position you are in now?
TB: My track record. I started in membership services and moved up the chain by performing well and looked for opportunities to grow. I’ve been in membership sales for about 10 years. I was first a territory manager and after a few years I became the Vice President of Membership services. Because of previous experience and performance, I was able to prove that I had what it took to become the Director Advertising Sales for BizVoice®. Your track record is important because it shows what you have done in your career and what you have accomplished.
IIN: What other advice would you give to young professionals?
TB: Add value! In the interview process tell them how you will add value to their organization by expressing your interest in the position. Also, show initiative by highlighting your skillset, and how you will contribute to the organization. You must show that you’re passionate about the company and the role. This will help you stand out among applicants.
IIN: What do you recommend when preparing for an internship?
TB: Practice your elevator speech and who you are. Research the company and see what they are doing in their industry and talk about it in the interview. But also, Google interview questions then record yourself answering them. After you have done that watch the video back and ask yourself, “would I hire me?” This will help you improve your interviewing skills.
IIN: Should people follow up with employers or recruiters?
TB: Yes! Always follow up with the person who interviewed you, whether it’s an email, phone call, or letter. This will show that you are interested, and highlight what you will bring to the company and the impact you will have. You must stay in their mind and give them a reason to call you back.
IIN: Do you think networking is important?
TB: Yes, it’s very important to network. I suggest attending as many events as possible and volunteering. Don’t hesitate to talk to people at events and introduce yourself. This will get you more exposure and expand your network! Always get their contact info and follow up with them. You have to work a crowd and be aggressive enough to interact with people. You might find your next employer at an event, you never know!