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Professional Sales Club gives students opportunities to learn networking skills

The Professional Sales Club held a panel event at the Ann Lydecker Living Learning Center on Tuesday night. The panel had representatives from four different companies that were available for networking opportunities. Bennett Ryynanen/Student Voice

February 28, 2018

The college experience is not something that has an absolute definition. Attending class, living on campus, celebrating homecoming, long days and late nights and the Ramen noodle diet generally come to mind when describing what it is like to be a college student.

Part of what makes being a college student enjoyable is the newfound freedom and flexibility. There is a variety of diverse opportunities and activities that students can get involved with. Unfortunately, many students either choose not to get involved or simply do not know about the options available to them.

The Professional Sales Club at UW-River Falls offers students an opportunity to enhance their college experience. Reid Wilson, president of the Professional Sales Club, said that the club’s main focus is on networking.

“We want club members to be comfortable around professionals and to make connections,” Wilson said.

One of the ways that the Professional Sales Club has attempted to acclimate students to the professional world is through a panel event with the College of Business and Economics, or CBE, which took place on Tuesday at the Ann Lydecker Living Learning Center. At the event, a panel of sales professionals from Uline, Fastenal, Penske and Cargill answered students’ questions.

Students were able get expert advice about what life is like working in sales, what employers are looking for in interviews, how the hiring process works and even internship opportunities. Matthew Block, 22, originally just attended to be with his friend. However, after the event was over, Block was surprised to find that he had learned valuable information.

“It wasn’t just sales orientated – it helped students get career ready,” Block said.

The CBE panel’s successful debut at UWRF marks what the Professional Sales Club  hopes will become a long-standing tradition on campus. Adam Dickinson, head of Advertising and Promotions for the Professional Sales Club, envisions the CBE panel becoming at least a yearly event, if not occurring every semester.

Dickinson said he believes that this event provides students with more one-on-one time with high level professionals than they may find at other networking events such as the Career Fair.

“The Career Fair can be very daunting. This event is more personal,” Dickinson said.

In addition to arranging more of these events in the future, the Professional Sales Club has a tour planned at a 3M facility. On this tour, club members will be introduced to sales reps and they will further learn how to communicate among professionals.

Membership in the club is not limited to business and sales majors. Corey Hawe, vice president of the Professional Sales Club, said that the club is open to anyone and that they are looking for underclassmen who are willing to stay for the duration of their college career.

Preparing for a career after college can be very stressful for students. Classroom regimens are designed to teach students the skills related to their specific major, but there are some skills that cannot be taught in the classroom.

Networking and learning how to interact with professionals are skills that are best learned through personal experiences. The Professional Sales Club offers students with the chance to interact with professionals, learn how to get jobs and internships and learn how to “sell yourself.”

While the club’s main goal is helping students network, it also strives towards creating a fun environment for its members through planned events.

“We are trying to show that clubs can be fun and productive,” Wilson said.

The Professional Sales Club is trying to break the mold of what is expected of academically based clubs by highlighting important skills that are not always taught in the classroom. For more information on the Professional Sales Club, email Wilson @reid.wilson@my.uwrf.edu.


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