Climbing the ladder to success

The Spectrum

On Wednesday, Marc Adler, vice president of Client Services for local marketing company Flynn & Friends, Inc. and an adjunct instructor at the University at Buffalo, held a group discussion featuring a panel of alumni.
The panel spoke of their paths after graduation on the career track in marketing. Some obtained their start in an already established business, while others began their own.
Nick Bowe now manages a Target store in Buffalo and believes that it is essential to work for a company that offers opportunities for advancement through the organization's corporate ladder.
"You don't want to look for an organization that's flat [where] there's no upward mobility," Bowe said.
Bowe explains that his career at Target gives him a chance for frequent promotion, and provides him the opportunity to learn essential skills for success.
However, not all marketing careers offer the opportunity to advance through the organization, Bowe explains.
Seth Meyerowitz, founder of UBE-Inc., also advised those in attendance to find a career that offers potential growth, but to remain aware of the pitfalls that accompany corporate work.
"I found that my ideas were being pushed down. I had to report to the person above me when the president's office was right next to me," Meyerowitz said.
Meyerowitz is now the Chief Executive Officer of his own company, and finds joy in reporting only to himself.
Jen VanDeWater, a UB alumna, also has experience in the corporate world and advises future employees to maintain strong personal character.
"It's 25 percent what you do, and 75 percent showing up," VanDeWater said. "Even if you may not know all the details of how to do something, coming to the table with that confidence is so important…it's 75 percent of the battle."
Professionalism and self-assurance are contagious, and future employers value those qualities, VanDeWater explains.
"A leader is a leader, and [companies] can really see that," Bowe said.
Companies are gradually changing their focus from an applicant's grade point average to the candidate's leadership qualities.
However as a leader, admitting weaknesses can be just as valuable, Meyerowitz explains.
"If you know what you're doing, make it known [that you are capable]. If you don't know, don't pretend that you do … unless you can pull it off," Meyerowitz said.
Before applying for a job, the candidate needs to update their resume and make their online identity presentable.
"When I get a resume and am reviewing a candidate, I will probably spend about three seconds looking at that resume. If the key words that I'm looking for in the job position don't jump out in that person's resume, it gets passed over," VanDeWater said. "It's that fast."
Brittany Frey, another panel speaker, stressed the importance of keeping one's Facebook profile G-rated. She explains that even if a candidate has all of the qualifications for the position, their risqué profile may take them out of the running for the job.
"For God's sake, make your profile private, if anything," Frey said.
Facebook is a good tool for networking, but only if it is used in the correct manner, Frey explains. The candidate's evaluation doesn't end after an interview.
Businesses consistently check Facebook pages to see whether or not their future employee will be spending their weekday nights helping the company, or getting crazy at the Steer.
"Don't put [things] on Facebook that you don't want people to see. Even 10 years from now … it's going to be up there," Meyerowitz said.
Facebook is not the only option for networking. Every encounter and opportunity can be an addition to one's growing network.
"Get involved – you can get involved in so many things to build your network," Bowe said.
The panel speakers also emphasized the significance of communication skills, like writing and public speaking, as crucial to one's success on the journey to the perfect career.
Most notably, the speakers encouraged those seeking a career to use passion as their guide.
"If you find something that you enjoy enough, don't worry about how much you get paid," Meyerowitz said. "It's a great thing to find something that you want to do."