Advice to College Students: Turn Academic Years Into Career-Building Years

WILMINGTON, DE--(Sep 13, 2011) - According to a May 18, 2011 article in The New York Times, employment rates over the past two years for new college graduates have plummeted, as have starting salaries. This bleak job outlook is forcing new college graduates to accept low wage jobs such as those in restaurants and gas stations just to pay the bills, including often staggering student loan debt. Many students are left wondering if their college degree is worth the money they spent to earn it.

Sarah Baker Andrus, director of external relations & academic programs for Vector Marketing, the sales division of Cutco Cutlery, the largest manufacturer and single-level direct seller of high-end kitchen cutlery in North America, offers her advice on the subject. Andrus says that now is the time for returning college students to begin thinking differently about their academic careers. "Our experience at Vector Marketing clearly shows that hiring managers who see real-world sales experience on an applicant's resume give that resume much more serious consideration." She notes that this is especially true in times of economic downturn, when hiring managers are under increasing pressure to recruit people who are most able to show immediate productivity.

According to the University Sales Education Foundation (USEF), 48 universities offer coursework in sales. Many of these programs provide hands-on sales training and these students frequently show faster ramp-up time and increased productivity when hired following graduation.

Students who participate in college sales courses offering real-world experience can expect to learn important skills that can be transferred to any job environment, including:

  • Generating leads and subsequent referrals
  • Building immediate rapport with customers
  • Setting/achieving goals
  • Understanding consumer behavior
  • Time management
  • Demonstrating product advantages
  • Overcoming objections
  • Assisting customers with service requests
  • Building self-confidence
  • Team building
  • Communications skills

Vector Marketing understands how important it is, especially in this economy, that students turn their academic years into career-building years as well," says Andrus. "For that reason, we partner with universities to create meaningful coursework that prepares students for the workforce. Several universities, including Purdue and the University of Calgary, offer sales courses that provide their students with the ability to sell Cutco to real customers as part of the course. This experience enables graduates to prepare a resume offering potential employers real job skills right out of school, allowing them to stand out from the 'new graduate pack.'"

Andrus notes that the experience gained from such sales courses applies regardless of the field the student wishes to enter into upon graduation. "The important factor," she says, "is that this real-world experience can serve to get students a foot in the door to their first job, and that can mean the difference between employment and unemployment."

About Cutco Cutlery and Vector Marketing

Cutco Cutlery is a 62-year-old company with headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Olean, New York. Vector Marketing is the company's sales division, coordinating all sales for Cutco Cutlery through a national network of college students who sell products through in-home personal demonstrations. More than 13 million US households have a Cutco product. For more information on CUTCO, please visit