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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

Take It From This New Grad: It’s OK to Be Unsure About Your Career Path

Chloe Griffith, a sales support specialist at Philips
Chloe Griffith, a sales support specialist at Philips.
| Courtesy of Philips

When Chloe Griffith graduated from college with a major in health and community wellness, she was confident she wanted a career in healthcare. But her first job, as a physical therapy aide, was not a good fit. “I realized I didn’t enjoy the field as much as I thought I would,” she says.

A sales role at an insurance company soon followed, but that wasn’t quite right either because it didn’t satisfy her passion for healthcare. “I dreamed of working for a healthcare sales company,” says Griffith. “Since Philips was a top contender in my career search, I applied to all of the positions there that I felt qualified for to increase my chances of getting an interview.”

The perseverance paid off, and today she’s a sales support specialist/campaign manager. “When I found out that I had gotten the role as a sales support specialist/campaign manager in Nashville, I was ecstatic,” she says. “I got to work for a fantastic company and move to Nashville? It felt unreal.”

Here, Griffith shares her top interview tips for other new grads, how Philips sets new hires up for success, and why she wakes up at 5:30 every morning.

How did you know the sales would be a good fit?

I was a good fit for this position because I had prior sales experience, and was eager to learn as much as I could to help the team out. In addition, I have always been a social butterfly. Talking and connecting with people is what makes me feel fulfilled at the end of the day.

As a new grad and recent hire, what was the interview process like? What tips do you have for others to stand out when applying for similar roles?

To be honest, I was very nervous, but the interviews helped me get out of my comfort zone. I would advise others to dig deep and find out what stands out about you. Ask yourself questions like: What qualities do I have that can help impact the company in a positive way? How can I make a difference? Also, make it about how you can help them, not about how they can help you. In addition, try to make as many connections as you can. Networking goes such a long way!

What was the onboarding process like and how has it set you up for success?

The onboarding process was awesome. To start, I was paired with a coworker (who is now our team lead) as a buddy. She walked me through everything that I needed to know and was and still is always there for me when I have questions. I was able to meet fellow Philips employees from almost all M20 to learn about their roles. This has set me up for success by helping me build relationships across departments. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and they made me feel confident and comfortable. They also never made me nervous to ask a question, and I know I can reach out to anyone if I need to.

What are you responsible for as a sales support specialist?

I make outbound sales calls to customers to market Philips’ capital equipment such as diagnostic imaging equipment, ultrasounds, and patient monitors. I also receive inbound calls and emails from customers wanting to purchase equipment and connect them with their account manager. Additionally, I launch product campaigns, and help account managers market Philips’ equipment to hospitals.

In what ways does Philips support new hires with regards to growth opportunities within the company?

Philips provides so many excellent tools for growth. There are clubs, seminars, education opportunities, and so many resources on how to grow. They encourage mentorship, which I have found to be very helpful. I joined a club called FLARE (Future Leaders and Rising Employees), which is all about how to network and expand your knowledge within the company. They really motivate you to do what is best for you and encourage you to never be afraid to take on a new position. I am so grateful to be a part of such a supportive company.

My manager is amazing. She truly wants what is best for her employees. She is always checking in on how we feel and providing resources so we can get to wherever we want to go within the company. It makes me feel important that she schedules time for weekly one-on-one meetings and gives me a space to talk about how I am doing.

What’s your favorite part about the company culture so far?

The company culture at Philips is wonderful. It is inclusive, uplifting, and diverse. I feel that they  accept and respect everyone. It almost feels like a family because I can be myself without fear of judgment.

Another great part about our culture is the focus on team effort. Each employee contributes something toward our goals without worrying about competitiveness or comparison. My teammates are always uplifting me. Just when I feel overwhelmed from work, they will ping me and say, “You’re killing it today!” and that always makes my day. It’s the little things that keep me going, and being surrounded by such incredible people makes me feel inspired to do the work that I do. I really appreciate how kind everyone is as it makes it so easy to reach out and feel included.

How did your experience in the service industry prepare you for a career in sales? What lessons did you learn that you apply in your current role?

Working in the service industry broke me out of my comfort zone in many ways. First, and most importantly, it taught me people skills that go a long way, especially in sales. I learned how to be reliable, and to always put my customer first and listen to their needs. That has helped me so much in sales because people want to be heard and feel like a priority. I also learned how to be consistent. Even if you’re having a bad day and don’t feel 100%, you still show up.

What has been the biggest challenge transitioning from being a student to your first full-time sales role?

My biggest challenge has been time management. I used to have lots of free time during the day and now it can be hard to find the perfect work-life balance. It has forced me to organize my time. For example, I wake up at 5:30 to work out. If you had told me a year ago I’d be getting up that early, I never would have believed you.

What career advice do you have for other recent grads in the job market right now?

I would tell recent grads to find out what inspires you, what career path you want, and get out there and start gaining experience. Finding internships or shadowing positions is a great start, so that you can get an idea of the position before fully committing. It is OK if you change your mind on which career path you want to take. Remember that you don’t need to be in a rush! Lastly, I would highly advise networking as much as you can. Using my network helped a ton during my search.