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Learn about opportunities at Oracle’s information session Thursday, January 16 (check CareerCat the day of the presentation for time & location).

What’s it like to work in sales at Oracle? Find out from two ‘13 Northwestern graduates: SRM Sales Representative Tarik Patterson (Menlo Park, CA office) and CX Sales Representative Sanjana Shankar (Burlington, MA office).

Describe your role with Oracle. How long have you worked with the company?
I’m an SRM (Social Relationship Management) specialist; I sell an application suite that helps customers manage the social media properties. I’ve been at it for about a month, but I’ve been working at Oracle for about four months.

Sanjana: Officially, I’m a Customer Experience Applications Sales Representative. I work in inside sales, managing and calling into national upper-market accounts. I sell various software for Customer Relationship Management and Sales and Marketing automation for large businesses.

I joined Oracle’s Sales Academy, Oracle’s 8 week sales training program, this summer in July, and graduated at the beginning of September where I moved to my permanent office placement in Boston/Burlington!

What is your work and education background?
I graduated from Northwestern in 2013 with a degree in History and a BIP minor.

Sanjana: I graduated NU with a Communications Major, BIP minor, and IMC certificate. During the summers, I’ve had some great internship experiences with companies like Yahoo! India, Ericsson, Inc, and Mullen Advertising.

What’s a typical workday like for you?
A typical work day involves a good deal of planning and time management. I’m responsible for a lot of accounts over a pretty large swath of the western United States, and that means I have to keep tabs on a lot of sales opportunities. I prefer to end my work day with the next day’s plans and picking up where I left off by the next day of work. A typical day of work involves making a lot of phone calls and communicating with team members so that you can make the best of every opportunity – there aren’t any easy breaks, and every moment counts when you’re on the spot.

Sanjana: I get to the office around 8:30 am and after checking my e-mails and calendar, I get started on making some sales. My schedule is of my making and is pretty flexible. I get an hour break for lunch which I usually spend in the snazzy cafeteria in our building or at restaurants close to my office.  After a good day’s work, I pack up to head home at 5:30pm.

What’s the best thing about working for Oracle?
Tarik: There are a lot of people who want to be a resource for you. If you’re bold about asking for help you’ll receive it. Working at this big of a company means that you’ve got a lot of people to lean on.

Sanjana: Oracle, as a global leader in software and hardware, is an established corporation with the benefits of its brand name and influence when talking to other businesses, and its years of experience. The on-boarding experience is smooth and efficient, essentially.

In addition, by graduating from the Oracle Sales Academy, I already have a group of colleagues from the summer, who come from similar backgrounds and are of similar age with whom to start my journey at Oracle.

What professional advice do you have for job-seeking graduating students? For students who are early in their college careers?
If you’re looking for a job, stay patient and stay positive. Your mindset has everything to do with your success so don’t get discouraged. Preparation will get you noticed, and your mindset will help you stand out.

If you’re in your early college career, I’ll give you the same advice that my older brother gave to me: spend your summers and your time doing things that you’re passionate about and will likely never have a chance to do again. Take advantage of these opportunities and don’t try to just check a box on your resume to-do list.

Sanjana: For those of you seeking jobs, take heart. It’s tough, but keep your chin up, you’ll make it! Take initiative, explore all your options, and most importantly be confident in yourself and don’t give up. For those still early in their college careers, internships and leadership experience in extra-curriculars will teach you so much about yourself and what you’re capable of.

What makes a candidate stand out to Oracle recruiters?
Tarik: Be a great storyteller, and be succinct. If you can articulate points with short, illustrative stories, you’ve mastered one of the more important skills you can learn – it’s great in interviews and it will continue to serve you in a sales role.

Sanjana: Three qualities I think Oracle recruiters appreciate are ambition, diligence, and charisma. This will not be a problem for Northwestern students.

What does your work space look like?

Sanjana: I have pretty spacious cube all to myself! Unfortunately I’m not so good with decorating.Sanjanacube

What gadget, office tool or program can’t you live without?
Tarik: Telephone
Sanjana: Microsoft Outlook. I’m constantly scheduling follow up calls, and various meetings with colleagues and one on one time with my manager. In addition, most of the tools we use integrate with the program, which helps me keep organized and on task. And, of course, my phone. Both desktop and personal.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Tarik: People are the greatest resource you can have in the workplace. Be a someone who is a pleasure to work with!

Sanjana: Be confident in yourself. Don’t shy away from new opportunities.