Julie Poirier

Julie Poirier
Grad Year: 
Communication, Culture and Information Technology
Sales Specialist
Sales & Service
McGraw-Hill Ryerson

Julie Poirier currently works as a Sales Specialist with McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

“I sell textbooks to Ontario Universities and Colleges. What this involves is building a strategic business plan and meeting with school instructors and professors in hopes of increasing market share for our titles. This also involves tracking orders and meeting revenue goals, meeting budget and signing authors for future projects,” says Julie.

“This is the first job that I have had since graduating in June 2007. I have been with them since September 2007. I have found that to be successful in this job it is important to have a high level of drive. You must also be very organized and have superior time-management skills. Above all, you must be able to deal with all kinds of people and situations and have strong relationship-building skills.”

Upon graduating, Julie made sure to post her resume on Workopolis.com and Monster.ca.

“I was contacted by some fantastic companies through this method and think that it is a great way to get started. Furthermore you have an opportunity to read descriptions of various jobs which can really help you decide what might interest you. Next, I planned information interviews. I set up meetings with people that I had met through networking or during my work experience and asked them all about their roles and their career paths. This lead to more networking and gaining support from people who would really be champions for me in my job search. Lastly, I completed Rotman's Bridge to Business program in June. This was a program designed for students coming out of their undergrad who wanted some business knowledge before entering the workforce. Also, however, this program matched students with employers from all types of industries. This was where McGraw-Hill found me,” says Julie.

“The most successful way that I was able to market my degree and experiences to potential employers was to match my skills and knowledge to exactly what they were looking for as outlined in the job description. This can be done through cover letters but also through interviewing. The way I saw it was that if my experiences, skills or interests didn't align with the job, not only would they not want me, but I would not want to work there either. I think I was hired for a number of reasons. The first would have to be my work experience. The second would be my interviewing skills. Without either of these two things I believe I would have not experience the success that I have.”

Many experiences assisted Julie in making her career choices.

“Thankfully I had a lot of wonderful opportunities that presented themselves to me. After my second year I was hired by a pharmaceutical company in their marketing department. There, I worked on sales tools and learned all about the industry and role. I was also hired there the following summer for a similar position. During my third year I was hired as a part-time communications assistant with an organization that is funded by the ministry of health. This was a wonderful and challenging experience as it was able to show me what it would be like working in the public sector. In my 4th year I enrolled in the CCIT internship program. For my placement I went back to the pharmaceutical company that had employed me the summer previous and sought out a position in corporate communications so that I could try something new. The experience that I gained during my undergrad was integral in my success after graduation,” says Julie.

“I have no regrets about anything that I have done that has gotten me where I am. I am thankful for all of the opportunities that presented themselves for me and think that I have the right perspective to know that both my experiences and schooling provide a lot of value to an employer. If I had to name one thing that I would have like to have considered before applying for jobs it would have to be the idea of graduate school. While I am not sure as to whether or not things would have worked out differently for me should I have seriously considered my masters, it is something that I sometimes question.”

Julie says the keys to her success have been her education, her personal network and her work experience.

“I think that my work experience might have been the most important as it helped me to build my resume and industry knowledge, but most importantly gave me insight into the working world before I was actually a full-time part of it. It allowed me to reflect on jobs and professions so that once I had completed school I had some sort of reference for where I'd like to be,” she says.

“My advice for students who want to pursue a similar career path is to do a lot of self-reflection. It is important to determine what you are good at and what motivates you — otherwise you might end up stuck somewhere you don't fit. Also, get networking. Start with information interviews — don't be scared as all of the people you will talk to have been in your shoes and most are willing to provide their insight. Find out about the details of certain jobs as these can often be the make or break for a good fit. Make sure you diversify these interviews as it is important to get different perspectives on the working world. These interviews can often lead to summer jobs an internships — jump on these opportunities. Lastly, know that you have value. During your undergrad you can often feel like you're never a 100% student. In the working world this does not matter and as long as you're motivated, a critical thinker and have an optimism for learning new things, you are more than a 100% employee.”