Individual Career Stories
Detailed info from people on the job
There are numerous career opportunities in the business world today. In the most basic sense, businesses provide products or services to consumers, creating a countless variety of jobs in order to create, market, sell, and manage those products and services. Individuals can consider a business career in both the private and public sectors in areas such as accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, real estate, and sales, to name a few. Depending on an individual’s interests, careers can be found for people of all levels and skills within a business organization, from entry-level to management, helping to make that business a success.
Each career in business has its own recommended type and level of education needed. For entry-level positions, candidates may need only to be graduates of an associate degree or certificate program, while many professional positions require a baccalaureate degree. Individuals seeking greater career opportunities may need a more advanced education, such as a master’s in business administration or in a related field such as mathematics or finance. In addition, many careers require a professional licenses and registrations. Individuals may find that it is important to stay current on their education via courses, seminars, and other continuing education opportunities.
Due to the vast nature of the business world, there are no specific set of required skills an individual must have as each career possesses its own unique requirements. For example, although many individuals choosing a career in business have an aptitude for mathematics and finance, if one has good interpersonal skills, a career in human resources might be considered. However, no matter which area an individual chooses, being successful in business generally means having a broad range of up-to-date skills in that chosen field. Successful business professionals tend to stay on top of current events and trends to keep up with the constantly changing business world.
There is a wide range of business job choices that an individual can pursue such as executive secretary or administrative assistant, management analysts, compliance officers, retail jobs, customer service representatives, and office clerks, to name a few. Those interested in a business career should first determine which field to pursue based on skills and interests. The following are just a few examples of business career choices:
- Customer service representatives work in all types of companies as the first contact point for customers who have any product or service questions, or handling customer complaints. Excellent communication skills are necessary for customer service representatives, who are responsible for maintaining customer relationships with accuracy and professionalism. Many customer service representatives work in call centers, a front desk office, or service desk.
- Human resources specialists help their organization with staffing and operating. Specialists may assist with employment and placement, including recruiting job applicants, interviewing candidates, checking references, and extending job offers. They generally must be thoroughly familiar with the organization’s human resources policies in order to assist current and prospective employees.
- Office managers can be found in all areas of public and private businesses, and have a wide range of responsibilities to ensure that the office is running efficiently. Some duties of an office manager include supervising the office staff, delegating responsibilities, handling customer complaints, managing the performance of the employees, maintaining office records, and working with senior management of the business.
- Sales representatives play an important role in their company by interesting buyers in their company’s products or services. Representatives can specialize in many areas, from goods such as food and apparel, to services such as computer repair and lawn maintenance. Sales representatives must be able to demonstrate their products and services in order to able to interest them in completing a purchase. The sales process can be extensive, taking time to travel and visit with prospective buyers and current clients.
What People Love and Hate about Business Careers
Here is a selection from Inside Career Info's Career Reports of what people love and hate about their business jobs:
- "getting the opportunity to help people find meaningful work. It is so nice to welcome new employees into the company with a big hug and share in their excitement at landing a job."
- "helping people reach a goal and helping to solve problems… also enjoy educating clients on how certain products as well as the stock market can help them meet their goals."
- "the research because it's likes solving a puzzle or unraveling a mystery. Since we are always working on something new, I am always learning something new whether about a product or about the person we are targeting."
- "working hard on a project and finishing it and having it accepted as good work by the company president and some of our big clients -- recognition of a job well done."
- "get to work with a lot of very smart people who are very good at their jobs...it's rarely boring and I'm constantly learning new things about areas outside of product management."
- "customers who not only are upset, but also tend to take it out on me. Sometimes they can be extremely rude."
- "when the stock market is not cooperating and clients' accounts are losing value. It is hard to see people lose money… I don't like to work in an environment that can be controlled by outside factors, such as the economy."
- "the deadlines…there are many, and in order to keep clients happy we have to make sure we never miss them. It can be stressful to manage other people's expectations."
- "worst part of sales can also be the best part, and that's working on a salary and commission basis. The economy has as much of an impact on your pay as how aggressive and persistent you are."
- "the stress of having a quota always over your head and being held responsible for making the quota."