Case study

Sales executive — Liz Eastwood

Liz works in the packaging department at Boxtopia. Although her MA in creative writing isn't directly related, her time at university has provided useful skills

What's a day as a sales executive like?

I speak to customers on a daily basis to follow up on quotations for boxes, stretch wrap and other packaging items. I also handle orders and despatch documents, as well as carry out tasks such as invoicing, filing and credit control to ensure that invoices and statements are sent and orders are paid for in a timely manner.

Most activities require me to use a computer system called Sage. Spreadsheets need to be updated to record how enquiries are being received, which sector they're from and how many are being converted to orders.

What skills are needed?

I would say the following skills are important:

  • dealing with people of all levels and backgrounds;
  • IT ability;
  • keeping accurate notes;
  • organisation;
  • problem solving;
  • the ability to work under pressure;
  • time management.

How relevant is your degree?

Creative writing is not directly relevant to the job. However, skills that are required to complete a degree such as organisation, self-discipline, mixing and communicating with others, working to personal budgets and time management can be applied to any job.

Being a student helped me to grow as a person; I have become more mature and confident.

What do you enjoy about working in sales?

I really enjoy the customer contact and speaking to people of all backgrounds. I also like being able to work on my own initiative.

What are the challenges?

Trying to fit everything in. My time-management skills have improved greatly.

What advice can you give to others?

If you enjoy meeting and speaking with all sorts of people and thinking on your feet and you want a job that has a lot of variety, then the role of a sales executive is very rewarding.

Don’t worry if your degree is not completely relevant to the role that you take on, as the skills acquired at university will stand you in good stead for any role. You may even discover a job that you had never considered before.

Find out more