At AIFP, we take great pride in being a company that both hires recent college grads and provides early career training to help them hit the ground running. In addition to attending college career fairs at local universities like University of Oregon and Portland State University, we’re also a business sponsor for the Oregon State University Sales Academy, which gives us an amazing opportunity to give valuable career advice to college students who are about to graduate.
The OSU Sales Academy is a free campus group that allows OSU students from any major to develop the skills they need to become the next generation of sales leaders. Throughout the year, sales academy students receive hands on training, attend professional development events, engage in experiential coursework, and compete in national and regional sales competitions.
Here’s a look into all the great topics our traders shared with these ambitious students.
As students approach graduation, it can be difficult to keep the pressure and anxiety of having to land “the perfect job”. This is unknown territory to most students, but while attending the AIFP career readiness workshop, the students that participated were able to connect with some of our traders who have recently gone through the transition. By opening up the conversation, our traders were able to give some great advice and job interview tips to help build confidence in an area that often feels overwhelming and unnatural.
While it is important to express interest and excitement while interviewing, it’s also important to remember that employers want to see your true self. Often, employers can tell if one is being a bit too agreeable or searching for the answer that the interviewer wants to hear. Be honest with how you feel, because as much as you are being interviewed, you are also interviewing the company as well. Ask your questions and make sure that this is a job that fits you. By being yourself, it allows for a more natural conversation and a more honest interaction that can help make your decision and the employer’s decision easier to make with confidence.
Entry-level positions are just that, entry-level. It is natural to feel as though you are underqualified when reading through job descriptions but remember that most are just preferences. Focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t. Life gives you plenty of skills that transfer well in a career, so be confident in yourself and the skills you have. Whether that be the organizational skills you have gained through school assignments, the commutation skills you have learned through group projects, or the sense of teamwork and leadership skills from playing sports. You have a lot to offer and if you are motivated, enthusiastic, and have a willingness to learn and work hard, employers see that and will be willing to take a chance on you. So be confident in yourself and don’t be afraid to apply!
While the transition from student to full-time employee can be difficult to navigate at times, our traders shared what it was like making that transition and what that transition looked like at AIFP. Many of our traders admitted that the transition from college to career was very overwhelming, but they all found comfort in navigating that transition here at AIFP. One of the things they shared with the students was to always remember that it is okay not to know everything, because you are coming into a new environment, and no one is expecting you to know everything. The soft skills you have developed in life can be incredibly beneficial when moving into a career, so don’t forget to utilize them! At AIFP, we offer all our new hires a trader training program that takes you through understanding the industry, tools, and systems to be familiar with, how to build your business and all the moving parts that make your trade successful. Many of our traders stated that this program helped instill that confidence that may not always be there in the beginning. The support and training made the transition a lot easier for our most recent college alumni traders.
While many sales jobs are more typical 9-5 careers with looming managers, sales quotas, and salary caps, trading at AIFP is much more independent. In fact, traders in the paid trader training program are given the support they need to learn how to build their own business from the ground up. This means that traders often have to put in extra time in the beginning for more growth and freedom in the future.
At AIFP, you aren’t just selling a product all day, you’re creating and running your own business. And unlike many entry-level sales jobs, we don’t expect you to learn the ins and outs of the industry on your own. In fact, we offer 12 months of training, support, and mentorship that will help you succeed.
A career in commodity trading isn’t going to be easy. It’s a challenging and competitive career, but it comes with incredible opportunities for growth and high earnings. More than anything, trading is a relationship-based career. Everybody out there has the same products you do and it’s your job to show your customers why they should buy from you. It takes time to build up that relationship and trust with a customer and sometimes that means hearing “no” a hundred times before you hear a yes, but it is important to remember not to get discouraged, but to use it as an opportunity to learn how to turn that no into a yes.
Because you have so much independence to build your own business, the job requires a great deal of self-motivation and perseverance. If you have the drive and the willingness to put in the hard work to build your success, your business will thrive. The more you put in the more you put out and though it may not always be quick turnarounds, the rewards can truly pay off in the long run.
After lunch we welcomed the students to tour the trading floor and get to know all our traders. Not only were the students able to ask any questions they might have, but they were also able to experience a sneak peek into what being a trader at AIFP is like. Each of the students got to sit down with the traders and experience the intricacies of trading and get a feeling of the company culture on a more personal level. We were so excited to include this aspect of the workshop, after years of social distancing protocols prevented this in the past.
Not only were we able to host a career readiness and AIFP trader insight workshop, but we were also able to dedicate some time to help the students of the OSU Sales Academy prep for their upcoming sales competition! Our President, John Vranizan, along with our Business Development Manager, Rob Turk sat down with each team of students to act as judges for their competition. We were glad we could provide these students with thoughtful feedback as well as an opportunity to practice in front of successful business professionals. We were later notified that the students ranked in the top three within their competition! Congratulations!
Thanks to all of the Oregon State University Sales Academy students who spent the day with us. It was truly an honor to have them in our office. If you’re considering a sales career, be sure to check out our blog, where we offer helpful resources including: job search tips for recent grads, how to make the most of your apprenticeship program, how to thrive in a commission-based job, and why you should apply to the AIFP Trader Training Program. Apply today!
Up for the challenge? We'll give you the tools to excel. AIFP is continually growing. We recruit new traders year-round.
There is no substitute for hard work. If you really want to make and run a business here, you have all the tools available to you here.Billy Culver Trader, European Products Department Head
I really enjoy the freedom to create your own customer base and build a business trading the products you want to trade. While being the hardest thing I have ever done, being a trader has also been the most rewarding!Alex Schilling Trader