What was your experience with the new Career Services department in the School of Business?
My experience was outstanding! The new and improved Career Services Department is in a league of its own when it comes to helping students prepare for the future. Career Services truly helps students by providing career fairs, training and networking seminars, as well as providing DragonTrail, UAB’s career-management website.
I encourage everyone to use DragonTrail as this ultimately led to my employment with Valspar. Career Services set up the interview and had preapproved my resume for submission to Valspar. Again, it is highly important to get on DragonTrail and utilize the pre-approved resume tool; however, all of these aspects from Career Services are simply wonderful. As UAB students, we should all feel very fortunate to have a benefit like this one. Simply and truly, an outstanding program, with outstanding leaders, in an outstanding school.
Tell us about your new job with Valspar
My official title is Territory Manager of Birmingham. I represent the Valspar name brand and products in several Lowe’s stores around the surrounding area. I also work directly in commercial sales with contacts from all around middle Alabama. The job entails everything from maintaining chip racks and merchandise resets to establishing long-lasting relationships with contractors and Lowe’s personnel.
From your resume, I see that you worked in retail for periods of time while you were earning your degree. How significant was that work experience in what you took away from UAB’s degree program, as well as helping to secure your current job?
Work experience is a key in today’s business world. Organizations currently have the power to be more selective in whom they hire. This is due to a high unemployment rate and an ever-expanding college educated workforce that competes with professionals already in the field. Throughout the program, UAB’s School of Business faculty and staff speak about the importance of establishing relationships and getting involved. The best way to do this is through work experience, whether that is paid positions, internships, or job shadowing. While in college, I worked full-time for two years in the retail industry. This experience definitely helped to reinforce what I was learning in the classroom and was a key element in Valspar’s decision to hire me.
What business class do you feel will be most beneficial in your career?
All of the lower-level core classes and the upper-level core classes have a purpose. As a student, it may not have seemed that way when studying all night in the BEC for finals or spending countless hours in the computer lab finishing reports. However, there are certain things that I will use from each class in any normal work day. Whether it is basic economics as a sophomore or completing business portfolio projects in the capstone class, UAB’s School of Business curriculum will be a huge benefit in my career.
What advice would you give to UAB students and graduates currently in the job market and hoping to land a job?
Today’s job market is fiercely competitive. I would encourage students and graduates to not give up. We have gained valuable skills through a challenging curriculum taught by dedicated faculty. Tools to help us succeed are available through the Career Services Department. I urge students to maintain relationships already built and establish new contacts in the field. But the secret to success is to believe in one’s self. Stay positive, work hard, and have faith; the universe will reveal opportunities all around you.
Bradley was raised in Fort Payne, AL and attended UAB as a football student athlete. He was also a member of Delta Sigma Phi-Beta Epsilon and founding father of UAB Bass Fishing Team. While at UAB he received the Academic Achievement Award- Greek Life (UAB), Iron Man Award (UAB Football), DAR Good Citizen Award and Army Student-Athlete Award.