I guess, technically, I am a more seasoned (no pun intended) server than I am account manager. I had worked in restaurants, including renowned Parc, the entire time I was in college. I’ve been at Karma for just under two years. Graduating with mostly restaurant experience was intimidating to say the least. Sure, I had it on my resume, but that was mostly to a) fill up a lot of glaring white space, and b) to show that I had general work experience and could be trusted to show up to work every day.
It wasn’t until I scheduled my interview at Karma that I realized how foolish my fears were. I took a fresh look at my experience, read a bit more about account management and…nailed my interview. Here’s what I learned:
- Your customers are clients and kitchen staff is the creative department. Advertising account managers, much like servers, act as the middlemen between clients and creative. We know how to talk to both sides and these conversations often vary significantly. We act as creative briefers/order placers, bearers of bad (or good!) news, master explainers and enthusiastic problem-solvers all in the name of our clients.
- You are a multitasking guru. Or, as I call it, switchy-tasking guru. Because, let’s admit it, unless you’re Mozart, you can’t read, listen and write all at the same time. But you can be good at switching tasks on the fly while remembering the other 10 things you need to do in the next 20 minutes. Sound familiar?
- You exceed expectations with your amazing pairing recommendations. Because when you can recommend a cabernet that amplifies Beef Bourguignon, you can probably also recognize when your clients could benefit from pairing a brochure with a leave-behind to drive their message more effectively. Upselling is one useful skill.
- You are a team player who works best by him or herself: Servers rely on each other A LOT even though they do most of the work on their own. So do we, account managers. It’s the ability to recognize when you need help and not being afraid to ask for it that will make you successful in either field.
- You get along with people... even the cranky ones.Everyone has good days and bad days, some people are friendly and some just want to make an order and move on with their day. You get to know your regulars and become friends with co-workers. Having those basic people skills is crucial in account management, even though it may not seem all that important at the moment.
So. You probably wonder if I miss waiting tables? The short answer is: “Absolutely not.” But I will forever miss frequent wine tastings and all the french fries a girl can ask for.
Sofya is an account executive at Karma and she still enjoys serving coffee to clients.