Pivot Point is a four-part series on 21st Century Employment Resiliency for ESL teachers marketing their skills beyond the classroom. This is the third post in the series on breaking into ESL publishing and commercial products and services marketing.
Did you study commu...
Pivot Point is a four-part series on 21st Century Employment Resiliency for ESL teachers marketing their skills beyond the classroom. This is the third post in the series on breaking into ESL publishing and commercial products and services marketing
Did you study communications or journalism in college? What about business? Have you ever taught an English for Specific Purposes course? Did you complete a K-12 subject specialization? Any one of these can be the perfect combination to transition into the ESL publishing or commercial sectors. Take a critical look at your past experiences. You just might have what it takes to market yourself to the commercial sectors of ESL, be it as a technical writer, content developer, or even product sales and marketing.
ESL Publisher Representative
When was the last time you went to an ESL conference? Chances are, you met a sales representative, or sales rep, at the event. Sales reps work in different ways. They can be employed by publishing houses, work freelance on commission, or be commissioned sales agents who represent a number of publishers. The job of the sales rep is to get potential customers interested in a product, and as anyone with experience in sales knows, this means connecting and communicating with people!
It may seem that the skills needed in the publishing sector are far removed from the ESL classroom, but as Karen Weldon, Customer Manager of BurlingtonEnglish, describes below, sales reps have the same goals as teachers: serving students. Having firsthand classroom experience and knowing about student and teacher needs allows reps to connect with potential customers.
Think you have what you need to succeed as a sales rep?
Case Study: Making a Career Change from Educator to Customer Manager for a Publisher
Q. How did you get started as a Case Manager?
Karen Weldon -
I will not win an Olympic Medal in Long Jump because the leap was not that far from educator to publisher. Working as a Customer Manager for BurlingtonEnglish is serving my needs on so many levels. In my 15 years in the Adult Education sector, I was very fortunate. I taught ESL, wrote curriculum for EL Civics, served in consortium work groups from AB86 to AEBG, and I was part of the Design Team for the Immigrant Integration Pathway for ALLIES. In addition, I worked closely with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to help serve my students’ needs. My experience and resources are invaluable in the publishing sector.
In my role as a Customer Manager for BurlingtonEnglish (BE), I continue to grow professionally on a broader scope. I am in classrooms throughout Northern California as I collaborate with teachers on best practices while modeling the blended learning programs that BE offers. I have insightful and revealing conversations with administrators on WIOA, AEBG, CASAS, EL Civics as well as discussions on the continued need to advocate for adult education. My knowledge of adult education has expanded exponentially due to the vast amount of exposure I am afforded with this role.
For educators who consider changing their career path and working for an educational publisher, the most critical characteristic that we all have in common is the desire to serve the students. When I considered making this “leap”, I truly knew I would be serving hundreds and possibly thousands of students instead of just my one class. The programs that BurlingtonEnglish offers convinced me that the students’ goals would be met and measured. As an instructor, my goal was always to meet the needs of the students and provide them with enough confidence to be active members of the communities they live in. When I chose the publisher path, I knew I was making the right decision because I would be reaching out to more students, and they would be realizing their individual goals.
The other consideration was to make sure that the teachers felt valued in the process of learning new technology and blended learning practices. In coming from the classroom, I could empathize fully with the successes and challenges they experience. Teachers as publisher reps can make connections to “real-life” classroom moments that are relatable to all instructors.
This is an ideal match.
A customer service-oriented personality is the utmost requirement for “making the leap”. Since the leap wasn’t that big, maybe I will go for the gold medal in Long Distance Running with hurdles. Everyone keeps telling me that they see me everywhere, and I love running into them!
Do you have experience as a sales rep? How did you get started?
We invite you to share your story below!
Kara Mac Donald works as an Academic Specialist with the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. Connect with her on LinkedIn
or via Email
works as an instructional systems specialist with the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. Connect with her on LinkedIn
Karen Weldon works as a Customer Manager at BurlingtonEnglish. Connect with her on LinkedIn