Out-Marketing the Market
Naomi Berlin Tests the Waters, Changes Course and Finds Success
If the current generation of college graduates understands one basic truth about today’s job market, it’s that they have to be adaptable. Finding work in one’s chosen field just out of school can be challenging, but with some creativity and an open mind, students can apply their education in myriad ways to at least kick-start their career. Take Naomi Berlin, an Edison, New Jersey native and graduate of Moshe Aaron Yeshiva HS, Sharfman’s seminary in Israel and Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School. Upon receiving her degree in Marketing and Management, Naomi set her sights on the often-volatile music industry.
“I was looking to break in, but it was just really difficult,” she remembers of her struggles to find employment. “I said, ‘I can’t do music, I have to branch out.’” Still, she “didn’t want to do accounting, speech therapy, occupational therapy or be a teacher,” as she describes it. “I’ve always been a little outside the box.” Channeling what she learned from an earlier internship with an apparel company, Naomi found successive jobs in retail at J. Crew and then for a wholesale jewelry company. Her next step was reaching out to a temp agency and, eventually, she was given a chance to utilize all that savvy in her current role as a Customer Marketing Coordinator for world-renowned fashion imprint Louis Vuitton.
Looking back, she credits that gamut of apprenticeships and on-site mentorship she received during and immediately after her years at Touro for being ready and able when Vuitton opened its doors. “There’s nothing that will prepare you,” she concedes. “You can learn lots in the classroom, and get encouragement from your teachers, but I would say a lot of the learning is done outside the classroom. It’s more about people. It’s more interaction, the small details of how you react to people and communicate with people. And getting certain positions as we know, is more who you know, and not what you know.”
Even though she hasn’t been with her new company for long, Naomi has already experienced some of that invaluable on-the-job experience, “It’s really the small things,” she explains. “It’s not necessarily a huge project and completing it. It’s the follow-through skills. [It’s], ‘Did my supervisor ask me to do something and did she have to remind me a week later?’ or, ‘Did I take care of what needed to be taken care of?’ [With] all these small things, when people think you’re competent they will give you more responsibility.”
Another factor in engendering her supervisor’s confidence and being able to ultimately carve her own path has hinged on being trustworthy and mature. Even before arriving at Vuitton, Naomi worked in offices that required her to coordinate with assistants for TV hosts like Wendy Williams and Rachel Zoe, exchanges in which she says, “You have to be very professional, especially with people’s information.” Currently, at Vuitton, she merges countless databases that highlight “very important people and celebrity information that you have to keep to yourself.”
In the simplest terms, Naomi approaches her job with that un-teachable quality of consideration and kindness. “You have to keep composure when someone’s coming in for a meeting, no matter who they are,” she advises. “You always have to be polite, stand your ground, say hello and have a smile on your face. People aren’t always so friendly, but despite that you always have to be polite and nice and people will want to be around you.”
It seems Naomi is very much on track to climb the ladder in lifestyle marketing for some time to come. As for the next class of graduates entering adulthood, she confesses that “it’s hard when you come out of college and you can’t find a job,” and then laughs while suggesting with absolute sincerity that if all else fails, follow her lead and “go to a temp agency.”