Hired! Persistence Pays off with Data-Storage Job

Sales manager seeks more job security and lands a senior analyst position without relocating.

Curtis Breville got a new job when he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Looking through job listings on Ladders last fall, he came across a position that had detailed requirements for a senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, a data storage company in Boulder, Colo. “I had just about every one of those requirements nailed,” he said. “So I filled out the application form and attached my resume. Two days later, I received an e-mail saying essentially, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” he recalls. “The letter said, ‘After looking at your resume, your experience does not meet our needs.’ It kind of ticked me off,” he said, laughing.

So the SalesLadder member sent a letter back to the recruiter that read, “After reviewing your needs, I’ve determined my background is very much what you are looking for.’ He also created a table that listed its requirements and across from that, his experience.

“For each of their 30 different requirements, I wrote my experience,” he said. “I fully expected them to say, ‘This guy is a jerk,’ but I felt I had to stand up for myself. I was qualified for this job. The next day, I got a request for an interview. And after I received a job offer, my new boss said that my letter proved to them how much I wanted the job.”

Breville said he had never done anything like that before but believes it was his experience in his previous position that gave him the confidence to push back.

He had been working for a small French storage-management company as the North American sales manager. “I was saying to people, ‘Hey, we’ve got a product from a small French company that you’ve never heard of’ and not getting any interest, then trying again and eventually selling it. Once you do that, it gives you a lot of confidence in your ability to sell something. I had the confidence to push, and back up what I was pushing.”

Breville had been working at the company’s Denver office for just a year when, this past fall, he suspected it was having financial difficulties. “When the paycheck isn’t in the bank when it’s supposed to be and expense reports are not paid on time, you see the writing on the wall. Two weeks after my paycheck wasn’t there, I took some proactive steps to fix the situation.”
In late October 2008, he started looking for a new job. He found the job on Ladders the first night he looked at the listings, accepted an offer in November and started his job in December.

Breville; his wife; and three children, ages two, four and 11, had moved to the Denver area just six months previous so he could work for his previous employer. Not wanting to uproot his family yet again, Breville made the decision to limit his search to the Denver area. “A lot of the data-storage companies that I would look to for employment are headquartered here or have major offices here. Plus, we love Denver; we love being close to the mountains. We wanted to stay in this area.”

He was still working for his previous employer when he began his search. And while he was a bit nervous about the economy, “after doing some research, I saw jobs that needed people with my qualifications, and that calmed my nerves.”

According to Breville, data storage is a safe field of employment. “There is never a lack of need for storage,” he said. “No matter how bad things get, companies need to buy storage. Every company uses it — every time a store or restaurant rings you up, that’s a transaction they need to back up. Every day, millions of transactions take place that have to be saved. Every company that does business is saving its data. I went into this area because I thought it was a high-tech growth market.”

Initially, Breville was looking for a position in either sales or marketing. And he saw several jobs in that area. But when he saw the listing for the analyst position at EMA, he saw a job where he could use all his experience: technical, customer relationship, management and sales.

All that experience comes together in his new position, in which he looks at trends to predict where the market will go and what customers will be asking for. “People are paying for your opinion,” he said. “Vendors of storage products contact them to hear me talk about their products and provide information that might help them produce or market it better. I’m helping companies refine their messages, let them know if they are on target for what the market is asking for. I help them with research and development, so they can start coming up with new products and solutions.”

He also works with consumers who use his company as “industry technology experts. “We’re not selling hardware or software; we’re just helping them figure out the types of products they need.”

In the end, Breville said he is happy he made the change. His former company is still in business, but he feels better working for a bigger, more stable company. His previous company “had a terrific product, it was sorely overlooked, and it got hard hit by the economy. The company is still around; it restructured, and is now about one-quarter the size they were before I left. If I didn’t have young kids — if they were older and had moved out — and if I didn’t have a mortgage, I could have taken a risk with paychecks coming in late. But right now, I’m at a time in my life where I couldn’t do that.”