Sales Manager Finds a Job Close to Home

Donald Wroble wasn’t ready to uproot his family from Atlanta. So he turned to Ladders to find his third job through the site.

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Donald Wroble has had a lot of practice selling himself the past several years. That’s why, when the SalesLadder member started looking for a new job in January, he was ready to attack the job search with confidence.

“I would say, as a professional marketer, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stay on top of what is happening in your field, and find out what unique skills you can market,” he said. “That way, you’re ready when you have to find a new job.”

In 2005, Wroble had left his position as a sales manager for BASF, a global chemical company, when the company went through a number of restructurings. In the next four years, he worked for two other companies that also went through reorganizations, each time finding another position through Ladders.

By January 2008, he had landed at GE Energy, in a marketing role, working to get the company into the chemical industry. In January 2009, GE Energy was changing gears. The company asked him to relocate to Houston. It was not an ideal time for him to move his family, so it was time once again to use Ladders.

“There was no way I was going to relocate my family,” he said. “I had one kid in high school and another in middle school, and houses were not selling. I wanted to stay in Atlanta. So I started looking for another job.”

An interim stay in Houston

Still, he continued working for his employer, living in Houston while his family stayed in Atlanta. He devoted his off-hours to looking for a job. “It was a good four-month search,” he said. “I did the normal networking that everyone recommends, but in a down market, that wasn’t as fruitful as it might have been.”

And, while he wanted to stay in Atlanta, there were a few other cities he considered, including Louisville, Ky., and Chicago. “I didn’t want to limit my opportunities,” he said. “But I knew my kids didn’t want to move. So we picked just a few cities where we wouldn’t mind being.”

One of the features Wroble said he likes best about Ladders is the fact that he can search keywords specific to the type of job he is looking for and the geographical area he would like to be in, and that Ladders will send him alerts when those jobs appear. In his case, director jobs in sales in Atlanta. “It’s a great matching service,” he said.

The fact that he was working full time while conducting his search made it all much easier for him. “The best thing is I could be traveling anywhere in the world but could still check on my job hunt,” he said. “It was key for me to be able to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour every day on it. You’ve got to stay focused on your search.”

Wroble said he sent hundreds of resumes during his six-month search before he found his perfect job.

“I saw a job listed on Ladders that I knew was the perfect job. I knew the company, it was well respected in the chemical industry, and they were looking for a global sales director, something I had learned in previous jobs. It involved customer service and tech service. And, there’s room to grow.”

And, best of all, it was based in Atlanta.

Wroble sent his resume, and the company, PolyOne, the world’s largest compounder and distributor of plastics, responded immediately. After a phone conversation with the hiring manager, they set up an in-person meeting for the following week, when he would be home visiting his family. Even though he got off the airplane with a case of laryngitis from allergies, he was able to make enough of an impression on the folks at PolyOne that a few weeks later his eventual boss flew to Houston to meet with him. One more meeting in Atlanta with more PolyOne executives, and he was offered the job.

He started in mid-July as the global director of sales, in the specialty-ink division.

Why you should watch the job market while you’re employed

Wroble said he believes that being in the job market so much over the past several years may have been stressful, but it was also good preparation for this position. “I was at BASF for 20 years, and I had a good job, so I never looked outside to see what was happening in the marketplace. I didn’t know my value in the market. But once things changed there, and I had to go outside, I learned a lot from researching other companies, interviewing and working other places. And I was able to better assess my value; I’ve been able to almost double my salary since working at BASF.”

Wroble suggested that people, whether they feel the need to change jobs or not, should go out into the market every year or so, just to see what is available. “That way you can stay in practice, so when you do need a job, you’ve got the skills down.”

As for himself, Wroble said he’s had enough practice for a while. “There is a lot of great opportunity with this job, and I am hoping to stay put for a while,” he said. “The thought that we might have to move put a lot of stress on our family. I’d certainly like to stick around and let the kids finish school here.”

Patty Orsini

Patty Orsini Patty Orsini is a general assignment reporter for Ladders.