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How I’m Building a Career in Manufacturing From the Ground Up at Paperless Parts

How I’m Building a Career in Manufacturing From the Ground Up at Paperless Parts

As a junior at Northeastern University, the fall of 2021 was filled with stress, excitement, and anticipation for what would come of the Co-op application cycle. I knew that I wanted a learning experience unlike anything I had taken part in before, which led me to look for opportunities solely at Boston start-ups. On my first day of combing through the many job postings on the Northeastern job board, I stumbled upon a Business Development Representative (BDR) role at a company that provides software for the manufacturing industry called Paperless Parts. I was immediately drawn to the opportunity because manufacturing has long been a pillar of my family’s business, yet I had no exposure to it myself. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the manufacturing door.

Career in Manufacturing - Lillian Barnes Travel

Though the industry itself was a key draw for me, this role was particularly interesting because I knew that Paperless Parts was offering far more than what the job description laid out. Throughout the rigorous interview process, my experiences confirmed that Paperless Parts’ mission, culture, and industry fit everything that I wanted in a job, and I knew early on that I could not walk away from the chance to join their team. I entered my final presentation knowing that I had to show them what I already knew: I was passionate about the manufacturing industry and meant to work at this company.

Starting my experience in the BDR role showed me what it really meant to work as a part of the Paperless Parts team. Dean, Julia, and the rest of the team’s energy was unlike anything I had encountered before; each of them went out of their way to provide me with support and showed me the kind of professional I wanted to model myself after. This is exactly the kind of insight I was looking to gain from my Co-op experience.

To be honest, coming into a role in a predominantly male industry made me a little nervous at first; being surrounded by male colleagues, I worried that I would not be taken as seriously as them. But instead of letting this thought inhibit me, I allowed it to push me to learn our product in greater depth to prove my knowledge to our customers. I quickly realized that success was not dependent on anything other than how well I understood my customers and truly listened to their problems.

BDR Team Photo - Lillian Barnes - career in manufacturing

I have now transitioned out of the BDR role into a more strategic area of Paperless. Every day, we do something new and make decisions that are shaping the future of the company. I have developed a vast array of new skills that I can now take with me for the rest of my career. This challenging environment has proven to me that Paperless Parts takes their Co-ops seriously, as my contributions are just as valued as any other member of the team.

So far, my experience at Paperless Parts has gone above and beyond my expectations of what any Co-op could ever be. I am incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity, and it is clear that Paperless Parts is a crucial starting point for my professional journey in the manufacturing world.

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