How to sharpen your skill set — or retrain with a different one — so you can move up in the diamond industry.
Sales and Marketing
Would you rather sell a spectacular diamond, or determine how best to get customers interested in buying it? Whether you prefer sales or marketing, both present a host of opportunities to advance your career.
The American Gem Society (AGS) offers a seven-unit course on sales essentials for diamonds, colored stones, pearls, metals, watches and period jewelry, along with information about the jewelry industry and the importance of good customer service and professionalism.
This Graduate Sales Associate course, which targets entry-level sales associates, “is designed by jewelry professionals committed to consumer protection who have professional credentials in the disciplines covered,” says Alethea Inns, AGS’s director of gemology and education.
While diamonds are one of the topics the course covers, it does not go into great detail about diamond grading. The program is open to both AGS members and non-members, but only the former have the option to earn the Certified Sales Associate designation after completing the course.
If you’re eager to pursue a career in marketing, continuing education may be the best route. Universities across the US offer a range of marketing courses and diploma/certificate programs to enhance your skills.
For example, New York University School of Professional Studies offers a diploma program in digital marketing, career advancement courses in marketing strategy, and a total immersion course in campaign and experiential marketing.
Aiming for the top of the pyramid? You might want to consider an MBA. Columbia Business School even offers a specialization in luxury marketing, with courses ranging from digital and omnichannel marketing to managing luxury brands in emerging markets.
Facebook…Twitter…Pinterest…Instagram. More than just icons on almost every business website, these social media platforms can also be the key to your career success.
“The core principle to understand is that every business operates in a digital world — and almost everything happens in social media,” explains Ben Smithee, CEO of New York-based social media consultancy The Smithee Group.
“Social media is on everyone’s radar,” he continues, so mastering it can help advance careers across the board — sales, marketing, design, advertising, communications, finance, accounting, or even HR. He suggests checking out professional organizations such as the American Marketing Association (AMA), which has a wealth of online publications relating to social media. It offers lectures as well, and holds professional “boot camp” development programs. Smithee also urges people to go to the social media platforms themselves, noting that “some of the best informational content is on Facebook’s and Instagram’s blogs.”
The Digital Directive, an online course his group plans to launch this spring, targets small and medium sized jewelry businesses, manufacturers and designers. The self-paced curriculum covers all the major social media platforms, with how-tos on incorporating them into one’s marketing strategy. It will include newsletter updates, webinars and videos to create a community of online learners.
“The best resource is the one that people will actually use and put into action. Dive in and start learning — get your feet wet,” he advises. “Pick one topic a month and focus on it. Everything is changing so quickly; don’t get left behind.”
There’s a lot more to diamonds than the 4Cs — and increasing your knowledge can be a viable path to moving up the career ladder. If you’re looking to earn a degree, the Gemological Institute of America
(GIA) offers graduate gemologist (GG), graduate diamonds (GD) and colored stone (GCS) programs. These can prepare you to become a diamond or colored stone buyer, estate jewelry dealer, or lab and research professional.
Another source of knowhow is the Diamond Foundation Course by De Beers’ International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research (IIDGR), which gives a comprehensive overview of the whole diamond pipeline, from rough to retail.
The course, which incorporates De Beers’ technology, is aimed at newcomers, but is also useful to more experienced industry members who want to build on their expertise.
Rapaport Academy, Rapaport’s e-learning platform, is an additional option. “Our first online course, ‘Fundamentals of Diamond Trading,’ covers all aspects of the diamond trade — from the history and terminology, to diamond pricing and the best trading tips and practices,” explains Ofira Gutman, vice president of Rapaport Academy and the RapNet trading platform.
Like the IIDGR course, Rapaport Academy’s curriculum is for both people new to the industry and those with years of experience, according to project manager Rotem Biton. Rapaport Academy just released “Fundamentals of Diamond Trading” in Chinese and expects to launch more courses this year.
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