If you can believe it, it’s that time of year again where recent college graduates are now becoming alumni and entering the work force. Many are in the same boat, trying to figure out their next move and start their professional career, but some may find themselves thinking “what career path is best for me?”
If you are driven, sharp, dynamic and love the thrill of a challenge; if you enjoy working with different customers, services and or products, where your efforts determine the outcome, then sales could be a great fit for you. Sales is an industry where you directly benefit from your success.
So you decide sales is a fit for you, but now how do you find the ideal role and land the job?
To successfully break into sales, you have to be able to present yourself as the best person for the opportunity. This may seem general, but in actuality it’s all about the small subtleties that typically make or break receiving a job offer.
Here’s my advice to the graduating class:
Become a student of your business: The more you know, the better. Expanding your sales knowledge is key to succeeding as a sales professional and especially necessary in proving your dedication to potential employers:
- Read sales material, blogs, books, magazines, etc.
- Attend sales seminars
- Ask a sales professional about their experience
- Watch sales videos
- Experience a preceptorship
- Work with a Recruiter
You should be able to explain to a potential employer why you WANT sales.
Leverage yourself and what you have: People buy from people they like, they also hire people they like. It is important to be likable and make a connection with interviewers and recruiters. Use your story, successes and experiences to “sell” yourself and build rapport.
Talk about your:
- Summer work
- Student-Athlete experience
- Extracurricular activities
- Financed education
Customize your resume for each sales role that you apply for: Remember that you will not necessarily have the employment experience in the sales industry, but still have relevant experience that will make you a candidate for consideration. For example, if you are applying for a sales position that demonstrates the ability to troubleshoot or provide customer service then it would be worthwhile to list your relevant experiences. Research the sales job that you are applying to for specific characteristics that the potential employer is looking for. If an employer is seeking a hard working, organized, self-starter, sales-related or not, exemplify those qualities.
Do not be too selective: It’s all about attitude. Your first job probably is not where your career will end. You are building a sales foundation, this is the beginning of your professional career. Getting into a sales position without experience may be to find an employer who is willing to offer great training, is looking for someone who is hungry and willing to learn as well as someone who is a culture fit. It’s important to have the right mental attitude and look for the key elements on accepting a job. As much as financials are important in considering an offer, do not let it dictate the interview.
Do not focus on the following:
- The amount of Paid Time Off
- Base salary
- How quickly you can get promoted
- How you get leads
Hiring managers are interested in setting you up for success. That means that they will support you, day-in-and-day-out. They want to see you hit the ground running. You will have to understand that hard work is required. You will be entering a challenging but rewarding career.