Sales and Talent Leaders Share 11 Job Search Tips
From Searching, to Applying, to Interviewing, to Getting the Job
Searching for a sales job can feel like a full-time job. From writing strong resumes, to searching, to applying, to doing your research, to interviewing, to waiting to hear back from the hiring manager, it’s a process. It can feel daunting and overwhelming, especially in today’s digital age where there is so much noise.
So how do you decipher what’s a good job and good company to apply to? Where do you focus your efforts? How do you stand out among the competition? How do you manage the job search? How will you land your dream sales job in 2018?
All great questions, and let’s be honest, the submitting a resume to a job post and crossing your fingers approach is outdated and doesn’t work.
To help you strategize in your search with focus and a game plan, we asked top sales and talent leaders to share their best tip to help you land the sales job you want in 2018.
Here’s some sound advice and you’ll notice some trends on how to land your dream sales job in 2018:
Koka Sexton, Content Marketing at Slack – Identify what’s important to you in a job and company
My best tip for job seekers is to quickly identify the type of role you want to do and the type of company you want to work for. Half the problem facing job seekers is that they waste energy just applying to everything and hoping something sticks.
Spend some time writing down your ideal job, ideal manager, and goals for this role to help you move forward in your career. Once you know what you’re looking for, start going after it. Leverage your network and meet as many hiring managers as possible.
Koka’s story of how he landed his job at Slack, inspired me to write this post. Read about it here.
Michelle Myara, Campus Recruiter at Gartner Inc. – Understand your buying criteria
I’d have to say my best tip is to really do your research. Not just on the company website (or for the company), but envision yourself in the position and do research that matters to you. This allows you to be thoughtful in the types of questions you ask during an interview process. It not only displays natural curiosity to the employer (which they will love) but really helps you as the seeker identify the right sales opportunity and where to invest your time.
Envisioning yourself in the role and thinking of what will be important to you helps you to make the most educated decision and to stand out as a candidate a Recruiter wants to follow-up with. It can be anything from community involvement, commission structures, or continuous development past initial training – what is in your buying criteria? Do the self-evaluation, research, and ask the questions!
Scott Barker, Head of Partnerships at Sales Hacker – Lead with genuine curiosity
Lead with a genuine curiosity and stick to a sales process. An interview is no different than selling, except you’re not selling a product/service, you’re selling yourself. Do your homework and don’t skip the discovery process, dig deep with the hiring manager.
What makes their top rep successful? When do they win deals/when do they lose deals? This shows that you’re serious and doing your due diligence. Top reps want to make sure they are setting themselves up for success so be curious and try to gather as much information as possible for later in the process.
Also, make sure you reach out to multiple stakeholders and influencers within the company on social media (multi-channel if you have to) or take them for coffee if possible. No hiring decision is made alone. Be timely in your follow up and always go the extra mile with any homework assignments. Make sure you give them a chance to voice their concerns (objections) and address each one carefully. Show passion throughout and of course…go for the close!
Galen Verney, Sales Operations Manager at The DAVIS Companies – Be a change agent
Nationally the unemployment rate is 4.1%, in New Hampshire it is 2.6% and in Massachusetts it is 3.5%. It’s a candidate-driven market, and companies across all industries are struggling to attract and retain talent in 2018. Companies are looking for change agents, people who can make an impact. If you’re looking to make a job change, here are some tips to show hiring managers that you are impactful.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is robust and complete. List your skills and core competencies. You’re in sales, so make sure you have numbers and sales stats on your resume. Don’t overlook the little things. Dress professional to your interview, bring copies of your resume and examples of your work, smile and shake hands, make eye contact and be confident because you’re at the table for a reason and that reason is they want to hire you.
Prepare interview questions. Research the company and the industry. Focus these questions in areas such as career path, culture, your responsibilities and how you’ll be expected to make an impact on the team or organization. After the interview, send individual and personalized thank you emails.
Don’t just assume companies will find you, you need to treat the job search like a sales process.
Missy McLoy, Human Resources Manager at MassPay, Inc. – Do your research
If I were to choose one tip that I could provide job seekers, especially those looking for a position in sales, it would be to do your research. In sales, candidates have the opportunity to work across many industries and handle a wide range of products. As job seekers interview for a position in sales it is important that they have done their homework on the industry, understand the market they are entering, feel comfortable in that segment, and gain as much understanding as possible on the product/service they could be selling.
I can always tell whether a candidate has done significant research because they already have the ability to discuss the product, show excitement around the product, and ask educated questions. It is this knowledge and excitement that will differentiate a candidate within a pool of job seekers.
Nicole Giggie, Sales Manager at Treeline, Inc. – Send personalized thank you emails
Go back to basics and don’t skip critical parts of the interview process! You need to have a consistent process, and don’t make the mistake of forgetting to send personalized thank you notes after an interview. You would be surprised how many candidates skip this crucial part of the interview process. Sending a thank you note is still part of the interview process and hiring managers do care.
When sending thank you notes, do not just send the same run of the mill thank you copied 5 times. Take 10 minutes and personalize each note to every team member of a company. I can assure you this goes a long way when the team is regrouping and deciding on who is the best fit for their company.
Daniel Disney, Founder of The Daily Sales – Build a strong personal brand on social media
We now live in an age where social media can have a huge impact on securing a job. This creates a huge advantage for job seekers to leverage its full potential to build a strong personal brand. It’s no longer a case of just giving in a CV, employers will now look at your social profile. You can build a profile and social brand that makes you stand HIGH above the crowd.
My top tips would be to build your profile with your ideal employer in mind. Answer some of the questions they’re likely to ask by providing as much information on your working history and achievements. You also have a huge opportunity with LinkedIn to include recommendations from previous employers and colleagues. Make sure you fill out every part of your profile and include a link on your CV, cover letter, and email signature.
Maggie Girouard, Internal Recruiter at Signature Consultants – Understand your core values and target the search
Finding a job is easier said than done. In order to find the perfect sales job for yourself, I believe it is so important to first figure out what you look for in a sales position. Is it the company growth, the upward movement, or the ability to work in inside or outside sales?
Once you have figured out what the most important characteristics of a sales role you personally look for are, you can then narrow down your search. Always do background research on a company to make sure their mission statement and core values are similar to your own. Don’t forget to utilize online resources such as job boards and LinkedIn to uncover hot leads of new sales positions around your area. And finally, stay persistent and determined in your search to find your dream sales career.
Morgan J Ingram, Director of Execution and Evolution at JBarrows Sales Training – Demonstrate your tenacity
My best tip would be to research the company like you would the prospect in a sales role. Take the time to learn about the company, products/services, and leadership team. Don’t just submit your resume and wait. Connect with people who work there and are involved in the hiring process on LinkedIn. If you have the opportunity to interview, don’t forget to follow-up.
Take the initiative to not only email the hiring manager, but call the hiring manager. No one is looking at resumes, they are looking at your tenacity and skill set.
Mike Conley, SVP, Sales at IANS – Don’t just look for a job, look for a company
Don’t just look for a job, target growth companies that have a meaningful purpose. Make sure the company’s mission aligns with your interests and values. There are a lot of jobs out there. Be purposeful in finding the job and company that is right for you. Take control of your search. Research backgrounds of the sales managers and the sales team. Is anyone in your network connected to these individuals? If so, reach out to find out the real deal. What’s it like to work there? What’s the culture? Management style?
Use the interview to qualify the opportunity. And when you interview be able to showcase your selling ability. Sales managers want to hear about what you have done and how you did it – real scenarios on how you prospect, break into accounts, build relationships and close deals.
Managers will know if you are genuinely interested in the opportunity. It will show through your tone, presence, research and exhaustive list of questions.
Shannon DiPietro, Senior Sales Consultant at Treeline, Inc. – Be prepared to interview and know how to close
During the interview process, there are 2 critical steps: 1. Interview Preparation and 2. The Close.
You need to put the time into preparing for every interview you go into. Do your homework on the company, products/services, leadership team, and the people you are interviewing with. Always have copies of your resume, and be prepared to ask thoughtful questions around the role, company, challenges, top performers, and direction of the company. Show the hiring managers that you’re interested.
One of the most important parts of the interview, that most candidates fail to do, is close the interview. A closing question is to ask the interviewer if there are any concerns around your ability to perform the role and move forward in the process. You want to isolate and overcome each concern, if there are any. You also want to answer in the affirmative and not come across as defensive. Once you address each concern, you want to ask about next steps. This not only shows that you are a serious candidate, but it also demonstrates your selling and closing ability.