The vast majority of sales jobs require a brand of confidence that screams “I AM THE RIGHT CHOICE”.
Disclaimer: This may not be applicable to every single person, if you have specific questions, DM me on Instagram. I will do my best to get you in touch with my people.
If I am being completely transparent, there is not a clear cut answer for how to get a job in sales, however, here is some helpful advice to increase your chances. It took me 3 years to get into the right sales position and I hated every minute of it. Most people who ask me this question are coming straight out of, or are still in, college. Even with a Communications, Business or Marketing degree, you are not going to be a shoe in for a sales position. Why?
Sales is a combination of a few things. It is personality, confidence, experience, confidence, comfortability, confidence and most importantly confidence. Confidence isn’t something that a college is going to provide you, it is something you either have right out of the womb, or in my case, it is something that you have taught yourself. Sure, I’ll concede that some sales jobs do not require confidence to succeed, but those jobs are few and far in between (high end technology, defense contracting, finance, to name a few as these are mostly product quality and knowledge). The vast majority of sales jobs require a brand of confidence that screams “I AM THE RIGHT CHOICE”.
Apply to as many jobs as you can find
This is by far and away the most effective method. An entry level sales job is necessary to get into the industry. Even if you have been working in another industry and cannot fathom being entry level again, it is a must. The experience that you get from performing entry level sales work such as cold calling, lead origination, account management assistance, will define your sales career and teach you more than any university can. I recommend using standard job sites such as Monster, Glassdoor or Zip Recruiter as these certainly have the volume of new jobs to handle thousands of graduated college students. I also recommend contacting recruiters on LinkedIn, you’d be surprised at how many recruiters will offer valuable advice if not job openings to apply to.
(Picture via LinkedIn Sales Navigator)
Network your ass off
If you didn’t leave college with several good friendships with people who got hooked up with their “dad’s secretary’s son’s company” entry level desk job, you probably won’t be interested in this website. Sales people have to be good at networking, especially if you are in outside sales. This doesn’t mean you have to be a jackass and introduce yourself arrogantly to every person in every room you walk in to, but you should at least be able to hold a conversation about work. Every single person has been in your position, needing a first job, or a new job, and having to network.
Befriend LinkedIn recruiters
There truly are some great people out there who only want to find you the best job possible. There are also many crappy recruiters who will tell you anything to get you to take the job that will pay them a percentage of your compensation offer. My advice is to talk to people you know, or friends of friends that work in the recruiting world. Especially if you find a good one through Robert Half or Riley guide which is an online recruiter’s directory.
Be the whole package
“I think I would be good at sales, I can talk to people really well, I’m outgoing, I hate desk jobs”. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me this, I would have never had to sell Cutco knives for a summer in high school. Sales is not just about talking to people. Sales is about understanding a problem, listening to how the customer has addressed it thus far, and recommending a product or service that you may or may not be able to sell them. It’s the same thing in interviews, what does the company want in a sales rep? They want drive, ambition, enthusiasm and hunger in a sales rep. But they also want safety and reliability. Show that to them.
Refine your resume
This is a given, as you need a good looking resume for any first job, but sales doesn’t care about the normal things on a resume. Interviewers will look at what you put first and what you put last on resumes. If you highlight experiences or positions that really aren’t relevant to the job you are interviewing for, they will notice it. If you don’t bother putting your technology capabilities, they will notice it. Research the company and the position and determine what the recruiters NEED to see, and forget about the rest.
Don’t shoot for your 30 year old job, at 22
A lot of people look at sales positions through their friends or family’s experiences and expect it to be just that. When you are inexperienced, you will not get the opportunity to make $75k with commission on a 20 hour work week right away. You need to accept that and bite your tongue for the $35k with shared bonus while working 60 hour weeks. Put your nose to the ground for two years and those opportunities will arise. If nothing else, someone who you have worked with will remember the kid who worked their ass off and refer you to the open position at their new company. Keep track of all of your relevant metrics and build your own data sheet that shows how much you have grown either personally or your department/objective.