To many recent college grads, a career in sales may seem like the dreadful career path of last resort. A recent look at posts on the "Career Planning for College Students" message board shows:
- "I've been looking up jobs on Web sites and in local newspapers. I have had very little response, and the responses I do get are for sales jobs, which I am not interested in."
- "I got a BSBA in marketing, and for some reason people think that the only thing you can do with a marketing degree is sales...not for me."
- "I'm looking for something analytical, but instead I get a lot of sales position solicitations. At this time, should I just settle for one of these sales spots?"
However, look at it this way. How would you like a job right now straight out of college with enough free time that would make you feel like your own boss? Or, how would you like a career that let's you learn something new every day? Even better, how would you like a career in which you can determine how much money you will make your first year on the job? If all of these sound good, then a career in sales may be for you.
Of course, it's fine to decide against a job in sales. But too often, college students and recent grads rule out sales positions based on little or no real thought or investigation. They hear the word "sales," and they immediately say to themselves, "No way!" But no matter what company you work for currently, or in the future, realize that every successful company has a salesperson, even if it is the company owner. If you've never pictured yourself in sales, then you may be making a mistake. Instead, think about the benefits of working in sales and how it might be different from what you think you know about sales.
Many salespeople have expressed that the best part of a career in Sales is that it is undefined. It is hard to describe your typical day because every day can be completely different. One day you may be on the Internet researching prospective clients and, along the way, learning a great deal about a company and, perhaps, a new industry. The next few days may be spent calling these prospective clients and then an entire week may be in face-to-face sales calls. On other days, you are writing up sales-call reports and preparing proposals for clients. Some sales positions allow you to work out of your home office, others require traveling, and still others will allow you to do both.
Education & Employment
Sales experience is applicable everywhere. Business leaders, many of whom started out in sales, believe that if you can succeed in sales, you can succeed almost anywhere. Sales is often viewed as the training ground for the business standouts of tomorrow. Why?
Sales is all about understanding a product (or service or cause) in depth, teaching other people about it (using your written and verbal communication skills) and showing those people how they would benefit. No matter where your career may go in five, 10 or 30 years, the communication and persuasion skills developed in sales will be crucial to your success.
The best companies will train their new salespeople. When interviewing for a sales position, always ask about the training program. A comprehensive training program will include one-on-one coaching from a professional, as well as resources for the trainee.
.Many schools offer internship opportunities so you can get relevant work experience. Some schools also have on-campus facilities that serve as learning centers for students. This hands-on experience can give you an edge over the competition when looking for that first sales job. Another way to prepare for a career in sales, or to better understand its opportunities, is to join a student organization that focuses on sales.
To learn more, visit Monster's sales career advice.