Thursday, 9 December 2010
A guide to your first job in graduate sales
Have you ever thought of Selling as your next career step?
As you can see from today's Guardian Jobs 9th December 2010 the numbers of jobs in Sales and Marketing are right at the top end of the Jobs advertised.
Click for Guardian Jobs on line on line
If you've dismissed the idea of working in sales, why not think again?
Have you noticed those profiles of a managing directors and CEOs that regularly appear in the broadsheet newspapers, and examined their potted CV that often accompanies such features?
More often than not, you will identify at least some sales experience in these profiles - and quite often at the start of their career.
While sales experience is almost a precondition if you want to be a corporate leader, it is ignored or avoided by most graduates.
The Guardian ran a poll recently
"Should graduates tap into their inner entrepreneur?"
the results were 71% said Yes 29% No.
Jean-Baptiste Say, a French economist, is believed to have coined the word "entrepreneur" first in about 1800.
He said an entrepreneur is "one who undertakes an enterprise, especially a contractor, acting as intermediary between capital and labour.
The art and craft of selling is used in the connection between Says' Capital and Labour.
(Adam Smith on the back of a £20 note.)
I dear say fans of Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations- The Invisible Hand" might feel he was talking about the selling activities of entrepreneurs before Monsieur Say.
'Graduate sales' is now an important part of the overall graduate recruitment scene today, and is now perceived as a strong career choice in its own right.
Whether in Business to Business B2B or Business to Consumer B2C - the list of business sectors in which sales roles proliferate is lengthy. Even in the Non to Profit and Charity sectors Selling is key - but it called "fundraising".
Sales is a great way to get your foot in the door of a large organisation, which in turn can open up a whole host of other career possibilities.
One of the interesting aspects about a career in sales is that it often appears better suited to those who have done a” bit of living” during their degree studying years.
They are likely to have completed a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Operation Rayleigh or some other character building challenge. That’s the opinion of Head of Sales for Tack International Carole Hudson.
“Evidence of voluntary community work, VSO also shows evidence of someone who is able to step outside their comfort zone and engage with people beyond normal circle. This is particularly important in the increasing importance in networking is modern selling.”
"Social skills, in particular, good conversational skills are key. In addition is the ability to discuss subjects with discernment and interpretation is important."
Those with an adventurous personality who enjoyed life at university studying as well as in the extra mural activities often make good sales people."
Carole admits it can be tough for first time job hunters to get their personality across in a CV or email or letter. However many employers are recruiting through interviews on the telephone.
As Selling moves into the Selling 2.0 arena more and more desk based communication skills are seen as just as important conventional face to face engagement.
While a summer vacation sales job will help, today’s employers are really looking for some evidence of sociability and team playing.
One of the beauties of sales is that your effort can be directly rewarded. The career path is often mapped out in front of you. Progression can be typically from telesales to global account manager and it is in your control" she says.
Employers are looking for raw graduates with personality, confidence and a can-do approach - in short they are looking for relationship builders and solution providers."
One of the other advantages of a career in sales is that it tends to be better paid than lots of graduate assignments. Another is that you are often working in teams of like-minded people, with an emphasis on playing hard as well as working hard.
Most graduates in sales start on salaries £18,000-£22,000, and are typically earning £25,000-£30,000 after the first year. Some go on to earn salaries in the top level.
Even if money doesn't motivate you, a stint in sales is the perfect springboard for a career that can go in a number of directions.
Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study