However, finding a sales position nowadays is harder than it used to be due to the competitiveness of the job market—especially if you are a newbie in this profession. How do you start looking for one? The first step is to decide on what your field of interest is. You may already know by now which industry you would like to focus on if you have already completed an internship or a training period. If not, start doing your research and ask yourself, “Which industries do I find most exciting?” “What type of company do I want to work for?” and “Would I prefer a field-based or inside-based sales position?”
After answering these questions, you can now begin following these steps in search of a sales position.
1. Search for it.
There are a lot of ways to find jobs. One is to go online and surf job search engines, or visit community sites that post job opportunities, company reviews, and salary information.
Another way is to browse through the traditional classified ads in your local newspaper. Believe it or not, a lot of companies still advertise in the newspaper.
You can also ask for help from your friends or colleagues. Tell them that you are looking for a job. Who knows? You might get a referral this way.
2. Search on your own.
Having a recruiter help you isn’t a bad thing. However, looking for a company on your own might be faster than having someone look for you. Recruiters sometimes have too much on their plates to really help you. Still, if you happen to meet one, there‘s no harm in trying.
3. Expand your network.
Make connections and build relationships. Join sales-related groups on LinkedIn, and keep a polished profile. That way, small conversations may ensue and become big opportunities.
Join relevant professional associations (online or in the Encyclopedia of Associations, which is available in libraries). Be involved in your local chamber of commerce. You might meet a prospective employer or client.
4. Send a sales resume.
Highlight accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you are a fresh graduate, you can include your school accomplishments (e.g., being on the dean’s list, graduating with honors, or being the president of a club or organization).
Talk about your past achievements that say something about your ability to sell. If you lack formal sales experience, look for parallel situations in which you were able to sell something (e.g., selling an idea to others or promoting a fundraising activity for a cause).
5. Do your research.
Sell yourself in the best way you can by being thoroughly prepared once you land an interview. It is very important that you know the company well enough: their core values, the hiring manager, the product/service you are about to sell, the market share, and the major competitors.
Impress your potential employers by doing your homework and showing them that you are really interested in what you are doing.
6. Prepare to answer and ask questions.
A very common type of question during sales interviews is behavioral questions such as “Was there ever a time that you had to persuade someone to do something? How did you do it?” or “What is your greatest strength?”
The interviewer might also ask you to act like you’re selling a product (possibly the company’s product, or sometimes anything that the interviewer is holding right at that moment, like a ballpoint pen, a pencil, or a cup). If you do not have any experience with this, it will be helpful if you start practicing at home with a friend or family member prior to the interview.
You can also prepare questions that you want to ask your interviewer, such as “What are you looking for in a sales representative?” or “What are the next steps in the interviewing process?” to show him or her that you are truly interested in the job.
7. Leave an impression.
Aside from your resume, leave something that will make them remember you. Make a lasting impression that will separate you from the other candidates. You may try leaving a portfolio (a compilation of your works) or a brag book (a compilation of your awards, certificates, sales ranking reports, and recommendation letters).
You could also prepare and present a business plan that covers your goals for the position in the first few months of your employment.
8. Make a deal.
You need to close a deal in order to make a sale. That also goes for interviews when you’re selling yourself to your potential employer. If you think that everything is going well, you can try asking these questions: “It would be a pleasure to work for you and for this company. Do you think I have a chance at getting this job?” or “Do you have any questions regarding my abilities?” or “What else can I provide you in order to prove that I am the right person for this job?”
9. Say, “Thank you.”
After the interview, be sure to write a thank-you note to your potential boss and everyone else that you’ve met (who are parts of the company). Tell them that you have learned a lot during your interview.
Try following these suggested steps and see for yourself if you can land the sales position you want. Remember to keep cool and be prepared for whatever happens if you are granted an interview. Amaze them by selling yourself the way you would sell a product.