With competitive salaries, key skills development and the opportunity to work in your area of expertise, it is difficult to see why so many graduates are shunning graduate jobs in sales. Yet, according to research undertaken by Pareto Law, only 1 in 8 graduates would consider sales as an option after university.
To find out more, Matt Arnerich from Inspiring Interns sat down with Mark Diggle, Director of Careers & Employability at Manchester Met and Ben Rosen, CEO of Inspiring Interns to discuss why.
Graduate careers in sales can be lucrative, with some very competitive salaries and the chance to activate serious target-based reward packages. Yet the stigma surrounding them leaves many graduates to feel like the roles are below them.
Mark Diggle thinks the problem derives from an outdated view of sales, saying “a lot of graduates associate sales with cold calling and aggressive hard-selling, and it’s presented as an unattractive proposition in such a vast and varied job market”.
The truth is a lot of these stereotypes are no longer true. Sales in the modern age is a vast and varied field, and there’s plenty of scope to put your degree to good use in a more technical sales role.
Ben Rosen says “A lot of people’s experience of sales roles comes from their own experience of being sold to, either on the phone or in the street. The reality is that the majority of sales tasks involves selling to people that are at least speculatively interested in your product”.
So why should you pursue a career in sales?
While dealing with graduates every day, Mark has noticed that many graduates fail to successfully sell themselves to prospective employers. “A lot of graduates see themselves as falling short in terms of the skills and experience needed to land a graduate job” he says, “but more often than not the fault lies in an inability to effectively articulate the skills and experience they do have”.
Even if you don’t think sales is a long term career path for you, it could be that a graduate job in sales is a perfect way to start your journey into the professional world, giving you all manner of transferable expertise. Ben started off his career in sales, and he said “I use skills I learnt as a salesman every day. You learn how to communicate effectively with all sorts of people, and almost any career involves some sort of selling or persuasion on a day to day basis”.
All client facing jobs (which includes almost anything nowadays) will require you to be persuasive and communicate effectively. Whether you’re communicating with potential or current customers or strictly business to business, all of this communication needs to be effective and convincing, and you’ll find yourself using the skills you’ve learnt in sales all the time.
Even if the office environment isn’t for you, and you want to make a move into freelancing or build your own start up, a sales job could be even more useful. When starting your own business, you’ll have to wear all sorts of hats, and a good knowledge of how to sell yourself and your product is invaluable to progressing your business effectively.
Find a job in sales
From Ben and Mark, the message is clear. A graduate job in sales can not only be much more financially lucrative than you may realise, but it could be the perfect preparation for your career, no matter what your aspirations are.
Interested in graduate jobs in sales? Check out Inspiring Interns to search for jobs and get some advice on how to make a start in the sales world.
Careers and Employability also advertise 100s of internship and work experience opportunities, and graduate-level roles on My Career Hub.