Graduate weapons for attacking the job hunt – sales

Are you the type of person that can walk into a bar and talk to a total stranger? If so, sales could be the career for you. It is, however, a term that almost has a negative ring to it and I agree, there are a lot of negative perceptions surrounding the industry. I for one used to have automatic visions of Del Boy when sales was mentioned, and it’s on that presumptuous association that I’ve decided to dedicate this latest graduate weapons solely to sales, in a bid to prove the overlooked benefits of a career in this sector and to demonstrate to you grads how best to seize these golden opportunities!

The essentials
A career in sales can lay the foundations for a progressive future, give you key insights into the way a business operates, you can have fun and make a fair bit of money at the same time! It all boils down to, quite simply, your ability to develop a relationship with someone. Don’t forget, sales is the very core of every business and every good business person is, ultimately, a sales person (whatever their role).

This industry is all about how you communicate with others. Having the confidence to attend meetings, contact new clients, build relationships, spotting opportunities and seizing them. It’s important to remember that communication is two-way; sales is as much about vocally pitching and negotiating for business as it is listening to your existing customers. In terms of attributes; ambition, determination, ingenuity and an overall positive attitude are the key characteristics that employers will be looking for. Show employers that you’re able to listen and learn, allowing them to visualise you putting what they’ve taught and invested in you into practise.

The should-haves
When it comes to appropriate degrees and experience, there are no prerequisites for careers in sales. Naturally, any form of business-related qualifications will equip you with an in-depth understanding of how companies operate, but this is not essential. We know from our track record of placing graduates in sales internships that people from a broad range of degree subjects are suited to sales. What we have noticed is employers’ partiality for the use of numbers in candidates’ CVs. If you’ve exceeded targets in the past or achieved record results, demonstrate these through the use of figures and percentages. By what percentage did you exceed your targets – for example how much money did you raise through your fundraising efforts? Similarly, ensure you highlight any awards and achievements that you may have received in the past. These go down a treat.

Targeting your application
Sales forms the core of every business in every industry; whether it’s the offering of a service or the production of a physical product. It can be broken down into two divisions; business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). If you’ve a desire to work directly with the general public then B2C sales would be a career match for you. If you’re an ambitious character, driven by achieving targets and goals, then a career in B2B sales would be suitable. It’s important to identify which area of sales you’d ideally like to work in first. Then you can tailor your strengths and overall applications accordingly.

Types of interview questions
They say that the impression created in the first 10 seconds a prospective buyer walks into a home is the one that determines whether or not they buy the house. View your interviewer as the buyer and yourself as the house. Your interview is your opportunity to pitch a quick sell of yourself. It all comes down to your ability to articulate the best things about yourself in those first 30 seconds. Succeed in that and you’ve opened your first door.

Your video CV is the perfect opportunity to pitch to your potential employer. Don’t waste it. Utilise it to its full potential by constructing a sharp, impactful speech. Highlight your applicable skills, your experience and show your character. The employer will be looking for those likeable qualities in your personality just as much as those relevant skills.

Hannah is a Digital Marketing Intern at Inspiring. She tweets about all things golden here: @hlcroberts and pins all things pretty here: gildthelilly.

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