Sales is one of the most competitive and fast-moving industries in the world. This means a sales job has great professional opportunities, but it’s also suspect to workplace dissatisfaction.
Studies have found that up to 20 percent of salespeople are disengaged from their employers. If you’re unhappy in your current sales job, or want to take your career to the next level, it might be time to make a change.
If you’re considering a new company or taking on a new role, the first question to ask yourself is why you need this change. Knowing what you do and don’t like about your current employer is essential to finding a new opportunity that you’ll love. Make a list of what you do and don’t like about your current position, and then make a wish list of what you’d like at a future employer. You can then prioritize your wants so that it’s easy to evaluate new opportunities.
Make sure that your resume is clean, up to date, and accurate. Your resume is a snapshot of your professional and educational history that hiring managers should be able to glance over quickly. Keep things short, and make sure that you’ve listed any professional accreditations you’ve earned. Don’t fudge on employment dates or position titles, but do address any gaps in employment in your cover letter and interviews.
Interviewing for a sales job is much like selling something. The more practice you have pitching your product, the more success you’ll have selling it. The same is true of yourself. If you haven’t interviewed in a long time, ask friends or colleagues you respect to help you prepare by conducting mock interviews. Listen to feedback with an open mind. The interview advice you heard five years ago might not be relevant today. Of course, recruiting professionals and life coaches can also help you prepare for interviews.
Having passion for the products you sell is key to your success. John Klymshyn, author of How to Sell Without Being a Jerk!, reminds those looking for a new opportunity that something is sold in every industry. That means you can likely find a position that suits your interests and passions no matter what they are. To that end, finding the right opportunity for you simply means knowing what you’re passionate about and pursuing opportunities with companies that deal in that product.
Salespeople with extensive and/or specialized experience in the field are well served by working with a recruiter. Those who work in the recruiting industry are in the know about upcoming jobs and can match your strengths to promising career opportunities. Professionals who work in recruiting are like professional matchmakers, which means they can also help you find an opportunity that you’ll actually love.
No matter the years of experience in the field, every job seeker has at least one professional weakness. It’s likely that you’ll be asked about yours in interviews. Instead of trying to skirt the issue, be upfront about your weaknesses, and frame them as growth opportunities. For example, instead of saying “I can’t read financial reports,” say “I’m working on better understanding and analyzing financial reports.”
Following up with customers is key when you work in sales. It should be no different when you’re looking for a new job. Send a personal note to your contact at the company the day following your interview. It’s a great way to demonstrate that you have follow-up skills essential to selling and that you’re truly interested in the opportunity at that company. Of course, it’s essential not to overdo follow up efforts. One thank you note is nice, but daily emails or calls can be a big turn off.