There’s been a lot of doom and gloom about Millennials’ career prospects and some of it is unfortunately true: The unemployment rate for Canadians between 15-24 years old is 14.3% and it’s even worse for Millennials in Toronto at 19.8%. Can a job in sales be the answer?
How Sales and Millennials are Alike
Millennials are hampered in their career progression by negative stereotypes about their generation. Less attention is paid to research demonstrating how Millennials are the most educated, tolerant, and optimistic generation today. Millennials also differ in what they value in the workplace: PwC’s 2013 Global Generational Study found that Millennials place greater importance on a workplace culture that emphasizes work/life balance, transparency, and rewards and recognition for their work.
Like Millennials, the profession of sales has a bad rap. You (yes, you the reader) might be holding these negative stereotypes yourself. These perceptions are rooted in a historic information imbalance which allowed sellers to hold power over buyers. In today’s age of the knowledgeable buyer, however, bestselling author Daniel Pink argues that this information asymmetry has been replaced by information parity. This has meant that the age of the pushy salesperson is dead: The modern sales professional has evolved into the buyer’s consultative partner and trusted advisor.
So why are sales and Millennials an ideal fit?
The Perks of Sales are Aligned with the Values of Millennials
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review by sales experts at DePaul University, “sales positions oﬀer qualities that appeal to Millennials: autonomy, rewards linked to personal eﬀort, and the opportunity to interact with a variety of people.” The rewarding nature of sales is further demonstrated by the fact that sales is rated as the 5th happiest job in America by CareerBliss. Not only that, strong sales skills are one of the top ten critical abilities desired by executives. Want to be hired by a startup? Or have dreams about becoming an entrepreneur yourself? Knowing how to sell is a huge competitive advantage.
The Skill Set Required for Sales are Among the Strongest Skills of Millennials
Sales careers are among the most in-demand professions today. Accenture’s 2013 sales survey verifies more than 50% of Chief Sales Officers are planning to hire. When you consider the unemployment rates among social science, arts, and humanities undergraduates (sorry fellow psychology majors), and how these same majors earn the least amount of income even when they are employed, ignoring the career opportunities offered by sales may be one of the biggest oversights you’re making. Furthermore, you might be surprised how much the research and communication skills (all those term papers!) and critical thinking abilities you’ve gained from your education are applicable to a career in sales. Finally, like everything else, selling has become social and Millennials are the most tech-savvy and socially active generation today.
Not sure if a job in sales is for you? Check out The 5 Best Things About Being A Salesperson, 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Get A Job In Sales, and Can Geeks Be Salespeople Too? If you’re still not convinced, here’s one of my favorite documentaries about the professionalization of sales.
Intrigued? Read my blog post where I detail how to get a job in sales without any experience.
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