Sales Jobs For New Grads and Millennials: The Definitive Guide
The verdict is in. Sales jobs are great for Millennials and new grads alike.
Why? I’m glad you asked.
Check out these data-backed pieces that explain what makes sales such a good fit.
Additionally, learn how to find and land the perfect job for you.
No two salespeople are the same, use these pieces to learn more about your personal selling style. Hit the ground earning.
Happy salespeople close more deals. Find your match and make more money!
Table of Contents:
Why Sales Is Great For New Grads
- 6 Reasons Why Sales Is A Great Job For New Grads
- Sales Jobs For New Grads: The One Thing You Should Know
How To Land The Job
- How To Get A Sales Job As A New Grad: Advice From The Experts
- How To Get A Job In Sales Right After School: 5 Steps
Why Sales Is Great for Millennials
- 8 Stats That Prove Millennials Are A Great Fit For Sales Jobs
- Why Millennials Are Such A Good Match For Sales
- Why Millennials Make Incredible Salespeople
The Best Things about Sales
Trying to decide what your first job out of school will be is a scary process that can leave you feeling very stressed. The pressure to find a secure job in your field, that pays well and offers you the flexibility you desire is difficult. Sales to the rescue. Offering you a great income, autonomy and flexible working hours, sales is the perfect entry level role for new grads. Sales used to be associated with greasy car salesmen. However, learning about all the perks has more individuals than ever opting for sales careers. In addition to these perks, here are 6 reasons why sales is a great job for new grads:
Sales jobs provide amazing experience and skills, which is why it’s a great job for a new grad to get into. A couple years in sales can provide you with enough skills to start your own business or land your dream job in that big company you’ve had your eye one. Employers love to hire people with previous sales experience.
A job in sales can provide you with a quick pathway to move up the ranks and even manage your own team eventually. The skills that you learn in sales are invaluable – things like training and managing your own team, preparing marketing and sales plans and managing your own time can look great on your resume.
The skills that you learn in sales are highly transferable to any future job that you have. You will learn how to manage your time and schedule effectively, interact with customers and solve any issues or problems that arise. Sales teaches you great interpersonal and networking skills that are an asset in any career and will enhance your ability to persist with difficult tasks.
The earning potential in sales is incredible and as a new grad you will definitely have quite a few bills to pay off. The money you will earn working in sales is hard to beat, even for an entry level sales person. The average income in the United States for sales jobs, according to Glassdoor, is 50k – 90k! This will definitely help you in paying off all those student loans.
If you’ve just come out of school, then there’s a good chance that you’re not ready to sit in an office cubicle from 9-5. If this is the case, sales is the job for you. Sales jobs offer you the ability to manage your own work schedule and allow you to work whatever hours suit you, provided your hitting your targets. Often you can work whenever and wherever you like, which sometimes includes working from home.
It Doesn’t Matter What Your Degree Is In
To apply for an entry level sales role, you don’t necessarily need a whole lot of experience. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t major in Business or Commerce, as most sales jobs simply ask that you have a bachelor’s degree, in no particular field. This really gives you a chance to try out a sales career, regardless of what you studied.
It Looks Good On Your Resume
Taking a sales job after you’ve finished school will look great on your resume when applying for future jobs. It shows your motivation to work as soon as you’ve finished school and gives you the opportunity to sell yourself in future interviews. Everyone knows that working in sales requires persistence and enthusiasm, which is what every company is looking for – so you will already be one step ahead of your peers.
Getting your first full-time sales job just out of grad school can be nerve wracking. Polishing up your resume, calling companies and trying your hand at networking is time-consuming and stressful, but the job prospects in sales are immense and this career path can really benefit you in the long run. So if sales is not something you have ever considered, then give it another thought, because it’s a great avenue for a recent grad to gain the experience and skills necessary to succeed in the workforce.
Sales Jobs For New Grads: The One Thing You Should Know
We reached out to 10 of today’s most successful salespeople asking, “What is the one thing new grads should know before going into sales?” While it’s hard to channel years of sales experience into a single sentence, they made it happen! Keep their wisdom in mind as you venture into sales, one of the most rewarding careers out there, and remember, it gets easier!
Looking for a Job in Sales? See Sales Jobs for New Grads: Use Ideal and Let the Employers Come to You.
The job search is hard. I know because I’ve been there.
Instead of wasting your time applying to black box applicant hiring systems, why not give yourself a competitive advantage by learning what the experts who hire salespeople want.
Demonstrate a specific sales skill
If it’s a business development role, come in with a list of the top 10 companies you think would be promising partners for company.
Eric Stromberg, CEO and Co-founder at Oyster
Make getting a referral your top priority
Understand that most people get non-technical jobs at startups through their network, not job postings…get to know people by reaching out via email, twitter, or by commenting on their blog. If someone you contact tells you they aren’t hiring, ask if they’d mind referring you to a start-up they know that is.
Eric Stromberg, CEO and Co-founder at Oyster
Add value upfront when you offer to “grab coffee to chat”
[Craft an email that outlines at least 3 solutions to at least 3 issues you think a CEO is dealing with. I can promise you that if you touch on even 1 correctly, you are someone they want to spend more time with.
Eric Friedman, Director of Sales and Revenue Operations at Foursquare
Create a sales presentation and send it to a Sales VP
Think carefully about how your buyer will benefit from your product – what problem of theirs will it solve? What positive, powerful feeling will it give them when they use it?
Matthew Bellows, CEO and founder at Yesware
Bonus tip from Ideal
Join our sales hiring database and let employers come to you.
Have an amazing tip for landing a sales job? Let me know in the comments or tweet @ideal.
So you’ve graduated from college and you’re eager to start your career in sales? Great! But before embarking on your job search, there are a few things that you need to know that may not have been taught in school. Getting your first job after school is both exciting and scary and it can be difficult when you don’t know where to start. Here are 5 steps to follow to when applying for sales jobs for new grads.
Do Your Research
Before applying for your first sales job, research some industries and companies that you think would make a good fit for you. Speak to people already in the sales industry and ask them what they like about their career and what a typical “day in the life” is for them. This will give you a better perspective of what you can expect in a sales career and what to look forward to.
When applying for jobs, don’t just send out the same application to 30 different companies. You need to be strategic when applying for jobs and research the company you’re applying for. Quality over quantity! Use a job matching marketplace like Ideal. Ideal only requires you to upload one resume before you are matched to hundreds of open sales roles. Spend a few minutes on your Ideal profile, rather than shooting off 15+ applications that have no thought put into them. Ideal specializes in matching candidates with great companies that cater to your skills and interests.
Update Your Resume
One of, if not the most important factors in finding a job straight out of school is your resume. You may not have had a whole lot of experience in the workforce but use what you do have to your advantage. If you’ve only worked in your local supermarket, then word your resume in a way that is appealing to employers. You could say that your supermarket job gave you experience in dealing with customers on a daily basis, solving problems and giving product advice. All of which are relevant to a sales career!
If you’re having trouble with your resume, you can always seek the advice of a professional. Resumes can be a bit tricky, so having someone who knows what they are doing is helpful and can really make you stand out from other applicants. There are also a number of resources online! Here are a few of our pieces: Recruiters Reveal the 7 Most Common Sales Resume Mistakes (and How to Fix Them), How to Differentiate as a Top Sales Candidate from a Former Google Recruiter and The Salesperson’s Guide to Sales Job Hunting Part 1: Prep & Target.
Polish Your Online Profile
Social media is a game-changer and can play a huge role in whether you do, or don’t get the job. People have lost their jobs over social media, so be careful what you post.
On the other hand, social media can also enhance your chances of getting hired. These days, having a kickass LinkedIn profile is essential. If you haven’t got one already, then sign up and populate it with your current skills and experience. You can even ask one of your school teachers or work experience managers to give you a reference on your LinkedIn. Your online presence should reflect both your personal and professional interests and should align with what you are trying to articulate in your resume. Read our piece on What The Best LinkedIn Profile For Sales Jobs Looks Like here.
Leave Your Attitude Behind
Prepare yourself for rejection. Having a degree or experience does not guarantee or entitle you to a job and unfortunately some employers aren’t as impressed with your qualifications as you are. This is OK. You handle a lot of rejection in sales, consider this practice!
Instead of focusing on the reasons why you deserve a job, instead focus on how your existing skills can contribute to the success of the company. Emphasize how excited you are to learn from them and become a long-term employee for the company.
Learn To Negotiate
If you’ve been lucky enough to be successful in being offered a job, you need to know how to either accept the position, or negotiate the offer. The company will often offer you the job via a phone call, in which you would ask that they confirm the offer through email so that you can have a chance to review it and get back to them.
After receiving the email offer, start off by thanking the company and asking any questions that need clarifying to be able to fully understand what you are being offered. You want to ask questions that show your interest in the role, but also allow you to get the information you require. If you love the job you are being offered but think that the income is too low, try to negotiate a pay increase. These types of negotiations are never fun but it is important to make what you are worth. You may need to really pitch yourself here. Eventually you will come to an agreement, in which case it’s time to get a bottle of champagne! You’re hired! Nice work.
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.
Are you looking for a job in sales? Browse open sales roles on Ideal. Find your match and make more money. Sign up now!
Millennials. We’re entitled, self-centered, and lazy (or so we’ve been told). With such a damaging disposition I can see why it may terrify sales hiring managers everywhere to know the ugly truth: you’re going to need us sooner or later.
It’s estimated that by 2020 roughly half of the US workforce will be Millennials. Lee Caraher, the San Francisco-based author of the book Millennials & Management comments, “A business without Millennials is a business without a future.”
Before you close down shop, let’s take a look at the numbers. Is there any data to back up these awful allegations about Millennials? Good news—it doesn’t look like it.
Actually, in many cases with Millennial stereotypes, the opposite is actually true. Lazy? Two-thirds (64%) of us are willing to work longer hours for the opportunities to be leaders. Job Hopping? No more than our parents did in the ‘80s. What about needing constant praise? When asked whether every member of a successful team deserves a reward, 64% of Gen X employees agreed compared with 55% of Millennials. Hey, maybe we’re not so bad after all!
Interestingly, when it comes to sales specifically, the traditional markings of a Millennial make us a great fit for the profession.
Here are the top three reasons we want to join your sales team and why you should give us a chance.
1. We Want to Change the World (While Selling Your Product)
We are the first generation to believe that business can affect greater change than government. For that reason, find us a product we believe in and we will sell it all day long. When choosing an employer,95% of Millennials say that a company’s reputation matters to them. What concerns really get us going?
The four issues most often cited as important to Millennials are reducing unemployment, reversing resource scarcity, protecting the environment, and addressing inequality of incomes and wealth.
If we’re working for a company with a mission statement that resembles our own, it’s easy for us to find, pitch and close prospects. Having grown up in the word-of-mouth generation, we understand the value of referrals and truly want to solve the prospect’s problem. We were solution selling before solution selling was cool.
In addition, sales positions are a combination of some of our favorite things! Featuring job satisfaction, work/life balance, autonomy, merit-based rewards and the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. At the end of the day, we’re all working towards the same goal: workplace happiness and sales is rated as the 5th happiest job in America. Cherry on top: salespeople who are happier at work sell more.
2. We’re Texting at Work (While Closing Deals)
I know you hate to see us texting at work, but it turns out we’re actually nurturing our social selling profiles and warming the pipeline. We’ve grown up attached to our phones (90% of us sleep with them) but that’s not such a bad thing. We’re digital natives and can adopt new technologies and methodologies twice as quickly as the general population. We’re also more than willing to teach these new tips to our co-workers (just ask!) and peers.
We leverage all levels of social media to listen and learn our customers’ needs and wants. We can evenhelp you find customers where you don’t think to look – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, webinars, gorilla marketing. All we need is a little bit of leeway and a vote of confidence. Help us help you.
Our communication channels may not fit the old cold-calling mold but rest assured we’re not all playing Angry Birds all day. We’re reaching out to prospects via chat, texts, and emails; we’re engaging with future customers on their blogs, Quora, reddit, and social media channels. Still skeptical? Research shows that all of this social selling pays off. 46% of social sellers hit quota compared to 38% of sales reps who don’t leverage social selling.
3. We’re Data-Driven and Want to Learn (Really!)
We grew up being able to Google anything, any time. How old is Beyonce? Will it rain tomorrow? What subject line results in the highest click-through rate? Having grown up with these resources at our fingertips, we’re used to digging for the data that we need. We’re more likely to approach sales as a science than an art.
A/B testing our subject lines, recording our open-rates and religiously updating our CRM, we’re happy to track our performance. We’re open-minded and willing to try new tools to help us reach (and exceed) quota.
We’re also on course to become the most educated generation in North American history. Among 18 to 24 year olds – a record share, 41% – were enrolled in college as of 2012, according to the most recent census data. And the learning doesn’t stop there, we want to learn in the workplace too! 39% of us would opt to attend a third-party sponsored conference, 37% would attend classroom training and 36% would work with a mentor to learn on the job.
Millennials can make an invaluable addition to any sales team that’s willing to adapt to today’s Selling 2.0 Ecosystem. Social sellers by default, we’re eager to join your team and close your deals.
Will you give us a shot?
You can make a lot of money in sales. Actually, you will make a lot of money in sales if you stick with us! Stay curious, keep learning, experiment with different selling styles and the money will follow.
Let’s take a look at some of the highest paying sales jobs for new grads and how to land one.
Whether you’re in sales already or are looking to make a complete career change, the perfect sales job for you is out there. Below is a list of some of the highest paying sales jobs in 2016. Go get ’em!
1. Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Common positions in this field are Stockbrokers and Investment Bankers. These people buy and sell a wide variety of securities (i.e. stocks and bonds) or commodities (i.e. oil and gold) for clients or financial institutions. They also watch financial markets nationally and globally to recognize trends and to make the most money based off of the buying and selling within the market.
Top securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents make upwards of $100,000 per year. Because of the specialized nature of this job, most stockbrokers have a bachelor’s degree. Stockbrokers interested in rising in the ranks often have an MBA, or are pursuing one.
2. Sales Engineers
Sales Engineers sell scientific and technological products or services to businesses. They are just like any other salesperson in that they still have to persuade a business or an individual to buy the product they are selling, but they are also experts in the field and have complex knowledge of the field they are involved in.
Top sales engineers can earn more than $90,000 per year. So if you have a background in a science and/or technology, a lot of sales engineers have bachelor’s degrees in a related field, or at the very least they have related technical experience.
3. Sales Representatives: Wholesale and Manufacturing
Sales Representatives in wholesale and manufacturing handle the in-between from manufacturers to consumers by selling to the businesses and government agencies that use their employer’s products or services. A lot of training for these positions is done on the job, which is helpful for people looking to make a change or for recent college graduates to get a start in the industry.
The median salary for these types of positions sits right around $60,000 per year. Depending on the market that you are working in (e.g., a technical or scientific field) you stand to earn a higher salary.
4. Advertising Sales
Finally, we have advertising sales. Advertising Sales Agents sell advertising space, either within a specific company or as part of an agency servicing a wide variety of clients. This may include selling advertising space within radio, television, and published works such as magazines and newspapers.
Unlike the other sales positions on this list, the typical education for an entry-level advertising sales agent is a high school diploma. This is a great first sales job and can open the doors to other sales positions. Advertising sales agents earn around $50,000 per year.
There’s no reason why you can’t make the switch to earn more out of your career. A lot of these jobs require specialized experience, but extensive training in sales and a background in a related field could be enough for you to get your foot in the door.
Sales still has a bit of a bad rap these days: best-selling author Daniel Pink found that the most common adjectives used to describe salespeople are dishonest, sleazy, and yuck. Ouch.
This negative (and inaccurate) perception of the profession often deters people from pursuing sales as a career. And that’s too bad because the data shows being a salesperson is kind of the best.
Here are 4 data-backed reasons why a job in sales is amazing.
You’re always in demand
The reports of sales’ death have been greatly exaggerated. The rise of the empowered buyer means that buyers have many more information-gathering resources available to them. But that has made the buying process that much more complicated and difficult to navigate. According to Gartner’s analysis, this has made the sales force more important than ever because buyers need a knowledgeable and trustworthy salesperson to help them through their buying process. In fact, direct interactions with salespeople are the most influential activity for B2B buyers in their decision to purchase.
Companies understand the value of great salespeople. On average, the sales team is about 30% of the total headcount for larger companies and 40-50% for smaller companies. This is why sales jobs are often the most in demand. A recent CareerBuilder survey found the top department that companies are increasing their headcount is in sales: 36% of companies surveyed planned to increase their sales hiring.
You’ve got the most versatile career development
An analysis of millions of LinkedIn profiles found that sales is the most common career transition. This means that sales is the profession with the most number of members transitioning into sales from other careers. This is also true vice versa, a foundation in sales can lead to some amazing career paths. For example, 20% of Fortune 500 CEOs started out in sales roles.
(LinkedIn’s Economic Graph: sales = dark blue)
You’re making bank
Selling isn’t easy. A job that requires a versatile set of skills to be successful means salespeople are among highest paid people in a company. According to The Bridge Group’s 2015 survey, the average base salary of a B2B inside sales rep is $60,000 with an average on-target earnings of $118,000. That’s more than twice the median for all other professions according to the Labor Department.
The cherry on top? Recent data from the Labor Department found that sales enjoyed the biggest increase in compensation compared to all other roles: a 6.2% increase.
You might regret it if you don’t
A survey of business leaders found that they considered “strong sales skills”as a top 10 critical skill of today’s workplace. According to Harvard Business School graduates who went on to become entrepreneurs, the biggest skills gap they had before founding their company was “a lack of sales experience.”
So whether you want to become a superstar in your organization or strike out on your own and start your own company, the selling skills you’ll gain are going to be invaluable. And it’s a pretty fun – and lucrative – ride along the way.
Still want more? Follow Ideal all over the internet!
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