Friday 24 August 2018

How to Get an Entry Level Sales Job

You may have discovered that your personality type is perfectly suited to a sales position. Sales jobs, despite the stereotypes, are not best carried out by people who are pushy, aggressive, and egotistical in their approach to dealing with customers. In fact, the best salespeople are modest and humble. In addition, if you are the kind of person who is highly conscientious (responsible and reliable), people-oriented, achievement-oriented, curious, and never discouraged by a challenge, then sales could be the right career path for you.

Finding a high-quality entry level sales job with good prospects can be a challenge. But there are many things you can do to make you an attractive candidate. Recruiters will want to see that you have the necessary experience and skills to excel in the position.

Work Experience

During 6th form, you’ll most likely get the opportunity to gain some work experience. If you want to increase your chances of getting an entry level sales job, then it’s worth specifically looking for short-term placements (usually 1-2 weeks, but sometimes longer) where you can get some sales work experience. Many larger companies, such as Microsoft, Nestle, Nissan, and Unilever offer summer placements.

If you’re still in school or studying at university, then it may be worth looking for part-time work. This would put you at a significant advantage over other candidates applying for an entry level sales job. There are plenty of jobs in retail, hospitality, and telesales available on a part-time basis. For instance, you could get relevant experience by working as a retail sales assistant.


Another option is to do an internship. These will also be a short-term commitment (usually ranging from a few weeks up to a few months), so they can easily be done during the summer holidays (if you’re at school or university) or after graduation. Some internships are longer term. For example, big companies like Microsoft and Nestle – as well as offering work placements – have opportunities for one-year industrial internships in sales or customer management.

Other recruiters offer internships in sales, marketing, or general management that act as a fast-track to graduate sales positions. Before agreeing to an unpaid internship, it’s important to find out, firstly, whether you can actually afford it. Many unpaid internships are full-time and based in London, so take into account all of the costs involved. Also, you need to figure out whether the internship is technically legal. You’re entitled to the minimum wage if you will be:

·         working set hours
·         doing work that would otherwise be done by an employee
·         working unsupervised
·         working under a contract (whether implied or explicitly expressed)
·         working to deadlines
·         managing staff

Basically, when you see a listing for an internship, or you’re interviewed for one, if it seems like you’ll be doing work which you would normally be paid for, then you probably should be paid for it.

Attending relevant networking events is another way to give you important insight into what a sales job is like, as well as help you to build essential skills, such as communication, active listening, and rapport building.

Skills That Look Good on a CV

Whether you do an internship, a work placement, or a part-time job, there are certain skills you can develop that will make you an ideal candidate for an entry level sales position. These skills include:

·         Communication
·         Product knowledge
·         Active listening
·         Rapport building
·         Teamwork
·         Negotiation
·         Networking
·         Customer service
·         Marketing
·         Management
·         Public relations
·         Persuasion
·         Public speaking
·         Presentation skills

Remember, though, you don’t just want to list these skills on your CV without any evidence to back them up. That’s easy, generic, and unimpressive. An employer will want to know specific examples of how you developed these skills, put them into practice, and achieved results and progress because of them.

A Relevant Degree

Earning a degree that is related to sales is not necessary to get you an entry level job. But it can give you a massive leg up. After all, the graduate jobs market is highly competitive. According to one Master Avenue’s 2018 survey, the degrees most likely to get you a sales job include Economics, Business Administration, and Marketing.

If you’ve already got a degree under your belt and it doesn’t really tie into sales, don’t worry – there’s no need to go back to university and pay for another degree. There are plenty of free online courses to help you gain the knowledge that will make you a prime candidate for an entry level sales job.

Ultimately, employers are looking for graduates who have relevant experience and who show commitment to their career progression. It is expected that 32% of a recruiter’s entry level sales jobs will be taken up by graduates with previous experience of working for that company. This means that getting a work placement or paid internship at a company you would love to work for will give you the best chances of landing a fulfilling and promising entry level job.

Guest Post: Sam Woolfe writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs. He is particularly interested in self-development, psychology, mental health, and the future of work. Most of all, though, Sam is passionate about helping people find work that is meaningful and fulfilling. You can follow him on Twitter and find more of his work at

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