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Why Every College Graduate Should Take a Job in Sales

POSTED 04/16/2014
By Mike Kamo

As a college graduate , you may turn your nose up at the very idea of taking a job in sales. You may consider it a step down, or maybe beneath your qualifications depending on what you majored in. I get where you’re coming from, but that’s looking at it in completely the wrong way. I’m not saying you should look into a career in sales (although that is an excellent choice), just that you should look at taking a job in sales for the time being.

Do you consider yourself overqualified for sales? Instead of thinking that’s a bad thing, think of it as an advantage. The low barrier to entry should make it all the more easy for you to get hired. “But why would I want to get hired in sales in the first place?” you ask. Because working in sales will teach you valuable transferable skills, pad your resume, and above all pad your wallet with unlimited income potential.

You may need to reconsider your initial opinions about sales jobs and start thinking about them as an opportunity; a valuable way to spend your time after graduation. Taking a job in sales will allow you to earn money to pay off your student loans, learn transferable skills, and ultimately make yourself a more qualified candidate for your next job. Throughout this post I’ll make the case why every college graduate should take a job in sales, how it can benefit them, and how the skills learned in sales will be invaluable to their career in the future.

Tremendous Earning Potential

If you’re a graduate looking to make money to pay off your student loans after college, it’s hard to beat the earning potential of a sales job. Looking at salary information for sales jobs on Glassdoor shows the national median is $60,957 per year.

National Sales Salary from Glassdoor

The national median salary for sales jobs is $60,957 /year.

The median could be even higher depending on where you live so I recommend visiting Glassdoor and looking at salary information for your particular city. To see how the earnings broke down, I browsed through Glassdoor and clicked on a commission-oriented sales job with a salary that looked appealing. Here’s what I found:

Sales Salary in New York City

Sales jobs can command 100% bonuses.

This internet security company offers a generous salary of $28K to $45K, with the opportunity to earn anywhere from $6,000 to $36,000 in commission on top of your base salary. That works out to an average salary of about $54,000 for a sales employee at this company. Of course that number could go up or down depending on your performance. The more you sell, the more commission you make, which leaves the earning potential wide open.

It Doesn’t Matter What You Majored In

Wondering what kind of experience you need to get this job? Well, to be honest, not a whole lot. The posting for this job reads:

“Many positions require years of experience leaving recent college graduates on the out’s before they even get their foot in the door. Comodo is a leading Internet Security provider, and is looking to expand our team by training fresh talent. Here at Comodo it’s not always what you have done in your past, but what you are able to do with your future.”

Postings like that are not uncommon in sales. Don’t worry if you didn’t go to school for business, or commerce, or for any reason feel as though you don’t have what they’re looking for. It generally doesn’t matter what you majored in, or what your level of experience is. A quick look through entry level sales jobs will show you the majority of them are just looking for a bachelors degree in an unspecified field.

Again, that’s just a snapshot of one of the many potential sales jobs out there. Use Glassdoor to find a lucrative sales job in your area. Nearly 12.3% of all the jobs in the U.S. are full time sales positions, so I trust you’ll have many to choose from regardless of where you live.

Sales Jobs Teach You Invaluable Life Skills

Money isn’t the only reason to take a sales job. The skills you learn while working in sales are almost always transferable to your next job, or just useful for life in general.

young man multi-tasking while working from home

As a salesperson you learn to juggle responsibilities, while adding to your skillset.

Here are a few of the skills you can expect to learn while working in sales:

1. Interpersonal Skills

While working in sales you’ll be spending most of the day communicating with people. You’ll learn how to be persuasive, yet genuine as well as helpful but efficient. The personality types you’ll encounter working in sales will prepare you for working with diverse groups of people in your next job.

2. Time Management

In sales you’re never working on just one job at a time, you’re trying to close multiple sales and balance them all at once. It takes an effective use of time to close those deals and hit your sales goals for the month. Learning how to manage time wisely will help you be more efficient in any job you move on to next.

3. Ability To Manage Stress

Balancing multiple sales leads and trying to hit sales goals for the end of the month is a stressful situation. In fact, sales is one of the most stressful jobs you can have. But the truth is, stress comes with any job. The more you learn how to manage stress the less it will affect you in future jobs.

4. Persistence

Perhaps the most important skill you’ll learn from working in sales is how to be persistent and not give up on your goals. It takes at least seven points of contact with a customer before they’re ready to buy. That means you have to be able to push through objections and rejections, and keep working on that lead until you close the sale.

These are a few of the many skills you’ll learn while working in sales that will help you out in life, and in any other job you have in the future.

Taking A Sales Job Looks Good On Your Resume

In addition to the money you’ll earn and skills you’ll acquire while working in sales, another reason to consider taking this kind of job is because it looks good on a resume when applying for your next job.

The employer will appreciate you kept yourself employed after college, and you’ll avoid having to answer any awkward questions about gaps in employment on your resume. If an employer sees you went several months without a job after college, they will ask what you have been doing in the mean time. It’s much better if you can tell them you have been working a job, any job, instead of doing nothing constructive.

If they ask about your sales job, that’s a perfect opportunity to sell yourself on the experience you’ve gained–what you learned, challenges you had to overcome, and how your skills as a salesperson make you an ideal candidate for the job you’re applying for.

You Can Set Your Own Schedule

Not ready to be stuck to a desk after graduation? This might be where you find you really love sales. A lot of sales jobs offer the freedom to set your own schedule. As a salesperson working on commission, you can work when it suits you. You can pick and choose when to follow up on leads and meet with potential clients.

happy young man smiling

Sales definitely has its perks.

If you have other things you want to do after graduation before being tied down by a career, sales gives you the ability to do that while earning money at the same time.

Give Sales the Old College Try

A sales job is something every college graduate should do at least once. Taking a sales job has the potential to fast track yourself out of student debt, teach you valuable skills, and provide you with experience to get you further in life and your career.

Jagged Edge Media JAcom Consultants