Sales Jobs: Getting In Without Formal Selling Experience
Sales jobs are plentiful in good times and bad times.
There may be sales jobs you know you can do but don't apply for. That's usually because you assume you won't be hired because you've never held an official sales job. Don't assume that.
Instead, inventory your past, all the way back to your childhood, for situations in which you not only sold but did well at it. Then translate all that into the concepts and language of sales jobs and create resumes, cover letters, and interview scripts which you use to nail down a formal selling job. You get those concepts and language from analyzing job descriptions for sales representatives which are online among the help wanted.
Here is what might turn up in your background:
- Grew up helping in family or neighbor businesses which involved selling
- Sold plenty of "whatevers" for all those fundraisers
- Actually planned the strategy and logistics for fundraisers
- Seasoned seller on eBay
- Organized group flea markets
- Sold property [your own] in down markets
- Lasted as a telemarketer
- Coached jobless who did get employment
Where possible, quantify, such as worked in family restaurant business 12 years, generating 24 percent incremental income by upselling or sold four houses in depressed markets, with no loss.
The trick is to present yourself from a position of strength, not from the position of weakness. The latter results from concluding that, because you haven't held a job labeled sales, you are unqualified. Think of it this way: sales is binary. Either you make the sale or you don't. If you have made sales happen, yes, others need to hire you. Let them know just that or, in other words, sell yourself for that specific sales job.
Jane Genova, coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializes in transitions. Her talk on professional shifts at the New York State Bar Association has been published in VITAL SPEECHES OF THE DAY. Her latest book is OVER-50: HOW WE KEEP WORKING. She blogs on the subject at http://janegenova.com, http://lawandmore.typepad.com, http://careertransitions.typepad.com and http://over-50.typepad.com.more...