How to Get a Sales Job - Without Experience

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Working in sales can be very rewarding. For many people, myself included, sales allows you to work with people and provide them with the best products or services you can. Because it's a competitive career, it attracts people who are aggressive and high achievers. Not only is it a fun career, but it can also be a high paying one as well.


It's a common misconception that you have to have previous sales experience in order to find a good sales job. That couldn't be further from the truth. Even if you don't have experience, you can still find a great job. There are many companies that would take a chance on new talent, but the key is to sell yourself and show them why you are the best choice for the job.


If you want to get a great job in sales, there are a few things you can do to raise your odds of getting hired:


Do your research. An article from discusses how important it is to know a lot about the company you want to work for. You need to know what they do, who their customers are and what their corporate culture is all about. It helps to talk with both current and previous employees to find out more about what it's like to work there. Then, during the interview, you can mention the things you've learned. For example, you can say, "I was having lunch with [the name of a salesperson at the company], and we were discussing the challenges facing your company," or you could say, "I spent an hour on your website, and I really like your mission statement..." Your research should let you know what issues are important to the company and allow you to create the best sales pitch.


Have a plan. You have to know what you want to do and how you plan on getting there. Think about what type of sales you are interested in and apply for specific jobs. Many people who are looking for sales jobs try to keep their options open and end up losing out on jobs because they didn't specify the job they wanted. Instead, they left things open, hoping that the hiring manager will offer them a job that they think is best for them. This rarely works. Instead, know what you want and be sure to customize your resume for every job.


Show your value. With all of the research you've done, you're bound to have lots of information about the company. Use this information to find out a problem the company is having or a need that isn't being met. Then, come up with a couple of ideas that would help. During the interview, discuss your strategy. This is a great way to really show a hiring manager why you are a great fit for the job. The beauty of this is that your ideas or your assesment of the problems facing the company don't even have to be right. Just the fact that you are willing to look at the company's needs is impressive all on it's own.


Get your resume right. It's so important to customize your resume for every job. Then, make sure that it has a clean layout without too many distractions. Proofread it, making sure that there are no errors, and be sure to never lie. Lying won't help you very much, and besides, information is too easily verifiable to make it a good gamble. The main thing is to make sure that your resume shows you in your best light. It might sound like a lot of work, but your resume is basically your first presentation to the employer. This is your chance to show them who you are and what you're all about, make sure that it says what you want.


Be willing to prove yourself. Without previous sales experience, you'll probably be offered an entry-level position. From there, you'll have to prove yourself. Although promotions aren't hard to come by for great salespeople, you'll have to be ready to really work for them. Sales is an industry that has a very high turnover for entry-level work. People quickly find out if they are cut out for sales or not, so you'll have to work harder and better in order to stand out. The good news is that if you can rise to the challenge, you can earn more and be promoted more quickly.


Working in sales isn't for everyone. If you read these tips and think that they sound like too much work and planning for a job you may not get, then you may not be cut out for the job. The unique thing about sales careers is that they require a lot of work and planning and how well you can sell both yourself and your product is the only thing that lands you the sale. 


Did you start in sales without previous sales experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks Evan. Knowing where you want to go is half the battle. Congrats on your promotions!
  • evan h
    evan h
    Annual reviews would come around. My great boss would ask: where do you see yourself going with this company?I always answered: Your job, sir.I got promoted 4 times. Just to say: don't ask, don't get.
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