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How to secure a job in sales

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Author:by Lauren Dono

Lauren Dono, expert sales recruiter, shares her advice on how candidates can stand out from the crowd when applying for sales jobs in 2024.

When you look for that next great job opportunity, you’re essentially entering a competition that will inevitably have many contenders - but usually only one winner.

In the same way that businesses want to stand out against their competitors in the market, sales candidates need to make sure they distinguish themselves too.

After all, if you are in sales, building rapport and being a great communicator are core to your professional offering, which is why prospective employers are bound to have high expectations about your ability to sell yourself as a first class candidate.

Here’s our guide on how to set yourself apart as the best person for the job when applying for a sales job.

Make sure your CV is up to scratch

Treat your CV as the start of your personal sales campaign for the company you are applying to. To do this:

  • Make sure the dates (month and year) are accurate and be ready to explain all gaps in employment

  • Use bullet points to list your achievements and duties in previous jobs (rather than writing in long paragraphs which are hard to read)

  • Use spell check and proofread your CV before sending so you don't miss out because of a simple typo.

  • Incorporate keywords and synonyms from the job listing and sales specific terminology

  • Take care to mention one or two professional experiences that relate directly to the role

  • Always update your LinkedIn profile to complement your CV as you never know whose eye you might unexpectedly catch.

For customer-facing roles, some clients will look at previous hospitality or retail experience, so ensure you put all your customer experience on the CV.

And an additional hint: try not to jump around too much from job to job. Job hopping isn't as frowned upon as it has been in the past, but employers will still prefer candidates who have demonstrated loyalty and dedication by sticking with jobs for at least a year.

Make networking your secret weapon

Networking is an extremely important skill when it comes to sales, so it makes sense to demonstrate this proactive initiative in your job search. Take a look through your LinkedIn contacts to see if you already know someone in the organisation which you are applying to, connect with them where appropriate and feel free to ask any pertinent questions you might have. Gathering additional information about the company and having a warm lead could give you the winning edge over other candidates.

Focus on your skills and attributes

When applying for sales jobs, even if you have minimal sales experience, taking the time to come up with personal examples that demonstrate those transferable skills that are highly sought after in the industry can prove to be invaluable.

Relationship building can be demonstrated from time in customer service roles, presenting skills are often built during GCSE, A-Level, or degree projects, and objection handling is honed when you deal with customer complaints.

Most skills required in your sales career will have been developed in your early experience of work or education.

How to prepare for a sales interview

If you are in the fortunate position to secure an interview, make sure you fully research the company and ask what sort of interview it is, so you can prepare accordingly and feel confident about it.

To prepare for an interview, it’s important to:

  • Read the job description carefully and understand what skills and experience the employer is looking for.

  • Thoroughly research the company’s website and social media channels.

  • Look over your CV or application form and think about what the interviewer might ask you.

  • Prepare some examples from your past experience to refer to in the interview.

Further Sales Job Interview Advice

A lot of sales interviews are based around personality, not skill, so if you get an interview when you have limited experience, make sure you be yourself and let your personality shine through.

The interview is your chance to showcase your interpersonal and verbal communication skills, which will be a reliable indicator of your performance in a sales role. Bearing this in mind:

  • Be prepared to deliver a concise, energetic pitch about who you are, what you have achieved, and your future goals.

  • Demonstrate that you are a genuine people person. This means making eye contact, smiling and steering the interview into a meaningful conversation.

  • Do your research and show that you deeply understand and believe in the product or services you will ultimately sell.

If you're looking for your next sales job or would like more advice about CVs, interviews and sales careers, get in touch with our team today.

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