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CAREER TRACKS

Sales

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Assess Your Interests, Skills

The first step in beginning your career journey is to assess your interests, skills, strengths, goals, values, and self to better understand your story and give you career direction.  Then, we can help you reflect on your story and create career exploration goals.

Interests: Know your interests, as they may help to align you with organizations and possible job titles representing a match based on your likes/dislikes. Use these tools below to clarify your interests and possible career ideas based on interests.

  • Career Cruising - Career Cruising can help you assess your interests, values and skills and recommend career options, graduate programs or career paths that may be a fit for you.

  • MyNextMove - Explore career options and interests by keyword or industry, or take their short assessment to find potential career matches based on interests.

  • Strong Interest Inventory (SII) - The SII is a widely respected career interest inventory designed to help people find a fit between their personalities and work. It compares your interests and preferences to people in general and to people who have been happy and satisfied in their careers. The results from the SII identify careers that best fit a person’s interests.

Values: Know your values, as they may help to align you with potential work environments and organizations that match your passion(s) and core belief(s). Use these tools below to clarify your values and identify possible career ideas based on your values.

  • Imperative - This on-line tool will help you evaluate how you can bring meaning and authenticity to your work, as you identify your passion and core values, around work. The initial assessment is free, and can be brought to an appointment with us, for more conversation.

Skills/Strengths: Know your skills and strengths, as they may help to align you with well suited job titles, work tasks and work environments. Use these tools below to clarify your skills/strengths and possible career ideas based on your talents and skills.

  • Career Onestop - Take this short skills assessment to learn more about your skills and how they match up to potential career ideas.

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. It is one of the most widely used instruments for understanding personality differences and is widely used to understand people in terms of their decision-making styles, preferences for communication and work environments, and for career development and exploration.

Get Help

Want some coaching on where to begin?  Not sure which Career Track is right for you?  Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”. We’ll be happy to talk more about your Career Track options and explore your interests and skills together, in a coaching relationship.

 Explore Your Track

You can find the role of sales in almost every business. It might be behind the scenes or upfront, but most organizations depend on their sales professionals to spread the word about what products/services they have to offer.

Careers in sales are often defined as B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-customer).

  • In a B2B sales role, you are usually selling a product from a wholesaler to another business.
  • In a B2C sales job, you generally sell the product or service directly to the consumer.

Another way the industry is structured is as “inside” or “outside” sales.

  • Inside sales roles are often entry-level positions which require the selling of a product or service by phone rather than face-to-face.
  • Outside sales roles require travelling to sell and build relationships with clients in person.

Success in sales roles is determined by the number of connections made with new and existing clients, as well as revenue generated from those clients.

Necessary Skills

Sales roles are centered around strong communication and interpersonal skills. Above all, to pursue a career in sales, you must have a passion for working with people. Additional skills/abilities include:

  • Build and cultivate client relationships
  • Take initiative and a be a self-starter
  • Demonstrate exceptional customer service
  • Think critically and creatively
  • Be driven to deliver results and thrive in a competitive setting
  • Ability to travel and work flexible work schedules
  • Ability to learn quickly and adapt

Typical Entry Level Jobs

It is helpful to remember that sales is predominantly a job function within industry, and a sales position need not only be set in a car dealership. In fact, sales can be a great way to make a career out of a passion or a hobby. Love sports? Have you considered working in ticket sales?

When exploring positions, also consider the organization’s size and setting. These characteristics will help you understand training and development, and your potential for growth.

An entry level role in sales is most often referred to simply as a “Sales Associate” or “Sales Representative”. Other entry level titles include:

  • Sales Executive
  • Sales Consultant
  • Account Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Sales and Marketing Representative
  • Sales/Business Development Representative
  • Insides Sales Representative

Industry Trends

Sales roles are highly dependent upon the overall economic climate - when the economy is growing, employment opportunities in sales tend to grow as well.

The field of sales is divided into various categories depending upon the relationship of the good or service being sold to the end-buyer: Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C)

Some goods and services being sold might require a specific level of technical knowledge, while others require licensing to be able to practice in the field.

Below are some resources about careers and required certifications/licenses to practice in particular industries as a Sales Professional

Connect with Professionals

Armed with some background information and ideas, connecting with professionals can offer next level insights and answer more specific questions.

Networking Resources on The Career Center website

Campus Resources

There are a few student organizations on campus with sales as a focus. Below are some groups you may consider joining. See Maize Pages for a complete list of UM student organizations:

  • Michigan Sales Club
  • Pi Sigma Epsilon

In addition to student organizations, there is an academic program offered on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus called the Cappo Sales Track

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups - Beyond just joining LinkedIn, groups are a great way to expand one’s network, contribute to a community, and get questions answered.

Professional Associations

Professional associations offer great insight.

  • National Association of Sales Professionals
  • National Sales Network
  • The Sales Management Association
  • American Association of Inside Sales Professionals

Action Steps

Get Help

Want some coaching around navigating your Career Track?  Interested in talking with a Career Coach about your exploration of a Career Track?

Attend a Career Center Program/Workshop to learn more about your Career Track in group formats.

Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”.

Before Your Appointment: Explore and engage with the tools and links in Explore Your Career Track;Complete the 3,2,1 reflection exercise; Attend a Career Crawl/Workshop related to your Career Track.

3,2,1

You have been exploring your Career Track, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your career exploration questions.

3   -  What are three take-aways from your exploration of this Career Track?

2   -  What are two questions that you have/ what are you questioning now?

1   -  What is 1 specific action step you plan to take, to answer your 2 questions?

 Launch Your Job or Internship Search

Job Internship Search Essentials

Hiring Timelines:

One of the great things about Sales is that many organization are always looking to hire as their business grows. Many of the organizations who recruit on campus for sales positions are open to recruiting in the traditional Fall and Winter timelines, but also often have spots available for December and Summer grads.

Positions:

Remember, an entry level role in sales is most often referred to simply as a “Sales Associate” or “Sales Representative”. Other entry level titles include:

  • Sales Executive
  • Sales Consultant
  • Account Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Sales and Marketing Representative
  • Sales/Business Development Representative
  • Insides Sales Representative

Connect with Professionals

A referral from a contact goes a long way when looking for a job. Utilize the groups you have been contributing to on LinkedIn as one valuable referral source.

Using LinkedIn to Find a Job or Internship

Check out this article: 15 Must-Join LinkedIn Groups for Sales Professionals

LinkedIn can be a great place to start finding specific groups (search “sales” in the main search bar and then filter by “companies” and whatever other filters are important to you).

In the end, you want to talk with the people who work in your field as networking is incredibly important in this job search. We recommend starting on LinkedIn. Our favorite tool is the “Find Alumni” feature (under the “connections” tab) to find professionals in your intended field to reach out to. Of course, don’t forget about the wonderful alumni clubs as well! Find the alumni club for your target areas and reach out!

Internship Posting Sites

With Handshake at your fingertips, there are hundreds of jobs specifically looking for you as a University of Michigan student.

Use the “Job Search” filter to narrow down your search to specific areas.

You might try: Business Development, Sales, Real Estate, Healthcare Services, IT, Product Management

 

Job/Internship posting sites are a not a primary recruiting tool for organizations and should be a small part of your job search efforts; however, many students begin their job search on job search boards. Some of the popular ones are:

While job searches are a great place to start, online search engines are not the most effective tool for most of you. We recommend focusing on specific companies of interest, doing your research about those companies, and connecting with real professionals in those companies.

Resumes CVs

For the basics of a great resume, check out our resume resources page.

Hiring Managers for a Sales position are really interested in results. Be sure to quantify whenever you can to show the value your work contributed to the organization.

Here’s a helpful article to think about crafting your resume with little or no direct sales experience.

Interviewing

For interview basics, check out our interviewing resources page.

To prepare specifically for interviews in this field, remember to research the organizations of interest and the field broadly. You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and interest through your own preparation and research. In addition, think through the specific skills you will need to do the job and thus will likely be asked about!’

Below are a few articles to start with as you think about questions specific to your interest areas:

Action Steps

Get Help

Want some coaching around launching your Career Track?  Interested in gaining experience including securing Internships or looking for Jobs?  

Attend a Career Center Program/Workshop to connect with employers and organizations that represent opportunities in your Career Track.

Make an appointment on Handshake for “Internship Search”, or “Job Search”

Before Your Appointment: Explore and engage with the tools and links in Launch Your Career Track;Complete the 3,2,1 reflection exercise; Attend a Career Crawl/Workshop related to your Career Track.

3,2,1

You have been launching your job/internship search, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your job/internship search questions.

3   -  What are three take-aways from exploring the resources in "Launching Your Job/Internship Search"?

2   -  What are two questions that you still have/what are you questioning now?

1   -  What is 1 specific action step to help answer your 2 questions?

 

 

Photo Credit: Tiago Gerken