Most sales positions involve totaling bills, receiving money, making change, giving receipts and providing good customer service.
Industry specific sales positions may require extensive knowledge of a product or service.
Entry level sales jobs, particularly cashier positions are often part-time positions that offer minimum wage salaries.
More professional jobs are usually full time and may either offer a salary, wages by commission only or a combination of the two.
Internal & External Sales Positions
Sales jobs are often classified as either inside sales or outside sales.
Outside sales positions require frequent travel and are typically more based out of the employee’s car than inside an office or store. Examples of outside sales positions are pharmaceutical sales and radio and television advertising sales.
Inside sales range from retail clothing sales to cashier positions.
Employment Prospects for Sales Jobs
Jobs for cashiers and retail sales clerks have an extremely high turnover rate due to the number of individuals who find work in other occupations. Due to this fact there is an almost constant replacement need for cashiers.
Counter clerk jobs can be found in such environments as videotape rental stores, dry cleaners, moving van companies and tool/equipment rental stores. Job opportunities are expected to be ample, particularly for part-time positions.
Job opportunities for demonstrators are expected to be good, although there is an element of competition in this field due to the fact that the primary purpose of a demonstrator’s job is to arouse customer interest in a product or service. Demonstrators are primarily found in the housewares and food sections of supermarkets and departments stores as well as cosmetic counters.
Insurance sales are expected to grow at a slower than average rate. The best opportunities in insurance sales are available for individuals who have proven insurance sales track records and advanced education.
Occupations in real estate are expected to be one of the slowest growing employment prospects through the year 2012.
Job prospects in securities and commodities are anticipated to grow at an average rate through the next several years as individuals increase their level of investing. Securities and commodities employment prospects may be found in brokerage firms as well as call centers.
Sales representative jobs are expected to grow at an average rate for the next few years. Small wholesale and manufacturing firms will offer the largest number of employment opportunities for sales representatives.
Job Search for Sales Jobs
Many sales jobs are found either by word of mouth or by help wanted signs posted in places of business. Sales jobs that are considered to be professional in nature, such as pharmaceutical sales and other marketing positions, may be found through the use of recruiting and employment agencies.
Job seekers who are willing to relocate find that job posting boards can be advantageous as well as resume distribution services.
Cover Letters for Sales Jobs
A sales cover letter provides an opportunity for the job seeker to expound on their resume and discuss in further detail their key accomplishments and how they can help the employer to meet their sales objectives.
At a minimum, the letter should mention how the job seeker heard about the opening. This statement should be made in the first line of the cover letter.
The job seeker should take a moment to discuss how their experience and accomplishments relate to the open position.
Additionally, confident job seekers should not be afraid to boast about their past sales records.
Finally, the cover letter should summarize what the job seeker can offer the employer and end with a request for an interview or a statement about when the job seeker will contact the employer to follow-up.
Resumes for Sales Jobs
Individuals who are looking for work in retail sales may find that a functional resume best suits their needs. A functional resume is designed to highlight skills and does not focus on work history and experience.
This type of resume is ideal for someone who has held a variety of positions.
Persons who are looking at professional sales and marketing positions might better utilize a combination chronological and functional resume. This type of resume should focus heavily on action and achievements.
The job seeker should include a power packed track record, demonstrating the accomplishments they have met for other employers.
Training & Qualifications for Sales Jobs
Most individuals employed in sales positions receive on the job training, although a small number of positions do require a minimal amount of education and licensure. This mainly occurs in insurance and real estate sales positions.
Attending classes and seminars on topics in customer service can be beneficial for sales and counter clerk positions.
Employers who are looking to fill professional sales positions typically require candidates with a proven sales track record, resulting in a three year experience minimum. This requirement can be tough to combat for persons switching careers or just starting out.
Some job seekers who lack the requisite amount of sales experience find they can overcome this obstacle by doing their research, having a confident can-do attitude and most importantly by selling themselves and their belief in their own abilities.