Career-Fair-picture-2So you’ve decided you want to get into sales. You’ve polished up your resume, decided on which industry and which job type fit you best. Now it’s time to find the job you want and get an interview. How can you go about doing that? This article will discuss the best ways to get an interview as a beginner. Keep in mind that these methods are not meant to be used one at a time. You should use all of them! Anything you can do to increase your exposure with recruiters and sales managers, the better!

Online Job Postings

Submitting your resume online can be effective in some cases. By law a person has to “review” every resume that is submitted for a job posting, to establish whether or not a candidate is qualified. This is done in order to comply as an “Equal Opportunity Employer”. However, to “review” a resume can simply be opening the file and closing it 5 seconds later. That’s why it is so important to grab attention quickly with your resume. Once you’ve submitted a resume online, make sure to follow up persistently by phone and email. See our section below on following up. Some great websites for your online job search include Salesjobs.com, Glassdoor, Indeed, SimplyHired, and LinkedIn.

Career Fairs

All universities host career fairs. These are typically generic events with all sorts of jobs available however sometimes universities will also host sales specific fairs. If you are a student at the university the event is free and even if you’re not, you may still attend for a small fee (typically $50-$75). Check the event schedules in the business department of the university you are looking for.

Do your research. In most cases there is a list of attending companies. Research the companies you are interested in, and some you’re not quite sure about. Nothing speaks louder to a recruiter than someone who is familiar with their firm and interested in a specific job opening they have. Asking relevant, insightful questions will differentiate you from the crowd.

Narrow down your pitch. You will be having quick, fast paced conversations with recruiters at each table and nobody likes a rambler. Be concise and elegant about why you would make a great hire. What value do you have to offer over the other candidates? Practice your pitch and know the basic structure well enough so you can adapt it to the individual companies you meet with.

Example career fair conversation:

You: Hi I’m Sarah

Recruiter: Hi Sarah I’m John. It’s great to meet you. Tell me about yourself

You: It’s great to meet you John. I’m graduating in June this year and I’m very interested in business to business sales. I’ve worked at a health club for several years and have had a lot of experience working with people and selling membership products and services. In my business courses I’ve studied consulting and IT solutions which is why I’m excited about the sales consultant opening at your company. 

Recruiter: That’s great! We have several openings for sales consultants and it sounds like you’d be a great fit. May I have a copy of your resume?

You: Of course. I saw that you are opening a new office in the downtown area. Which location are you hiring for the sales consultant position?

In this type of a conversation you are able to do several key things:

  • Mention your potential start date,
  • Talk about your previous work experience and why it’s important
  • Discuss your career aspirations
  • Provide a copy of your resume
  • Show that you’ve done your research and are actively pursuing that company

Follow up! Grab a business card from every recruiter you meet. Send them an email with an electronic copy of your resume as it will surely have gotten lost in the pile. Confirm your interest in the position and ask for them to contact you. If you don’t hear back in a week, give them a call. This is not pushy and in most cases recruiters will respect you if you are elegantly persistent. A big part of sales is constantly reaching out to prospects, so don’t treat recruiters any differently. They want to know that you’re persistent. If you have a LinkedIn profile which you should, it is a great idea to add these recruiters to your contacts.

A follow up email should be simple:

Hi John,

It was great meeting you at the career fair. I am very interested in the Sales Consultant opportunity we had discussed. I wanted to follow up with an electronic copy of my resume, and find out what the most logical next steps are to position myself as a candidate.

I’d love to speak more in depth with you about my resume and qualifications, and how I can apply them as a Sales Consultant with ABC Company. Please contact me any time by email or at 555-555-5555. Thank you for your time.

Best Regards,

Sarah Smith

Our next article will discuss the best ways to prepare for an interview, and what to expect from the interview process. Make sure to sign up for email updates and receive our articles weekly!