When You Have no Sales Experience


There is an ever present and all-industry challenge that many new to the job market are faced with: Getting a job without having any industry experience. This challenge is true with sales postions as well. While some eager to get into sales may solve this challenge by accepting an entry level job, others are "honestly creative" when it comes to positioning themselves to potential employers.

A Word on Honesty

Before we go any further, whatever you put on your resume and whatever is conveyed via email, texts or face to face conversations with a potential employee need to first past the litmus test of truth:

1.) Is how you are presenting yourself able to be proved?
2.) Are there others who can support your "claims of experience?"
3.) Are you nervous about an employer finding out that you didn't tell them the full truth?

If your position can not pass this test, do not present yourself to anyone as someone that you are not!

Finding Experience in Your Past

For those fresh out of college, coming up with viable sales experience can be a challenge. But when you realize that many employers look for other traits as often as they do for actual sales experience, your "resume building quest" can become much easier. For example, demonstrate how you are self-motivated and self-driven. Employers want sales professionals who don't need to be told what to do every second of the day. They want people with initiative who are willing to make mistakes over doing nothing.

Let employers know that you are "goal oriented" and focused on achieving your goals. Sales is a lot like sports, where by a goal is set and nothing is allowed to prevent you from reaching that goal. What goals have YOU set and worked tirelessly to accomplish?

Are you a "Time Management Master?" Sales professionals need to be able to effectively and efficiently manage several tasks during a typical work day. The last thing any employer wants is to hire someone who can't manage their time or, more importantly, doesn't fully understand how important time management skills are. If you have demonstrable time management skills, make sure those show up on your resume or during your interview.

Is your favorite color "green?" Let's face it, may of us in sales are "money motivated." Being so is not a bad thing in the eyes of an employer. The more you want to earn, the harder you will work. The more you earn, the more your employer will benefit as well. Make sure that you balance your drive for money with a commitment to earning money with integrity. The last thing an employer needs is a sales professionals who takes shortcuts, lies or makes promises they cannot deliver on to customers. How much do YOU want to earn and what are willing to do (and not do) to earn YOUR desired income?

Scrubbing Your Past

If you still feel that you need to show sales experience, scrub every past job, position or title you've held and see if you were "selling" anything without even knowing it. I've worked with a student interested in sales who was concerned about having never held a sales position. After a few minutes, he told me that he bought and sold cars while in college to earn enough money to pay for his books. He didn't see that experience as sales experience because he didn't see himself as a sales rep and had no interest in getting into the auto sales industry. I told him that his experience demonstrated many things that an employer would be looking for: He took initiative to solve a problem (needed money to pay for books.) He was self motivated and started his own business. He demonstrated time management skills as he juggled buying and selling cars with school work. And, last but not least, he had actual, real-world sales experience. While he wasn't employed as a sales rep, he did many of the things a sales rep needs to do.

A Final Word

Most everyone has sales experience in their past or at least has experience that required the skills that sales professionals need. For those looking for a job in sales and who have never held a sales position, all that is needed is taking a look at their life-experience with the eye of someone who would hire a sales professional.
Thomas Phelps
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Thomas Phelps is a professional life coach, focusing on small business owners, sales professionals and entrepreneurs. As a small business owner, Phelps works with clients around the world, providing both coaching and professional writing services.

Phelps is the creator of the "Essential Needs Sales Model" and has crafted a unique and highly effective sales coaching practice that helps turn struggling professionals into top achievers.

As a professional writer, Phelps has written countless articles on sales, management, personal development, business ownership and the pursuit of success. He is the Guide for Sales Careers on About.com, sales expert and featured author for the National Association of Sales Professionals (www.nasp.com) and works with businesses of all sizes in crafting compelling content that delivers results.

He is the author of two fiction novels and has ghost written two books for well known leaders in the personal development industry.