This article is no longer listed, please search the site for up to date articles

Here we have answered the most common questions from our graduate readers.

Do I need a degree?

Increasingly those going into sales are entering at a graduate level. For some of the bigger companies, graduate schemes are used and into these the top graduates will be recruited. It is possible however to work your way into sales with the suitable experience without a degree. There has though been a marked increase in the number of sales jobs for graduates recently and so it is an industry where seemingly a degree is very much desired.

Which subjects help?

Any degree discipline allows you to enter sales. From anthropology to zoology, a career in sales is available to all graduates as long as they possess the relevant skills. However, some degrees will lend themselves towards certain sectors better than others.

Someone who has studied biomedical sciences or pharmacology would fit very well into a job in pharmaceutical sales as would someone who studied an IT related subject be naturally suited for working in IT sales.

This may elevate you above some of the competition these areas are not exclusively for those who have studied a related subject, as most companies will want people from a wider range of backgrounds.

What work experience is useful?

It is essential to be able to show an employer that you both have the skills set required, and an interest in, working in a sector. Any experience and knowledge of the sector you are applying for is also extremely useful. Experience of direct selling can also be handy as well as working in telesales.

Is it worth doing training courses?

This is not common for those starting out in the industry. However some companies specialise in providing courses that will be endorsed by an institute. These may help some candidates wanting to enter the profession, especially if they cannot show any relevant work experience. Training is more common for those already on their career paths, although this too is not widespread.

What are my career prospects?

Progressing in your career in sales will depend on how good you are and where your skills lie. If a company feels you have excellent selling skills then you may be pushed to working in field sales and here the rewards can be higher. It is also possible to move on to management or heading up teams of salespeople as you progress.

How much can I expect to earn?

This can depend on location of the business you work for, the type of company it is and the length of experience you have. A basic graduate salary is somewhere in the region of £18,000–£23,000 with the possibility of adding to this with commission.

Are there any international opportunities?

This is certainly possible for those working for companies that sell their service/product in different countries. It is unlikely, however, that this opportunity will be given to those who have not proved themselves first.

What is the lifestyle like?

Working in sales can be highly competitive with pressure to hit targets. Especially for those setting themselves higher targets to earn more, then the time spent working on proposals and researching possible clients can be much greater than others. However, for those wishing to work a nine to five day, this can be done, but be prepared not to earn as much as some of your colleagues who put in more work.

For some the lifestyle can be especially hard (or perhaps more exciting) as time may be spent pitching to clients on the road.

Back to Top