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Career Question: Should I Take a Sales Job?

Posted on the 11 November 2011 by Ncrimaldi @MsCareerGirl
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Dear Nicole,

I graduated college about 6 months ago with a marketing degree and have had a really tough time finding a full-time job.  I was offered a sales job a few days ago but I am reluctant to take it.  My mentor always told me that once you get into sales, you are no longer seen as a marketing person but a sales person and that it can easily change your whole career path.

I don’t want to be ungrateful or too picky, but ultimately my goal is to build my marketing skill set and add value to client projects (not to be a sales person).  What would you do?

Thanks

Kristina

Hi Kristina,

Thanks for your email!  I’m sure many people are in a similar situation and appreciate you asking this question.  In fact, I was in a similar situation about 6 years ago.

I graduated with a Finance degree and was offered a job in sales during my senior year of college. I was so thrilled to get a job offer so early but was concerned with the exact same thing: would my professional skill set grow if I took a job in sales? Would I be in sales forever?  Am I cut out for a job in sales?

Ultimately, I ended up taking the sales job and –believe it or not- having that sales job on my resume ended up helping me at interviews and in different work situations many times.

Regardless of what you do, knowing how to sell, overcome objections, handle rejection and close deals is a crucial for almost any profession- even marketing.  I only stayed at my 1st job for about 7 months before I took an opportunity in Commercial Banking (a job that really did develop my finance skill set and where I stayed for almost 3 years).

For me, sales was sort of like “business boot camp” for the real world: sales jobs teach you how to organize your time, set goals, figure out the “numbers game” of life, deal with the highs and lows of business, think like an entrepreneur and most importantly you learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable.  Every cold call I made and every one-on-one client meeting I had was scary, but it got easier with time.

As you move up the ranks in your career, you’ll need to manage client expectations, close deals, get more clients and handle many ups and downs. For me, a job in sales was a great way to prepare for all of this.  Today I’m self-employed as a marketing consultant who must sell work in order to make a living and I’m so grateful for the excellent sales training and experience I had almost 6 years ago.

Ultimately this decision is up to you, but don’t discount the value of starting your career in sales.  If I were you, I’d take the job knowing that it won’t be perfect, and it may not be forever, but it will teach you something you needed to learn.  I’d also be sure to keep a blog or do some pro-bono marketing consulting on the side so you can keep your resume fresh in case you do decide to pursue other marketing opportunities.

Good luck Kristina!

Nicole

  • What advice do YOU have for Kristina?
  • How do you feel about starting a career in sales?
  • Are you in sales? Have you ever worked in sales?  What advice would you give to someone starting out in sales?

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