Sales Mini-Guide


It is what it says – selling anything, from a service like insurance or conservatories to a product or lifestyle. 

Career – Sales

What is it?

It is what it says – selling anything, from a service like insurance or conservatories to a product or lifestyle. You could work selling houses or cars but as a graduate you’ll probably look at something more specialised like Pharmaceutical sales where you sell products to GPs or hospitals, Media Sales – selling advertising space, IT or Recruitment or FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) which could be anything from toiletries or food to retailers.

What skills and qualifications will I need?

Above everything else you’ll be confident, a strong negotiator, a great relationship builder, be able to think on your feet and believe in what you’re selling. In-depth product/service knowledge, communication skills, enthusiasm, a smile and good eye contact are all really important. People buy things more from people they like and trust. 

You also may need to work to targets so you’ll need to be comfortable with a role that links performance to pay and comes with some degree of pressure.

What else do I need to know?

There are a wide range of opportunities in a number of fields and you’ll need listening and presentation skills, as well as negotiation and communication skills which are key in this industry. Salaries can be dependent on location and are usually a salary plus commission which might be advertised as OTE (opportunity to earn), the roles often come with a company car and phone as you could spend a lot of time on the road visiting customers and finding new ones.

There are generally two groups of sales – where you sell to a business (B2B), or to a consumer (B2C). 

Top Tip

Get some sales experience, part time shop work, student ambassador work, interacting with customers or representing a charity – all this kind of work experience will be useful will demonstrate sales and negotiation skills. When you’re ready to apply for a role, research your potential employer and the competition. 

Where can I get more information?

Jobs are advertised in the main newspapers and online. Many companies offer placements and there are internships with a number of blue chip companies who need sales staff to sell their products to retailers.