How to Get a Sales Job with No Experience
October 8th, 2023
•Share to LinkedIn
If you’re wondering how to get a sales job with no experience, you’re in luck. While there are some high-level sales roles that require a specific number of years of experience, such as the position of Sales executive, many opportunities don’t require much experience at all.
In fact, if you already have a high level of emotional intelligence, strong communication skills, and a willingness to learn, you’re likely to have an edge in this market.
In an uncertain economy, demand for sales professionals continues to skyrocket, with 93% of employers saying they’re hiring new talent right now. Once you launch your sales career, you’ll have access to endless opportunities for income and skill development.
The question is, where do you get started? Here’s what you need to know about getting your first sales position, without any prior experience.
The Best Sales Jobs with No Experience Requirements
One point worth noting if you’re looking for your first sales job, is not every role is suitable for people without at least some sales experience. No matter how great you are at nailing interviews, you’re still going to need certain hard skills, and a specific level of experience before you can successfully earn a role as a manager, sales supervisor, or account leader.
That being said, there are plenty of sale positions that are well-suited to people without experience. For instance, virtually anyone can apply for a job in retail sales, selling goods and services to the public. In retail sales, you can begin to develop useful skills in customer experience, promotion, marketing, and online or offline selling.
You can also consider:
- Entry-level sales rep jobs: Entry level jobs as a sales rep allow you to experiment with selling a variety of products and services in a host of different industries. You’ll learn about cold calling and emailing, hone your rapport-building abilities, and gain some of the unique insights you need to thrive in higher-level roles.
- Inside sales positions: Inside sales professionals work from an office or call center as part of a sales team. You’ll be responsible for selling products to customers through online channels like social media, and over the phone. Many employers also offer access to dedicated training resources, such as sales scripts and selling workshops.
- Commission-based sales: If you’re willing to put your skills to the test by working on commission, you might be able to access a wide range of sales positions. The only downside is your income will be based on your performance. However, you’ll also gain access to skill development opportunities, flexibility, and an almost limitless income.
Where to Find Sales Jobs for People with No Experience
The first step in learning how to get a sales job with no experience is knowing where to search for opportunities. There are a few options you can experiment with. For instance, you could consider working with a dedicated sales recruitment agency, who can position your resume in front of perspective employers and arrange interviews on your behalf.
Other options include:
- Cold calling companies: One of the best ways to connect with a prospective employer is to reach out to them directly. Practice your cold-calling skills by connecting with a brand’s HR team and asking them whether any opportunities are available. If the company isn’t hiring when you call, follow up regularly and ask to be placed on their contact list.
- Using your network: Building a professional network in the sales industry is valuable for various reasons. It can help you to gain sales experience, by allowing you to learn from others. It also opens the door to potential job opportunities. The members of your network might alert you to opportunities that aren’t listed on job sites.
- Job boards: Many companies search for new employees using online job boards and social channels like LinkedIn. You can use standard job boards like Indeed, or you can consider searching for specific sales-focused job boards, such as Rainmakers or SalesJobs.com.
It’s also worth looking into job fairs and career events in your local area. There are likely to be plenty of employers at these events looking for entry-level sales professionals.
How to Get a Sales Job with No Experience: Initial Steps
Knowing where to look for sales positions that don’t require experience is just the first step. You also need to ensure you have a clear plan for how you’re going to “sell yourself” to prospective employers.
While you don’t necessarily need any specific sales experience to apply for entry-level roles, you should be able to demonstrate core skills relevant to your employers. For instance, strong communication and time management skills will indicate that you can embrace the sales process used by your team effectively.
Here are some crucial steps to get you started on the right track.
- Make Sure You’re Willing to Start at the Bottom
When you’re applying for sales jobs with no experience, it’s important to be realistic. No matter the industry you choose to work in, if you don’t have any experience, you’re probably not going to be considered for a high-level job. With this in mind, don’t expect to be earning a huge income as a sales manager straight away.
The good news is that starting in an entry-level role will give you access to a number of learning opportunities. Most companies will provide valuable training to new starters, covering everything from the basics of cold calling and social selling, to common sales methodologies.
- Highlight and Hone Your Transferrable Skills
Just because you don’t have any direct sales experience, doesn’t mean you don’t have skills that can be useful in a sales role. Your communication, collaboration, time management, and problem solving skills can all help to position you as a great potential sales person.
Take a close look at your current abilities, experience, and educational background. Compare your skills and knowledge to the job descriptions listed on career websites, to see which skills are “transferrable”, and worth showcasing on your resume. Drawing attention to these skills, and investing in additional training, when necessary, will improve your chances of getting a job offer.
- Invest in Your Education
While the soft skills you already have will help you to thrive in an entry-level sales role, it’s always worth investing in developing specific technical skills too. Before you even consider applying for jobs and going to interviews, you’ll need a basic knowledge of the sales process.
There are plenty of tools that can help you develop your skills, from online courses and webinars, to community learning environments like the Hard Skill Exchange. You can also consider purchasing books, or downloading sales guides from reputable websites. Another great option is to look for a mentor in your network, who can provide you with guidance and support as you make your way into the sales landscape for the first time.
- Work on Your Network
Your network, as mentioned above, is one of the most valuable resources you have as a salesperson, whether you’re new to the industry or have years of experience. It should be filled with people who can offer insights into the latest selling tactics and strategies, from prospecting with ChatGPT, to leveraging new calling strategies.
Building a strong network also offers a useful in-road into a range of sales positions and roles. Work on building your network by attending events, joining sales groups on LinkedIn, and tracking down online forums and communities.
How to Update your Resume for a Sales Job
It’s easy to assume you don’t need to update your resume or cover letter when you’re applying for a sales job with no experience. After all, you don’t have any prior sales roles to mention, and you may not have specific certifications or accolades to talk about yet.
However, you can still tailor your resume and cover letter to be more appealing to hiring managers in the sales landscape. Employers in the world of sales are looking for team members who can take the initiative and effectively “sell themselves” to a company.
A great way to demonstrate that you’ve done your research, and to ensure your applications are more powerful, is to tailor each resume and cover letter based on the company and its job description.
Search through job postings for keywords you can implement into your resume, such as “problem solver” or “independent thinker”. Look at the key things employers are searching for in candidates, and try to highlight them in your application with clear evidence.
For instance, if your employer is looking for someone who can think outside of the box, explain how you used an innovative strategy to achieve results in a prior role, and share the results you achieved. Remember to mention your transferable skills whenever possible, focusing on things like communication, relationship building, and time management.
If you’re struggling to tailor your resume and cover letter to the needs of sales jobs, one option is to consider working with a professional resume writer. These experts know how to format and structure your resume in a way that passes applicant tracking systems algorithms and grabs employer attention.
How to Impress Hiring Managers During the Interview
If your cover letter and resume make the right impression on hiring managers, the next thing you’ll need to master is the interview process. Learning how to ace interviews can be challenging in any industry, but there are ways you can ensure you stand out when applying for sales jobs, such as:
- Show You Did Your Research
A key part of being a successful salesperson, is knowing how to dig into the pain points and goals of customers, and tailor your pitch accordingly. A job interview is an excellent opportunity for you to showcase these kinds of skills.
Show your hiring manager how you took the initiative before attending the interview, by reading their previous corporate reports, speaking to sales representatives on their team, or conducting a competitor analysis. Follow up on this by asking meaningful questions during the interview.
For instance, you might say something like, “I’ve noticed you had steady growth for the last three years, what do you think is the biggest contributing factor to your success?” These questions will demonstrate that you know how to gather information when talking to buyers.
- Sell your Skills and Knowledge
You might not know all of the techniques and methodologies companies use to sell to customers and prospects yet, but you should know how to sell yourself. The interview is your opportunity to draw attention to the “unique value propositions” that make you a worthwhile investment.
Take the time to talk about your skills and accomplishments in informative, engaging ways. When a hiring manager asks a question about how you would manage a difficult sales situation, draw inspiration from your previous experiences.
For instance, you might say, “If I was dealing with a difficult client, I’d spend extra time building rapport before making a pitch. When working with [previous] company, I found calling clients more often meant they were more likely to make bigger purchases.”
- Be Ready to Follow Up
One of the most important things you can do in any sales role is commit to following up with your prospective buyers. In the same vein, you should also ensure you’re following up with potential employers, without being overly aggressive or annoying.
Straight after the interview, send a message to your prospective employer thanking them for the opportunity. You can also use this message to ask for advice about how you could prepare for the role, by taking gamified courses, or speaking to other team members.
This shows you’re committed to thriving in the role, and that you’re genuinely passionate about the job. It’s also a great chance to demonstrate your communication skills in a new format.
Getting a Sales Job without Experience
Learning how to get a sales job with no experience might seem like a complex process. However, you don’t always need specific sales experience to thrive in one of these roles. If you can show you have the right mindset, transferable skills, and a commitment to continued education, your potential employers will definitely take note.
Need help preparing for your first sales job? Learn from the best and expand your network by joining the Hard Skill Exchange today.
November 1st, 2023
When to Follow Up with Prospects in Sales: The Basics
In an ideal world, every prospect you reached out to as a salesperson would automatically see the value in your product and agree to make a purchase straight away. Unfortunately, in the real world, this rarely happens. The reality is most consumers need a number of nudges, or interactions with a salesperson before they’re ready […]
How to Disqualify Sales Prospects: Step by Step
Do you know how to disqualify sales prospects effectively? Most sales reps are aware of the importance of the qualification stage in the sales process. Making sure the people you’re connecting with are a good fit for your product or service is essential. Not only does it mean you can deliver genuine value to these […]
October 30th, 2023
Handling Rejection in Sales: Top Tips for Sales Resilience
Handling rejection in sales is never easy. For most sales professionals striving to achieve professional goals, reach lofty quotas, and close more deals, “no” can be one of the scariest, most painful words in the English language. Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how good your product or service might be, you’re not going […]