In my 1/14 post I shared some thoughts about what is fair/not fair to assume about college students who are interviewing. A common concern I hear from college students is “I do not have actual experience in a sales role”. Employers understand you may not have the actual sales experience, but are (should be) really looking for experience that can help get you off to a good start as a salesperson. Some thoughts below…
What “peeling back” your work experience reveals
If you have interacted with customers in summer jobs, you probably have some great stories about experience you have. Working while going to college…even better! What should be high priority for hiring sales reps out of college?
- Listening to customers
Worked at a golf club or a retail shop? How does each conversation start? You are asking questions to understand the customer’s interests.
- Dealing with adversity/challenges
Server at a restaurant? How many times a day are you dealing with issues? You have to listen to the customer, shield them from the internal craziness in the kitchen, communicate updates to the customer and keep them happy.
- Managing time
Homework, tests, working at part-time job…it is a lot to juggle. Working while going to college? Not easy. Requires understanding priorities and scheduling time to manage thru.
If you reported to a manager/supervisor, that required some communication. Did you have team projects in college? If so, the communication and leadership you provided is valuable experience.
Better positioned than you think!
If you find out what the employer is “really” looking for includes what I outlined above (and other similar experience)…prepare your questions and stories…you are more qualified than you originally thought!
Feel free to contact me directly for ideas and/or help on this or other topics!
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