Selling yourself for your first sales job

interview.jpg

BY SHEILA CASSIDY

We all know the infamous saying: you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. As such, the idea of drafting a resume as a student is a daunting and seemingly impossible task.

I’ve reviewed resumes professionally in two capacities: one as a Student Career Leader at Western University and one as a B2B Sales Recruiter at Sales Talent Agency. When I was a student leader I was trained to help students show off the transferable skills they have gained; when I was a sales recruiter I coached new grads to highlight not just what they did but what they accomplished. Sales is a very metrics oriented profession and that should be taken into consideration when drafting a sales resume regardless of your career level.

The 5 tips below are designed to help you craft your first resume out of school to help leverage you for your first sales position.

1. Make it as easy for prospective employers to contact you

If you’re hoping for someone to contact you, make it as easy as possible for the person reviewing your resume to do so. The basic contact information you want to highlight should include your address, phone number (remember to set up voicemail!) and email address.

2. Be conscious about the location you are choosing

What address do you choose? Trust me, I’ve been there - I was studying in London, my hometown was Burlington and I wanted to work in Toronto. When you are selecting the address to put on your resume choose the one that is most aligned to where you will be located when you graduate. If you are open to relocating be sure to include that as well.

3. Don’t underestimate the experience you already have

Before you start putting pen to paper, complete this simple exercise: for each role you’ve had, both paid and unpaid, write down what you did, what transferable skills you developed and what you accomplished. When you go in for a sales interview, your hiring manager will be interested in your activity, but will also want to ensure that your activity delivered results. So how can this be applied for your experience that isn’t a direct sales role?

  • Restaurant experience:
    • Did your restaurant ever push items to upsell? If so, how did you perform?

    • Were you ever recognized for having the highest sales?

  • Did you receive accolades for outstanding customer service and/or sales?

  • Volunteer Experience

    • Fundraising experience is very applicable to sales. Did your team have a goal? Did you meet or exceed it?

    • Did you have to get sponsors? If so, how many calls did you make and what was the result?

    • How did you measure success? Did your team do a great job?

  • Awards

    • What was the criteria? How did you win? How competitive was it?

  • Extracurriculars and Sports

    • Did you win an election? Win a championship? Take charge on a team? One of the first things that hiring managers will evaluate is the level of someone’s drive and a competitive go-getter spirit is a sure fire way to relay that you have a lot of it.

4. Be concise with your descriptions and clear on your accomplishments

I’ve heard a lot of rules on campus on the number of pages and bullets per section of a resume. The general rule should be that every line on your resume should be relevant and everything should be something you can confidently speak to. The other thing to consider is that everyone has different styles and that is very okay. Here are some examples that I put together based on my own experience, but use this only as a guideline -- be yourself!

Western University - Career Leader September 2010 - April 2011

  • As a team, assisted 802 students with resume, job searches and interview skills in one-on-one drop in times

  • Co-facilitated informative workshops about how to prepare a resume and cover letter for existing university students, with notable attention to our international student body

Richardson GMP - Intern July 2010 - September 2010

  • Worked with a team in transferring over 40,000 client files into an electronic database
  • Remained flexible and reliable in order to complete the project on time and on budget

National University of Rwanda, Africa - Intern May 2010 - July 2010

  • Actively participated in the development and grand opening of Butare’s first ice-cream shop “Inzozi Nziza” where a team of interns took on projects related to accounting, operational booklets and computer manuals

Western University - Residence Don August 2008 - April 2010

  • Promoted from the position of Residence Advisor to Residence Don in my second year on Residence Staff

  • Planned and executed regular floor meetings for new students to discuss any events, opportunities for advancement, and to strengthen the floor dynamics and was also recognized for having the best floor meetings across campus

5. Do not invent experience you do not have

You should be excited and prepared to speak to the experience you put on your resume and trust me - the hiring manager you are sitting across from will know if you are overemphasizing your previous job responsibilities.

When hiring managers are hiring at an entry level they are not looking for experience; they are looking for strong drive, great nature and potential to develop business acumen.

Your resume (and interview) should highlight that you are eager to learn, that you’ve developed some great transferable skills and have had some exposure to the workplace that has given you glimpses into your strengths and opportunities for improvement. Embrace it and don’t mask it with experience you can’t yet back up.

 

For students eager to learn more about sales and landing a sales job please be sure to submit a pitch for the Great Canadian Sales Competition this fall! 




 

I've landed my first job. Now what?

Working with Sponsors such as UPS within my first year as the Competition Coordinator with the Great Canadian Sales Competition.

Working with Sponsors such as UPS within my first year as the Competition Coordinator with the Great Canadian Sales Competition.

BY KATHERINE PERRIN

It’s hard to believe that just a year and a half ago I was a new graduate entering my first role out of school, with the Great Canadian Sales Competition. Furthermore, it’s hard to believe how fast the time has passed by. I remember my first day. My first week. At the time, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. As I am sure most recent grads experience, it was completely different -- but it was great.

I started with the Great Canadian Sales Competition as the Competition Coordinator and Regional Manager of Ontario. I was the first full time hire for the competition, outside of its Director, Sheila Cassidy. As such, the role required us both to be extremely flexible and there were a lot of times that it felt like that old saying “you either sink or swim”. There were a lot of learning curves within defining what my role was and what the competition actually needed from a Coordinator.

I am now the Manager of Campus Recruitment and Operations and I have the opportunity to manage this year’s Competition Coordinator and Regional Managers. I entered a growing company, in a brand new role and I learned a lot along the process. By all means, I am no expert on how to succeed in a new position, but I do feel inclined to share what I learned. See below my 5 tips to help you define your place within a new role and company in your first year.  

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

First off, be resourceful. There are many resources that you can utilize to figure something out - and trust me, your boss will appreciate the initiative. But with that being said, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your boss wants nothing more than to see you succeed, so ask them questions. Use them for their knowledge. There is absolutely no reason why you should start working on something and have to redo it, just because you didn’t ask the question.

Identify your strengths

Your strengths are ultimately the keys to your success. Everyone has different strengths in different areas. From the get-go start to identify what you like and what you are good at. See what excites you and look to see what you do differently than everyone else. Start practising these skills and start to define them. And lastly ask to be a part of projects that utilize these skills.

Work on your weaknesses

Everyone has things that they wish they were better at, but I’ve learned to look at them less like weaknesses and more like an opportunity to develop. Ask for feedback. Chances are if you think you are weak in an area, your boss probably does as well. Utilize them to coach you through your weakness and to help you improve it.  

Enhance your credibility

As cliche as it sounds, don’t be the last person in the office and the first person to leave. You need to prove to your boss and yourself that you deserve to be there. Go above and beyond when asked to complete a project. And when that is finished, be proactive and find other ways to put your skills to use.

Take Initiative

You may be new to the role, but don’t sit through meetings in silence. Show the initiative to engage and contribute to the conversion. Utilize meetings as a way to learn as much as you can about your organization and the way that it works. You need to be visible. The more people that see and hear you, the sooner that they will come to you in the future for help.

Feeling overwhelmed with extra-curricular involvement? Choose your lane.

Elite Daily stated that “we live in a society in which productivity is considered to be a highly valued aspect of life. If you seek to impress someone, whether it's at a job, networking or in everyday relationships, people will wonder what you're up to. ‘Nothing’ is an answer that’s often frowned upon, as is general laziness”. However, it seems that for the most part this statement is misconstrued, especially by those who are young, hungry and eager to impress - students.

How I Landed 2 Amazing Co-op Positions Without Applying to an Online Job Posting

Prior to going into my second year of University I was approached by Sheila Cassidy, Director of the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC), regarding an ambassador position at St Francis Xavier University (StFX). When I received her message, I was unsure what I would be getting myself into - I knew absolutely nothing about sales, but I had nothing to lose so I gave it a shot. Little did I know, just how much I had to gain from taking on this opportunity! I took the call with Sheila and quickly realized there was a huge networking opportunity that the GCSC would offer my fellow students and I.

Unlearning What I Thought I Knew About Sales

If you asked me a year ago if I would have considered sales as a career, I probably would have said “no” with a large degree of certainty. But in reality I was uneducated about what sales consisted of and what a sales career actually looked like. Working as an on-campus Ambassador for the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC) really helped me to understand what sales actually was and ultimately led me to the exec position I now hold with the team.

How extra-curriculars made me job ready

BY KATHERINE PERRIN

When I think back to the earlier days of my education, I remember one particular day like it was yesterday. A man from Enactus Canada came to one of my marketing classes to speak about the benefits of extracurricular activities. He said “How many of you want to get a job after graduating?” I raised my hand. I looked to my left and looked to my right and everyone else had their hands raised too. “How many of you want to get a marketing job after you graduate?”

Again, I raised my hand. I looked to my left and looked to my right and everyone had their hands raised again. He then said “This is your competition, what is going to set you apart?” And then it hit me, this was just my competition at my school. There would be tons of graduates from universities and colleges in the GTA region that would also be my job competition. From almost every stand point these facts were daunting.

So, what was going to set me apart? And my answer was extra-curriculars.

Throughout my journey in the Niagara College School of Business I constantly strived to do my best academically. In fact, in my 3 year marketing program, I graduated with Honors Standing and at the top of my class. But, not only did I try to do well academically, I tried to be involved with as many extracurricular activities as I could manage between my academics and working part-time.

I tried out and was selected to be a part of Niagara College’s Marketing Team from 2013 to 2015. Through this I became a silver medalist in market research and 1st runner up in retail marketing at the Ontario College’s Marketing Competition. I was also one of three Niagara College students selected in 2014 to complete at a national level marketing competition called the BDC Case Challenge. BDC involved 16 hours a week of training and a lot of hard work, but provided me with new and exciting skill sets.

I was also selected to be the Vice President of Enactus Niagara College in 2014. Niagara College’s Enactus program focused on working with a community of student, academic and business advisors to create developmental projects for smaller businesses throughout the Niagara region. In my year as Vice President, I worked hard to restructure a program that had been ignored and undervalued. Within a year we had won the honor of being the Most Improved Enactus Team nationwide.

After my 3 years in the School of Business I wanted to further my education and hone in on my communication skills. So, I decided to take on Niagara College’s Public Relations Post Grad, which was at the School of Media and Technology. This meant a new campus and a new territory; and with this came new connections, new extra-curriculars and new experiences. Through this program and my extracurricular experience I was one of 12 students chosen to participate in the Public Relations Society- Hamilton Chapter 2015/2016 mentorship program. The mentorship program focused on building relationships with industry members, developing communication skills and networking with future connections.

And last, but certainly not least, I took part in The Great Canadian Sales Competition, Canada’s Biggest Student Competition, as Niagara College’s Team Lead/Ambassador. In the Competition’s second year (and first year at Niagara College), our team encouraged 72 students to participate on our campus putting us at 360% to our team target. The GCSC helped me develop sales and entrepreneurial skills that I wasn’t necessarily learning in school. And the GCSC provided me with measurable and attainable targets that helped set me apart in the job market once I was finished school.

Through all of these extra-curriculars I became committed, connected and driven. But most of all I became job ready. I encourage all students to get involved in extra-curriculars at their college or university in any way that they can. My extra-curricular’s gave me an accolade to put on my resume, relevant experience and amazing networking opportunities. Lastly, my extra-curricular involvement allowed me to develop skill sets that made me job ready. And for all students, extra-curriculars will provide you with the same.  

I couldn’t be more excited to be hired on as the Competition Coordinator/Regional Manager for The Great Canadian Sales Competition, right out of school.  Not only do I understand competitions and how to get students involved, but I also understand how extra-curriculars can be a huge benefit to students. I encourage any student that is reading this to get involved and to get involved now.


Please feel free to contact me at katherine.perrin@salestalentagency.com to discuss how you can get involved on campus with the Great Canadian Sales Competition!

The Three Things You Must Prove To Win Your Next Big Job Interview

In the world of recruitment there are nuggets of advice that we find ourselves sharing every single day. Some of this is so simple that it borders on inane (make sure you wore a good suit, show up on time and send a thank you email when you're finished) but some have proven time and time again to change the way that people view the interview process and provide measurable results. 

The do's and don'ts of first interviews

BY PEYMANEH CHYCHI

As a professional recruiter, I have stood in the shoes of both managers and business owners when considering the type of talent needed for their organization. I have filtered through resumes, phone screened, Skype interviewed and met with thousands of people face-to-face. Yet I have not forgotten the days where I have sat in the same seat as those hopefuls looking to find a great new job. It is with this experience that I can give to you, as I do all the candidates I speak to daily, a few of my favorite tips on the do’s and don’ts when interviewing for a role:  

DO

  • Arrive to your meeting 5-10 minutes early.
  • Bring your A-game to the table. This includes a firm handshake, good eye contact and a strong elevator pitch.
  • Dress to impress - it takes an employer seconds to pass judgment. Be sure to check out samples of what you should wear to an interview, here.
  • Have a mint at all times – you never know how close you’ll be sitting to your interviewer.
  • Be prepared with a hard copy resume, notepad and pen.
  • Research the company and have 3-5 quality questions about them lined up.
  • Be ready to articulate the company’s mission statement or value proposition.
  • Have fun in the interview! * Do some research on the interviewer and get to know the person you’re meeting with. Show the best parts of your personality.
  • Be confident but humble. We look for people that are easy to work with, drama-free and won’t rub anyone (or everyone) the wrong way.
  • Make sure you reiterate why you want the job and ask if the interviewer has any concerns about your background. Take this opportunity to mitigate any concerns that they may have.
  • “May I have your business card?”  Never leave an interview without asking this question. You’ll need this to follow up with a thank you note (no longer than 24 hours) after your meeting.

DO NOT

  • Arrive late to a meeting! If you do, be honest about why – it makes it 10 times worse when you come up with a terrible excuse (and we can always tell when you do)
  • Leave your cell phone on. If you have more important things to do, just leave!
  • Walk into an interview looking to “wing it”. If someone is giving you 10-30 minutes of their time, show some respect by having done research on their company and the opportunity.
  • Show up looking like a slob. Pass on the messy clothes, fashion jewelry, pink heels, cleavage, sweatshirt etc. A good rule of thumb, if you can wear it out on Friday or Saturday night – don’t ever consider it for a professional interview.
  • Overload on perfume or cologne – we don’t want your scent lasting hours after you leave and not to mention, some of us have sensitivity to smell! We would also greatly appreciate if you could refrain from smoking before meeting us.
  • Speak in monotone, no one likes dull and we certainly won’t force you to speak. Bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm!
  • Have a bad attitude, don’t talk about how you hate the weather, how people drive poorly in the city, that your old boss was a jerk and that you’re the best thing since slice bread.
  • LAST: DO NOT lie during your interview. Lies are difficult to manage, speak to poor character and will not only come back to bite you in the rear but could close future opportunities for you.

Every interview is different, from panel interviews to situational, experiential and conversational – remember that your job is to sell yourself! You are the product so know what’s on your resume, your sales metrics and why you’re a great candidate. Have fun and remember that credibility is key!

Happy hunting!

What is Inside Sales? The Definition of Inside Sales

By Jamie Hoobanoff

What is Inside Sales – and what is it not? We found an insightful article that breaks down the history, development and truth behind what Inside Sales really is (counter to what many people believe.) According to this article, there is a tendency for people to consider Inside Sales as telemarketing or customer service positions – which can deter sales people from considering Inside Sales as a role they would want to take on. The truth is, Inside Sales roles are more important than ever – as technology is eliminating the need for door-to-door field sales and opening up the opportunities for remote selling (aka inside sales)

You may find yourself interested in taking this type of role on after you finish reading this!


"What is Inside Sales? The Definition of Inside Sales"

by Ken Krogue

The most pragmatic definition of Inside Sales is simple: inside sales is remote sales.

It has been called virtual sales, professional sales done remotely, or one of my recent favorites “sales in the cloud.” Where outside sales or traditional field sales is done face-to-face.

Taken in this context, the majority of all sales is done remotely, and the numbers are growing. The most recent study done by SKKU and MIT, in conjunction with infoUSA, found that over the past three years, inside sales grew at a fifteen times higher rate (7.5% versus .5% annually) over outside sales, to the tune of 800,000 new jobs. (Note, another market size study is underway and should be available shortly.)

Click here to read more

How to Bond With Your Interviewer

BY SONYA MELOFF

The interviewer acts as the gatekeeper – they are who decides whether or not you get to the next stage. That is why ensuring that you are able to create a positive relationship with your interviewer is KEY. You can have perfect answers for all your interviewer’s questions, but if they aren’t jiving with you than those answers will lose value very quickly. We came across this very useful article on 6 major ways to bond with your interviewer –and they are definitely doable!


"How to Bond With Your Interviewer"

by David Clough

When it comes to landing a job, developing positive rapport with your interviewer is almost a necessity. Sure, it’s possible to get hired even if you’re anti-social – provided you have the right skills under the right circumstances – but it’s more likely that “unlikable” that candidates will find themselves shelved in a recruiter’s contacts or buried under a hiring manager’s stack of resumes.

You greatly increase your odds of receiving a job offer if you can make a strong social impression, so why not make the extra effort? Recruiters and hiring managers are just regular people – emotional creatures that crave personal connections. If you want to ace your next job interview, use these interview tips on the next go round.

Read more here