Why an entry level sales job is a great way to kickoff your career

work in sales

Most college students are absolutely petrified of those entry level sales jobs that require cold calling. Others feel they are “too smart” or that they just spent way too much money on their college degree to sit on the phone and cold call all day. While these points are valid, consider the following reasons to consider giving that first sales job a chance:


You will learn how to overcome adversity early in your career.

Get used to being uncomfortable, not getting everything you want, being at the bottom of the food chain, not getting constant feedback, and realizing that your good grades in college do not necessarily correlate to bringing in good paychecks in sales. These are harsh realities you must face and get over right away in order to be successful in your twenties. For Gen Y’ers who love instant gratification and come from homes with “helicopter parents,” this may be a bit of a shock.

“We work hard and we play hard.”

Although this phrase was actually slightly unattractive to me personally, and ended up being one of my pet peeves, this is a phrase I heard in almost every sales interview I went on. For many, transitioning from college life to working in a serious, quiet and boring environment with no people your own age sounds like hell. Many entry level sales jobs know that this is a tough transition and accommodate for it. Many sales teams are very young and offer group training, a fun environment, and plenty of happy hours and fun parties when making sales goals. If you are moving to a new city, this might be a great way to initially make new friends and expand your network.

You will become living proof that attitude is everything.

My first inspirational entry level sales job manager/boss in the real world always stressed this point. He had us put a sticky note on our computer which reminded us “If you are not getting the results you want, look at your attitude first.” Bitching, moaning and complaining will not help you get the results you want. Shut up, pick up the phone and put a smile on your face. Assume and believe that you will get that sale. Attract the results you want and know you are capable of achieving any goal you have. Once you start changing your attitude and seeing results from it, it is addictive and contagious to those around you. On top of it, your great attitude will cause others to see you as more capable and as a leader. Apply this to other areas of your life too.

“Inch by Inch is a Synch”: corporate structure and goal setting.

modern office meeting room interior design

Your office consists of a sales team that must hit a monthly goal which will most likely feed into a district and then regional goal. In order for everyone to be happy, your sales manager will take the office’s monthly goal and assign each sales associate an individual goal. From there you will break that goal down into what you need to sell each week and each day to achieve that number. Then of course you will decide how many phone calls you will need to make on a daily and hourly basis to keep consistent in meeting your goals.

Although this is a fairly simple concept, I don’t ever remember using this type of “inch by inch is a synch” strategy until my first sales job. Again, apply this to any goal you have in your personal life. You want to lose 10 pounds by spring break? Break it down to monthly, weekly and daily goals so that you can have mini victories rather than huge mountains to climb.

These are just a few of my favorite lessons from my first entry level sales job that I take with me wherever I go in life.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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