How do I pursue a career in sales when my degree is in political science?

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Jake at Texas Tech University asked:

I recently graduated with a Political Science degree with a minor in English. My original intention was to go to law school, but I no longer want to do that. I have gotten some experience in sales and  have decided to pursue a career in sales. Unfortunately, I’m finding it difficult getting my foot in the door. I believe I am a leader, I am personable, and I am an extremely hard worker.  I believe I have great salesmanship qualities. Despite all of this, I think companies are taking a look at my resume and moving to the next one because of my limited experience and my degree. My question is: How do I sell my qualities beyond an application and resume? How do I pursue a career in sales and management with a degree these types of companies are not interested in?

Hi Jake –

Before I start, I want to call your attention to three related questions that have come in (along with my responses to them):

How do I improve the appearance of my resume?

How do I write a resume when my skill set is diverse?

Should my resume have an objective statement?

Now, let’s get to your specific question.

You want to work in sales.  Great – your sales job starts now. You have to sell yourself to employers. You have to convince employers that you are worth their investment.  You have prospect the clients, market your services, communicate your value proposition, and close the sale.

The parallels between selling a product or service and looking for a job are many.

In both instances, you need to know your product, you know your target market, and you must position your product in ways that are meaningful to your prospective buyer.

In your question to me, you stated that you are a leader, you are personable, you work hard, and you have great salesmanship skills.  These are all things recruiters want in candidates for sales positions.  To be honest, unless a specific technical expertise is required, most recruiters for sales opportunities don’t care what your major was; they care whether or you can and want to do the job.

Here is my question to you:  To what extent does your resume current illustrate your sales skills, qualities and characteristics to prospective employers?

If your resume simply presents you as a recent political sciences grad with limited experience, you are missing a great opportunity.  Your not giving them any reasons to be interested in you.

You see, employers will not know what you offer unless you make it very clear to them, and they won’t find it relevant or interesting unless it sound like it will meet their needs.

If you present yourself as a recent political sciences grad with limited experience; employers will believe you and move on to the next candidate.

You are in sales right now!  Show you are a good sales person by effectively marketing yourself as a job candidate to prospective employers.

My resume handout provides a lot of good advice, and our resume gallery has a lot of good examples.  I encourage you to check them out.

Also, seek out the advice and assistance of your campus career services offices.  They are good people and they want to help!

Good luck!

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