The amount you will be compensated for a sales position depends on the company, product and industry for which you work. Salespersons earn either a base salary, commission or both The highest-compensating jobs tend to be in technical sales fields, which require special training and experience. As of May 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that sales engineers, for example, were the highest compensated of their surveyed-sales positions. Sales engineers average an annual salary of $87,390. Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents came in as the second highest compensated at an average annual salary of $70,190.
Assess Your Strengths
Match your skills, strengths and interests to a sales position that tends to pay well. Take a formal assessment, such as the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey, which will provide you objective feedback on your skills and degree of confidence in different career fields. Visit a counselor, psychologist or human resource professional in a mental health, business or an educational setting who can administer and interpret the test for you. Based on your results, you can explore new sales careers and pinpoint areas of study where you can build your skills.
Many high-paying sales jobs require a bachelor's degree in a technical field. If you didn't get your degree in a field such as engineering, business, finance, accounting or economics, consider returning to school to get another degree. Even if you don't want to pursue an entirely new field, you can build on your existing degree by earning a master's degree in your field. Combining any degree with a business degree, for example, will increase your earning potential. Sales directors, who frequently have an MBA, for example, had an average yearly salary of $222,000 in 2012, according to the website CNN Money.
Target Your Resume
Spend time creating a resume that is concisely written, including targeted keywords that will help recruiters locate your resume in electronic-employment databases. The keywords you choose depends on the job you are interested in getting. If you are interested in selling medical equipment, for example, include a phrase such as "medical equipment sales" on your resume, preferably near the top. Customize your objective statement to fit the job category you're interested in and include your keywords in this section. Write your objective and cover letter outlining how you can help your prospective employer, not how they can help you.
Hone Your Search
Focus your job search strategy on one field and pursue it ardently. Your chances of landing a top-paying sales job are higher if you focus your resume, search strategy and networking on the field for which you have training, interest and experience, according to the website Med Reps. Use multiple sources for searching including newspapers, networking, online job databanks, social and business networking sites, job boards, company websites, voicemails and cold calling. Document all of your steps each day including jobs applied for, voicemails left, emails sent and electronic-networking connections made. Set goals for each day, such as finding 10 new contacts, so you can evaluate your efforts and adjust your strategy each week.
- University of San Francisco: High-Paying Careers in Sales
- Med Reps: 5 Mistakes Keeping You From Top Paying Sales Jobs in Healthcare
- CNN Money Magazine: 20 highest-paying jobs
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Sales Occupations
- Encore: Tools to Help You Assess Your Skills and Interests
- Encore: Campbell™ Interest and Skill Survey (CISS®)
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images