Beef up your resume with impressive accomplishments, such as your sales track record, revenue goals and incentives you've earned for high sales records before you start looking for a new job. The fact that you're already in a sales job could work to your advantage, provided you don't cross the line into a conflict of interest applying for employment with a competitor or violating the terms of a sales representative agreement that you might have.
Define Your Target Employer
Decide what kind of sales job you want. If you're already in the sales field, you'll be familiar with the field, but you also might be restricted as to the type of sales jobs for which you could be qualified. For example, if you're currently in pharmaceutical sales, you have the product knowledge for possibly transferring to another company, but you could have a non-compete agreement that can prevent you from accepting a similar job in your field. Carefully read your employment agreement and your employer's handbook before you begin your job search. This way, you won't have to explain your search or justify your actions if your employer or anyone else questions why you're applying to certain companies.
Expand Your Professional Network
Membership in professional sales associations and typical professional networking events that give you opportunities to meet other professional sales reps and sales managers will help get your name in circulation as someone who's looking for a job. Whenever you attend these functions, have an elevator speech ready. Your elevator speech should be about 30 to 60 seconds long, explaining your background in sales, your achievements and what kind of sales positions you see in your future. The beauty of an elevator speech is that it's not a full-on sales pitch that says, "I need work." It's merely an introduction and people who know about job openings will glean from that that you're seeking employment.
Confidential Job Search
If you're sending out cover letters and resumes, do it confidentially. Avoid using your current employer's resources, including the time you should spend focusing on your current job duties. This means don't use your employer's computer, fax, printer or supplies for your job search. Set aside time when you're at home to work on your job applications and schedule interviews outside normal business hours so you don't detract from the time you owe to your employer. Importantly, never use your current employer's client information to compile lists of potential employers. Those client lists belong to your employer, and if you're caught using them, you could destroy your reputation and get in hot water for the unauthorized use of company information.
Apply to the Source
If you're currently selling to end users, have the expertise and deep product knowledge and enjoy the work you're currently doing, consider going one step up to becoming a sales representative for the manufacturer or wholesaler. Your chances of securing a job in the same field are probably far better than entering an entirely new area of sales. For example, if you're working at the local print shop selling to walk-in customers and printing customers, consider applying your knowledge about paper products and going to work for a paper manufacturer, calling on print shops as your customers. You might not encounter the same potential conflicts of interest that you would if you were applying to work for a direct competitor, such as another print shop.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images