First off, you need to be real with yourself. What are my qualifications? What experience do I have? What are my accomplishments and special skills? These are some valid questions that you should be asking yourself and honestly answering.
Besides concrete facts about your professional background, think about what kind of person you are—what aspects your personality and demeanor can bring to a job. If you know very well that you hate traveling for extended periods of time, note that and keep it in mind when considering jobs down the line. Don't think, "Ehh…I can get over it for the salary." Know yourself and accept it because this kind of thing will come back to haunt you later.
Also, evaluate your needs and wants in a job. What aspects of a job are most important to you? The commute? The advancement opportunity? The environment? Whatever they may be, really establish your requirements so you don't have to feel torn later on. If you build a list of criteria that a job should fit, you won't hesitate when you see a job that sort of fits your needs.
Make the Match.
Now that you understand yourself and what you have to offer, think about what company you want to work for and what specifically you want to do. You might have already decided on this part, but really look at what you have to offer and how it would fit a certain company's needs.
Are you a more down-to-earth salesperson who doesn't want to get caught up in the hierarchy of a huge company? If so, you might want to direct your attention toward smaller organizations and companies. Are you quick on your feet and a good public speaker? If so, you could look into speaking or coaching positions.
Before you start scouring the Internet and newspaper for jobs, know where you stand and where you'd like to stand by outlining the types of sales jobs that suit you. Once these considerations are made, you can effectively weed out the jobs that just don't fit.
One thing many people do is leave their current jobs before they have new ones. Then they find themselves burning through their savings and scurrying to find something that will do. This usually leads to the person buckling under the pressure and taking a job that may not completely fit his or her criteria.
Unless you're working under strenuous circumstances, plan when you want to leave and set a deadline to start looking for a job about two to six months before you intend to leave. Don't put in your two-week notice and think that you'll find your dream job before those 14 days are up. That's unlikely.
Look High and Low.
Now, where do you find all these career options? Many places. Of course looking online and researching what positions are open is the first thing to do. It can also help you get a feel for what types of jobs are scarce or in demand.
In addition to researching job boards and online resources, it's also good to learn about the top organizations and companies that cater to your intended sales area or interests. That way, you can narrow down your job search to potential employers that you'd like to work for. In some cases, you may even want to send them your resume and cover letter and call them directly. Even if they don't have jobs that fit your needs, you can still make a connection. If the employer likes you enough, he or she will keep your materials on file for future consideration.
It's also good to milk your personal connections during a job search. Let it be known among the right people that you are looking for a new opportunity—just make sure those people are not linked with your current employer. You can even send short emails to colleagues whom you've worked with in the past and so forth. If people like you, they'll want to help in any way they can. Never close the door on the option of getting a job through a colleague or friend. That's how many people find their jobs.
Align Yourself with Your Desired Job.
Next, you need to marry your professional characteristics and experiences on your resume and cover letter with a potential job's description. Your resume and cover letter always need to speak to the job that you are applying for. Too many people just dust off their resumes from 1991 and send them off. Carefully read the job breakdown and tailor your resume and cover letter accordingly. If the ad puts a huge emphasis on customer service experience, then make sure that's one of the first things the employer reads when he or she looks at your cover letter. The job ad will likely list exactly what the employer is looking for. Be straightforward and logical by only sending a resume and cover letter that exactly fit what the ad says. No matter what your background is in sales, you can illustrate the right points to fit the bill.