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Sales Rep Jobs and Education

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Many businesses are dependent on the success of their sales staff. The appearance and attitude of the sales person is the primary impression customers have of a business, for this reason, companies may be rigorous in screening applicants for sales rep jobs. Sales jobs run the gauntlet of positions from the ground floor sales rep to the Executive sales positions there is a lot of room for vertical movement. There are two ways to achieve the cream of the crop sales position, work from the ground up earning promotions as you go or seeking and receiving sales training.

Work Your Way Up!

The first application is straightforward, apply for sales jobs with companies that you are interested, and try to land a bottom rung position. Then over time sell like no bodies business until your boss takes notice and promotes you. There are advantages to this approach; some companies prefer to train people for higher-ranking sales and marketing jobs from within the company.

The company benefits from you already being familiar with policy and procedure and they do not have to un-do any bad habits another company may have instilled. In addition, you have already proven yourself in the field or they would not consider you for the position, which means you will be able to hit the ground running so to speak. Little down time to familiarize you with the company.


You may decide that the best option for you is to get a degree under your belt before looking for sales jobs. This has its benefits as well, first off you will be in a better position to apply for better paying positions. This will give you a leg up in the organization and will prevent you from having to live on peanuts while you prove yourself. However, you will still have to show the company that you have what it takes to be an excellent sales person so that you can advance further in the company.

To receive a relevant degree you will need to attend a business school and go through one of their degree programs. For instance, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has an excellent program for receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing. This course of study will prepare you for the world of marketing, consumer and industrial selling and marketing research. This kind of degree will increase your chances of landing sales and marketing jobs on the higher end of the pay scale.


To begin looking at possible positions we will start with the bottom level positions and work up to the higher pay grades.
  • Retail Sales Staff- The median income for this position according to salary dot com is $21,724. The range begins around $18,000 and tops out at $25,000. These numbers were collected across a broad range of businesses, both small and large from all over the nation. Depending on your location and size of the business, these numbers could vary slightly.

  • Telemarketing- The one person no one really wants to hear from is the telemarketer. Nevertheless, it is a booming business with great potential for those just starting out. Many times this position will come with no educational or experience required. The median salary is $31,529 a year, with unlimited potential for sales bonuses. You may think this is not a reputable sales job; however, it is not a bad starting wage for the inexperienced.

  • Sales Agent- This classification of sales jobs ranges from car sales to real estate and everything in between. The median salary for this type of position is $44,657. This is normally a commission-based salary so your experience could vary greatly.

  • Sales Supervisor- This is the next level for sales jobs, and the requirements for the position will vary according to company policies. There are companies where experience will be enough and others who will prefer you have a degree in the field. The median income for this position is $68,255 with the top wages being around $85,000 annually. The growth rate and job outlook for this job is slower than other comparable jobs, but it will be steady.

  • Sales Engineers- At the top according to technical aspect sale engineers are a sales and marketing jobs combination. Most who hold these positions have degrees in engineering in addition to sales. This is more the development side of the spectrum, as you would be expected to work with production, engineering or research and development to figure out how to best tailor a product or service for the consumer. Median wage $96,718 and top wage of $111,000 annually.

The world of sales is a vast area, positions range from minuscule to major, as do the potential salaries. The best advice is to get a business degree at least if you plan on pursuing sales rep jobs or marketing and sales jobs. However if circumstances prevent you from being able to accomplish this with a little determination and hard work you can still move up the corporate sales ladder. This is the one field where performance will out distance education every time.
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