Targeting Top-Paying Sales Jobs

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Just about every job search takes the same process.  Search job openings.  Network as much as possible wherever you are (you never know who you’ll meet at the dog park or the grocery store).  Customize your resume to meet the job requirements of the job (and be sure you’ve got the skills, experience and education to back it up.)  Keep your social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) up-to-date and professional.

If the process is the same for a job search, why not spend your time and effort shooting for the top of the job market?  Hiring managers look for skills and experience, but in this changing world of work, employers are also paying attention to personality, company culture fit and work ethic.  In some cases, these latter characteristics are more important than a degree or solid work history.

If you’re in sales, you have a lot of job choices.  Don’t count yourself out of the running for the big bucks.  An article in Forbes listed the best and worst paying jobs in sales.  There is a huge gap in earning power, so if you’re contemplating a career in sales, this list can help you determine what jobs may be possible and what kind of education, skills and experience you’ll need to compete for the six-figure jobs.

The #1 highest-paid sales job is Sales Manager.  Sales Managers ($120,000) aren’t tied to a particular industry or company.  Someone has to manage the sales team, and it takes someone who has had a winning track record in the particular industry and in sales.  You won’t be able to walk into this job, but you can create a career plan to take advantage of career opportunities in each job to gain the kind of experience and track record needed to be in the running.

Finance, Engineering and Manufacturing ($80k to 100k) were the next three highest-paying sales careers.  You’ll need a degree in these fields to capture the top jobs, plus that proven track record.  If you started out thinking you wanted to be an engineer or a CFO and later found it wasn’t for you, a career in sales might just give you the perfect mix of your particular field and the excitement and no-limits that a career in sales affords.  You can have the best of both worlds. 

Insurance, real estate and first-line sales supervisors also made the list, stopping at $60k per year.  If you have no skills, experience, or just need a part-time job to bring in some extra fun money, the sales jobs at the bottom of the scale may be enough.  Cashiers, retail clerks and telemarketers ranked 1, 2, and 3 as the lowest-paying sales jobs ($20k to $25k per year).  But don’t count them out.  If you’re starting at ground zero, the only way to go is up.  Entry-level sales jobs for a large company can lead to bigger and better things.  Wal-Mart claims to promote 500 employees a day.  At FedEx, 92 percent of all their managers were promoted from within.  Remember, sales managers took the #1 spot.  If you work hard, take advantage of education programs and learn as much as you can, you can rise through the ranks.

It takes just as much effort to apply for a top job as it does for an entry-level position.  It takes more experience, skills, education and connections to get one than the other.  Making a career plan early helps map out the steps to qualify for both.  

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