You’ve made up your mind that you want to pursue a job in sales? Awesome! If you’d like to learn how to make your résumé stand out and how to rock your interview, listen in as we catch up with industry expert Charlie Nelson, Director of Business Development & Client Success at SmartRecruiters.
Which positions do you review applications for?
I hire for Sales and Account Managers.
What are some things that college students applying for sales positions can do to make their applications stand out?
Build out a strong social presence (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) and NETWORK! Make connections and use them to your advantage. I am more inclined to interview a candidate that is connected to me in some way or was referred by a connection.
As much as I care about your past work experience, I want to know (on paper and in the interview) what you WANT to do. What are your ambitions and career goals? I am looking for someone that thinks about the future and how they are going to get there just as much as they think about the present.
Be yourself. There are too many people I interview that are all the same—you know the ones that read Google for “Potential Interview Questions and Good Answers to Respond with…” I have heard all the same answers over and over again. I want original. And most importantly I want the REAL you because once the job starts I can’t imagine you are going to Google your way through the entire job!
Which majors tend to be most successful in the positions you review applications for? Which majors would you like to see more applications from?
Majors aren’t important to me.
What are some things you look for in résumés and cover letters? Are there any things that would send an applicant to the “no” pile right away?
I want short and concise. I have seen the same résumé with the same bullet points TOO MANY times! I want original.
I also don’t care so much about what you did (e.g. “Managed 200 Clients”). I would prefer to see how you made an impact (e.g. “Through my account management I helped raise quarterly sales by 35%”). Give me more of the juicy stuff and less general!
What steps would you recommend a student take to best prepare for a career in this field?
Check out Toastmasters (or any other public speaking club) and get comfortable in your own skin. Familiarize yourself with uncomfortable situations because in sales you need to be prepared for anything.
What is the biggest mistake you see candidates make when interviewing for positions in sales? What do the best candidates do to stand out in an interview for sales positions?
The best candidates are confident in themselves and their abilities. They also have at least one passion outside of work (e.g. traveling, competing in marathons, etc.). This shows dedication and a willingness to explore.
The biggest mistake is not being curious or prepared.
Homework time: To learn more about Charlie, follow him on Twitter: @CharlieNelsonC
Extra credit: Make a list of five common interview questions. (You’re allowed to use Google for that part if you’re not sure.) Then come up with your original, true-to-you answers. Make Charlie proud!