Job and Industry Resources for
Sales, Advertising, & Marketing Careers
The professions of sales, advertising and marketing aren’t for everyone. From pharmaceutical sales to automotive advertising; from soft-drink brand development to clothing retail; from software selling to makeup marketing; success in any sales field takes a persuasive tongue, a go-getter attitude and a willingness to take the word "no" as a starting point for negotiation. But if you think you have what it takes, this guide will explain how to get in touch with people who can help you on your path, and how to turn the information you find into actionable insights. Read on to find out how to get started.
Focus on a specialty
A really talented salesperson, you might think, can sell anything at all – from cars to clothes to medical supplies – given the necessary background info and talking points. And while that may be true in many cases, you’ll stand a much better chance of establishing yourself in a stable sales career – and distinguishing yourself in your field – if you pick a particular area of sales and work on honing your skills in it.
For example, if you’ve got some experience in cosmetics or pharmaceutical sales, you can identify yourself as a "packaged goods marketer" – or if you’ve worked with groceries, you can describe yourself as a "food and beverage sales expert." If you’re just starting out in the field, on the other hand, simply pick an area of sales, marketing or advertising that appeals to you, and go with that for the time being. Many entry-level sales jobs require little more than a high school diploma and a go-getter attitude – so you’ll be doing your career a favor by focusing on a category of products or services that you genuinely care about.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should narrow your focus down to the point that you lose all flexibility – it just means that you and your resume will make a stronger impression if you brand yourself clearly. Don’t worry; you won’t permanently lock yourself into the first subfield you choose – but this approach will help you stand out from the crowd, and target recruiters and other companies that’ll recognize and share your passion.
Get into some groups
It’s also worthwhile to cultivate your knowledge of your specialty – and expand your professional network in the process – by jumping into community discussions on social-networking websites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Both these sites are bursting with sales and marketing groups. To give just a few of many examples, Facebook groups such as "Textile Marketing" and "Automotive Marketing," and LinkedIn groups like "Medical & Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs" and "Retail Industry Professionals Group," all host active discussions related to specific niches within the sales, marketing and advertising professions.
You can track down groups discussing your own area of interest by typing it into the site’s search box and refining your search from there. Facebook allows you to "Find all groups named…" or "Find all pages named…" – and LinkedIn allows you to focus your search on group pages (instead of personal ones), on groups that include people you know, and on pages centered in your own geographical region.
It’s pretty easy to tell whether a particular group is worth your time or not. Active groups with hundreds (or, better yet, thousands) of members are likely to teach you something; groups with only a few active members, or without many active threads, are less likely to be useful. Just use a little common sense, and you’ll find your way. And by the way, if a group is marked as private, submit a request to join anyway. The worst the admins can say is "no" – and if they do agree to let you join, you may gain access to an exclusive source of information that’ll prove helpful as you progress in your career.
Find some firms
Sure, it’s fairly easy to walk in off the street and score an entry-level retail sales job – but if you want to turn your passion for marketing and advertising into a real career, you’ll need the help of some job-search experts that specialize in your field. And here’s where your choice to focus on a particular area of the field is going to start coming in handy – because quite a few of these firms cater to specific sectors of the sales, marketing and advertising industries.
The firm Ludwig & Associates, Inc, for example, recruits specifically for the advertising and marketing departments of consumer packaged goods companies. MedCor helps place candidates in pharmaceutical sales positions. Talisman recruits for positions in the fashion and textile industries. The list goes on and on. You can investigate the staffing situation in your own corner of the industry simply by searching Google for terms like "food and beverage marketing staffing" or "software sales recruitment" – substituting your own area of interest as necessary.
Other staffing firms, meanwhile, recruit for positions in all departments of a particular industry – or for sales, marketing and advertising positions in a range of different industries. For instance, the firm Plummer & Associates matches experienced candidates with positions in the retail, retail services, food service, direct marketing, catalog, and e-commerce segments. Cyr Associates specializes in filling positions in consumer products and direct marketing. The Focus Agency, meanwhile, recruits for marketing and advertising positions in all sorts of industries, as do ExecuStaff and Corporate Capacity.
The only way to find out for sure if a given firm can help you is to contact them and ask if they’d like to take a look at your resume. Even if a firm isn’t able to place you in a position right now, many will still ask for a copy of your resume to keep on file. And this isn’t usually the kind of "on file" that’s a nice way of saying "buried in the back of a drawer" – after all, staffing firms make their money by charging clients to hire candidates they’ve found; so it’s in their own best interest to find you a position as quickly as possible.
Search listings for yourself
While you’re waiting for a call back from the staffing agencies you’ve contacted, you can scout out open positions on your own – and get an overall sense of the salary situation and job market in your area of interest – by running some searches on online job databases that cater to marketing and advertising professionals; or to the field you’re interested in joining. Many of these job boards are free to browse, so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving them a look.
If you’re interested in retail sales work, for example, check out the listings on WorkInRetail.com. Open positions in software marketing abound on SoftwareSalesJobs.com. And plenty of other job boards – including SalesTrax.com, SalesAnimals.com and MarketingJobs.com – gather listings from many sectors of the sales, marketing and advertising industries. On all these sites, you won’t have to deal with loads of unrelated postings, as you would on Craigslist and other more general job-listing boards.
Getting a foot in the door of a sales or marketing department is the easy part – the hard part is sticking it out over the long term, and proving your worth again and again on each quarterly balance sheet. But with a solid informational background, the support of fellow professionals, and the connections you’ll gain from recruiting firms and job boards, you can stay one step ahead of your competitors – as long as you put the information you find to practical use.
SalesForce Search Sales job openings at small, medium and Fortune 500 companies across the US and Canada.
TalentZoo Job listings, news updates and educational resources for advertising professionals.
SalesAnimals A large job database, as well as training videos and other guides for success in sales.
Visit our Career Research Center to learn more about jobs, salaries, and employment growth in various sales and marketing fields, including retail sales, non-retail sales, market research, and sales engineers.