Blog By Simon Bennett
Who, or what, are you? It's a question I've often been asked whilst interviewing for a new role.
It sounds harsh to begin with, but actually they are right to ask. I have experience in several types of sales positions - new business, account management, sales management, channel and partner management, so it's not out of the question that potential employers could be unclear.
It's important to know yourself, and I am confident that I can succeed in any of the above sales positions, but sometimes you need to identify one clear path for a future employer, so you can focus your skills, experience and relevance on those positions available. I had been guilty of being a generalist and keeping options open when talking to target companies - sometimes they had multiple roles available and I didn't want to exclude myself from being considered for more than one, but in hindsight I believe I damaged my chances by not being specific. There are many times that it is OK to be a generalist, and it is a good thing that I have so many varied experiences, but employers want to see that they are hiring the best of the best for each vacancy.
Some organisations will prefer to promote from within, so I focused on a sales role at these organisations to prove myself, learn more and work my way up the ladder. I had then been questioned by some as to why I would go back in to a sales role, and this had been viewed as a negative step by some. I found this hard to take as I believe that you can earn more credibility and respect within a team/organisation by proving yourself in their industry and their environment.
Recruiters can help you position you correctly with your target employers, and despite the negative press that so many have been getting recently, it only works for them if you are placed in the right role and perform accordingly. Of course, there are those, as with any industry or profession, that let the side down, but there are so many good recruiters that can be invaluable in your job search. They will help identify the right roles for you, will help sell you to the employer, and will guide you throughout the recruitment process. In an automated world I'm sure my CV was screened out at the first stage many times, but the better recruiters helped me have some great conversations with hiring managers and teams at some amazing organisations.
I have had several roles put on hold, or changed, throughout the process in the past but that hasn't deterred me. By working with decent recruiters to position yourself correctly for the right roles at the right companies there is so much more for you to consider than the money on offer.
The right role is out there for everyone as long as you know who you are and what you can do.
It’s always useful to solicit the help of a good recruiter too…