How to Get a Sales Job Without a Degree

Troy Buckholdt
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How to Get a Sales Job Without a Degree

Is it possible to get a good sales job without a degree? This is a very good question that is asked all of the time. Many people will say that you can work in some very basic sales jobs, but not the more complex ones. This is far from true.

My Background

I started my career in tech sales at age 18 with very minimal experience and of course no degree. I always wanted to work in sales as I thought it was one of the most valuable roles in a company.

Throughout high school, I worked some odd sales jobs such as door to door roofing sales, sign sales, and even mobile home sales. I realized that I wanted to start my career in tech sales as I really loved technology and the ways it can be used to transform industries.

I started researching all about tech sales and all of the different career paths. I came to realize that the most popular entry-level role was the Sales Development / Business Development role. I began reading every job description I could find and started finding similarities between them all.

They all wanted good communication skills, social skills, basic computer/software skills, and a college degree. I knew I had pretty good communication skills, business acumen, and my way around a computer. The only problem was that I didn’t have that college degree.

I thought this was kind of strange that they require a degree even if it has nothing to do with sales. Many didn’t even specify what major they wanted, but instead just any bachelor’s degree.

After doing more research on why they require degrees I found out that studies have proven that people who are successful in this role just have a degree.

The major didn’t have any particular impact on success. After talking to a few people in the industry I learned that the college degree is mostly just there to filter out the majority of lower-quality talent.

This is mainly because this is an entry-level position based on soft skills, so there isn’t much to go off of on a resume other than a degree. They then assume that people with degrees are probably smarter and more motivated.

I also realized that the majority of the people that they are interviewing for this role don’t have a very strong understanding of the role, or the more in-depth skills/knowledge that’s required to be successful.

This is when I came up with the hypothesis that if I specialized in this specific sales role and learned so much about it, then I would become so valuable to a company that they would choose me over a college graduate.

I was right. I spent 12 hours a day learning everything about the role from all of the different resources online. Everything from books, online courses, YouTube channels, blogs, etc.

In less than a month I had an extremely thorough understanding of sales cycles, prospecting to fill a pipeline, cold calling, the whole nine yards. I learned so many of the best practices from the smartest people in the industry.

I then created a profile page to outline all of the resources I used to learn this role. This acted as my college degree on a resume and differentiated me from everyone else. I did get further ahead in having a successful career in just 1 month compared to what many others do in 4 years.

How to Apply to Companies

The best way to apply to companies isn’t by clicking that apply button on job boards. Many of them have software that automatically filters your resume out if you don’t have a degree.

This makes it so no one will even see your application giving you absolutely no chance. The best way to go about applying for these companies is by treating your job search just like a sales process.

Step 1:

Choose around 10 companies that you think would be a good fit to work at. Put these companies in a list or CRM

Step 2:

Submit an application on their website. This will most likely not get you an interview, but it will give you a better reason for reaching out to them.

Step 3:

Identify the person in charge of the sales development team or the entire sales team. The higher up you go the better as even the hiring manager could be told that the candidate needs a degree. The person at the top can easily make the decision to overlook a degree.

Step 4:

Send that person an email about your interest in working at their company along with your profile page. If you want to learn more about how to get their contact information and this process, then read the complete guide.

Step 5:

Schedule an interview and impress them with your knowledge/skills.

Remember that not having a degree doesn’t limit you if you choose to take the necessary steps to get around it. You can go through our free introduction to tech sales course to learn how you can get your foot in the door with a tech sales job.

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