Climbing the career ladder as a sales representative? Take a look at these statistics

Whether you're already employed or applying for sales rep positions, there are a lot of opportunities in this sector.

For those working in sales, there are a variety of ways to climb the promotional ladder. Starting as a sales representatives, you can master enough skills and gain enough experience to make you qualified for higher-level positions, such as department supervisor, assistant store manager , and even store manager. Of course, it's important to highlight all relevant skills and experience prominently on your resume — you'll ensure potential employers know your worth and give yourself credit for your accomplishments.

Looking to Climb the Career Ladder as a Sales Representative? Take a Look at these Statistics

Before we talk about promotions, there are some basic statistics that current and aspiring sales representatives should be aware of. Whether you're already employed or applying for sales rep positions, there are a lot of opportunities in the sector: CareerBuilder had 14 million unique job postings for sales representatives in 2016. This probably comes as no surprise — after all, America loves to shop! But what may surprise you is that the largest employers of sales representatives are family clothing stores and electronics stores; home centers and warehouse clubs —employing significantly fewer sales reps.

In terms of age, the majority of sales representatives are young:
21.7 percent are 25-34,
21.3 percent are 19-24.
Interestingly, the gender breakdown of sales representatives is almost evenly divided: 48.6 percent male compared to 51.4 percent female.

But what do employers look for on the resumes of prospective sales representatives? First and foremost, sales representatives need to be personable, since many of their day-to-day duties involve interacting with customers. Potential sales representatives should also be quick to learn about the products and services their store offers; when customers ask questions, they expect sales reps to have the answers. Clear, polite communication is key: customers may not want to buy your company's products or return to their stores if they have a negative experience with a sales representative.

Let your manager know you're ready for that promotion

If you're already a sales representative, you know this already — but few people want to stay sales reps forever, so you're also probably looking to rise through the ranks at your store. Assistant store managers build upon skills learned as a sales representative: while sales representatives need to have great communication skills in order to sell to customers. Assistant store managers communicate with even more people, including those who are having problems (usually referred by other sales reps). Assistant store managers are also usually responsible for training new sales representatives, so they should know the ins and outs of customer service as well as the products or services offered in their store. Patience and confidence are key, especially since sales representatives will be looking to you for guidance.

There are many ways to articulate on your resume that you're ready for these responsibilities, but one of the best is to show that you have leadership experience . Even if you've been a sales representative for a while, think about times when you coordinated a project or took initiative on the job — perhaps you came up with a better organizational system, or maybe you're known for calming down irate customers. Explain leadership qualities (confidence, diligence, innovation, etc.) as concretely as possible to let your employer know you're a good fit for assistant store manager.

Once you’ve spent some time as an assistant store manager, you might be looking to make the leap to store manager. Managers lead the in-store team — sometimes dozens of people — and interact with the corporate side of the company as well. They're responsible for carrying out new merchandising orders, compiling profit and loss reports, and figuring out new ways to increase efficiency and appeal to customers. Store managers set the standard for the culture of a workplace, and they need to inspire assistant managers and sales representatives to do the best jobs they can.

Practice your skills

Think you know what you want to do, but aren't sure how to start? CareerBuilder offers a course, designed in collaboration with retail experts, to take sales representatives to the next level. Enroll today to learn about customer service, merchandising, employee training, teamwork, empowerment, and, importantly, how to market yourself as a great candidate for promotion. Best of all, upon successful completion of the course, we'll help you secure job interviews with employers hiring in your area who are sure to be impressed with your skills.

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