3 years ago
January 7, 2015

What to Look for in a Sales Job Description

Sales job descriptions can be overly lengthy, unhelpfully short, or somewhere in between, and in your job hunt you are bound to run in to all three.

Rhys Metler

sales job descriptionSales job descriptions can be overly lengthy, unhelpfully short, or somewhere in between, and in your job hunt you are bound to run in to all three types. Your task is to untangle these descriptions to find out whether you can be successful at a given company. Fortunately, the outline for sales job descriptions is fairly standard, which allows you to compare one description against another to identify the best career path for you.

Position Title and Objective

The exact title of the open position and the overall objective of the position to the company and the successful hire should always be clearly outlined. Generally, this information is listed first in the sales job description. If there is no title or objective, career seekers are usually better off looking elsewhere for a position, as the lack of this information can indicate a lack of interest in the position on behalf of the employer, which is never a good starting opportunity for a sales person.

Job Summary

The summary in a sales job description is frequently overlooked by applicants, which is a big mistake. Ignoring critical information in a sales job description is a sure way to annoy hiring managers and recruiters, and virtually ensures that your application will be discarded. Although the summary might seem like a recap of the rest of the sales job description, important information is usually covered, including necessary skills that might not be broken out in the skills section.

Minimum Qualifications

Especially in specialized industries, employers anticipate training the right candidate on some aspects of the job. However, any skills that a candidate must bring to the table will be listed in the sales job description. If you’re missing any of the minimum skills, don’t puff your resume to make it look like you do have a particular skill or knowledge base; the employer will discover this sooner or later, and misleading statements on critical requirements can be grounds for termination.

It’s always a good career move to reach for a higher position, but try to match the strong skills you already have with the sales job description before applying. Applying for the jobs for which you are most qualified not only increases your chances of a successful interview and hire, but lays the groundwork for success in your new position.

Overall Thoroughness

If a sales job description is overly vague, you should proceed with caution. Vague job descriptions could indicate that the employer isn’t sure what they need out of a candidate, or worse, isn’t committed to that candidate’s success. This could put you on the spot later, since referring back to a vague sales job description will not give you a benchmark for your performance. Your other option is to ask many detailed questions during the interview, and request a job description updated to match the information given by the employer during the interview before accepting any job offer.

The exception is phrases like “other duties as assigned.” Although this is vague, it is standard boilerplate language for a sales job description. Employers want to know that the person they hire for an open position is ready and willing to take on additional responsibilities and grow with the company.

To strike the right balance between a position you are qualified for and a position that will advance your career, look for sales job descriptions that match at least 75% of your skills, qualifications, and interests. This leaves you room to grow while satisfying an employer of your strengths as a candidate.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.