Careers in Sales


Looking for an entry level job or internship in sales? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

When I was younger, my neighborhood would hold a yard sale one Saturday each Spring. It would start at the crack of dawn, and I’d jump out of bed those mornings knowing it was my time to shine. The more things I sold, the more money I’d make. And the more money I made, the more candy I could buy! My first tactic was to get people “in the door” by yelling out that I had fresh hand-baked sticky buns for sale for $1.00 each. Turns out nothing grabs attention like the allure of breakfast in the morning. After I’d hooked folks with my food, I’d ask them what they were looking for, hunt my most similar item down for them, and bargain over the final price. That was my introduction to sales–a job function in which a person helps to sell goods and services to new or current customers.

Sales Careers

Photo Credit: Flickr user dennis

Sales Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Sales Professional Does
  2. A Typical Day in Sales
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Sales Professional
  4. Best Locations for Sales
  5. Pro/Con: Being a Sales Professional
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career in Sales
  7. Sales Resources
  8. Careers Related to Sales
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Sales

What a Sales Person Does

A sales person tries to sell products, services, or facilities to people who might be interested in them. Sales is a function that can be found in nearly every organization in some form. A salesperson’s goals is to teach potential customers learn more about the product or service and help them overcome any objections they may have to making a purchasing decision. Sales jobs can range from the retail level where you convince someone to buy a particular cell phone to the enterprise level where you are hammering out multi-million dollar contracts between businesses.

Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales

There are two types of sales jobs–one is called “outside sales” and the other is referred to as “inside sales.” Outside sales representatives generally sell goods outside of the office–this could range from going door to door to flying across the world to make a pitch. People in outside sales typically focus on bringing in entirely new business or at least opening up the opportunity for a business relationship in the future. People who work in inside sales primarily close over the phone or e-mail, and their job is geared towards closing new sales with current customers. This may mean upselling, convincing a client to renew a contract, or closing a sale with a warm lead.

A Typical Day in Sales

The day of a Sales Associate is dominated by communication with prospects–this may be over the phone, by e-mail, or in person. Depending on what is being sold, the time spent on an individual prospect could be minutes or weeks (for instance some companies will require employees to make 200 calls a day or schedule 20 meetings a week). This means that there is a lot of variance in the day to day activities of someone in sales, but the days typically consist of following up on previous interactions, searching for and researching new prospects, and reaching out to these new prospects. Some businesses provide their salespeople with leads, while others require their sales team to find new prospects on their own.

The most successful salespeople are able to understand their customers’ problems and then frame the product they are selling as the best solution. The key to selling is overcoming a customer’s objections, so people in sales typically need to excel at reading people and asking questions. Jobs in sales are heavily shaped by what is being sold, but the skills that are most important in the job span across all industries.

Salary and Career Progression in Sales

A sales person on average makes $52,000 per year. But that can range a bit depending upon what industry you’re selling in. For example, in advertising sales, the average person makes $43,000 per year, but in medical sales, the average sales associate makes about $67,000 per year. There are endless possibilities for growth, as you can expand across industries, or add on additional territories within your current industry to become Regional Sales Manager ($50,000-$160,000), Sales Director ($45,000-$210,000), and National Sales Manager ($50,000-$165,000). Many Sales jobs come with relatively small base salaries and significant commission structures or performance bonuses.

Best Locations for Sales Careers

These hot spots have the highest salaries for salespeople:

  • Princeton, NJ
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Detroit, MI
  • Reston, VA
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • West Palm Beach, FL

Pro/Con: Working in Sales

  • You build deep relationships with clients (you have a book of business)
  • There is often an opportunity to travel
  • You have significant autonomy and control of your outcomes
  • Constant competition
  • You have to hit your numbers
  • Huge learning curve

What You Need to Know for a Career in Sales

To work in Sales you’ll need to develop specific skills like good listening, exceptional self-confidence, and persuasiveness. It’s also important that you’re self-motivated, and a real people person. On top of that, beyond a basic college degree (which isn’t always required) you’ll probably need to undergo some company specific training, so that you can learn the products you’re pitching inside and out.

Sales Resources

If Sales still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

Required Reading

Key Folks to Follow on Twitter

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Careers Related to Sales

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Sales

The Business Backer Logo

The Business Backer - The Business Backer is based in Cincinnati based and “is helping small business owners flourish and grow by re-inventing relationship-based lending for the 21st century.”

See the complete The Business Backer profile

CompStak Logo

CompStak - CompStak is based in NYC and creating "transparency in commercial real estate by gathering information that is hard to find, difficult to compile or otherwise unavailable.”

See the complete CompStak profile

Sprout Social Logo

Sprout Social - Sprout Social is a Chicago, IL based company that offers “a management and egnagement platform for social business.”

See the complete Sprout Social profile

Domo Logo

Domo - Domo is an American Fork, UT based company that “transforms the way executives manage their business" by providing all of your important data in one intuitive platform.

See the complete Domo profile

ListenLogic Logo

ListenLogic - ListenLogic is a Conshohocken, PA based company that extracts “insights from unstructured big data to drive business outcomes.”

See the complete ListenLogic profile

Tripping Logo

Tripping - Tripping is a San Francisco, CA based company that has build “the world’s largest search engine for vacation and short-term rentals.”

See the complete Tripping profile

Chalkfly Logo

Chalkfly - Chalkfly is a Detroit, MI based office supply startup that provides “the supplies you need to do your best work.”

See the complete Chalkfly profile

Vayable Logo

Vayable - Vayable is based in SF/NYC and offers “a home for anyone looking to experience honest, local culture through experiences created and hosted by passionate local Insiders.”

See the complete Vayable profile

Lifesize Logo

Lifesize - Lifesize is an Austin, TX based company that has “set out to make video conferencing truly universal.”

See the complete Lifesize profile

OneIMS Logo

OneIMS - OneIMS is a Skokie, IL based company that offers “everything from services like branding and web design to online marketing strategies like SEO and PPC.”

See the complete OneIMS profile

The Resumator Logo

The Resumator - The Resumator is a Pittsburgh, PA based company that helps “great people build great companies” by bringing “talented professionals and compelling companies together.”

See the complete The Resumator profile

SheKnows Logo

SheKnows - SheKnows is a Scottsdale, AZ based “women’s lifestyle media platform” that “allows brands to distribute authentic content and integrated advertising at scale.”

See the complete SheKnows profile

Radio One Logo

Radio One - Radio One is a Lanham, MD based media company that focuses on targeting African-American and urban consumers through 54 radio stations.

See the complete Radio One profile Logo - is a San Francisco, CA based company that “was founded with the goal of connecting inspired kitchens with the masses.”

See the complete profile

Balboa Capital

Balboa Capital - Balboa Capital is an Irvine, CA based company that “has been providing equipment leasing and working capital loans to US businesses for over two decades.”

See the complete Balboa Capital profile

FreshAddress Logo

FreshAddress - FreshAddress is a Newton, MA based company that helps “companies that depend on email to drive revenue by building, updating, segmenting, and cleaning their email lists.”

See the complete FreshAddress profile

UpOut Logo

UpOut - UpOut is a San Francisco, CA based company that “is changing how locals discover unique events in their city.”

See the complete UpOut profile

MOO Logo

MOO - MOO is an East Providence, RI based company that loves to print. They’ve even invented a word to describe what they do: “printfinity.”

See the complete MOO profile Logo - is a Houston, TX based company that is “the world’s largest online window covering store.”

See the complete profile

Xamarin Logo

Xamarin - Xamarin is a San Francisco, CA based company allows developers to write “apps entirely in C#, sharing the same code on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.”

See the complete Xamarin profile

Luminate Logo

Luminate - A lot of companies have put ads alongside images, but Luminate is a Mountain View, CA based company that is putting them in the actual images.

See the complete Luminate profile

71lbs Logo

71lbs - 71lbs is a Fort Lauderdale, FL based startup “with a ‘set-and-forget’ system that allows our customers to easily and automatically collect late-shipment refunds."

See the complete 71lbs profile

Centro Logo

Centro - Centro is a Chicago, IL based company that works “to improve the lives of those working in the advertising industry by building media management software."

See the complete Centro profile

Eataly Logo

Eataly - Eataly is a New York, NY and Chicago, IL based gourmet Italian marketplace inspired by the famous chef Mario Batali.

See the complete Eataly profile

Triggit Logo

Triggit - Triggit is a San Fran based company that “enables advertisers and agencies to build, run, measure, and optimize retargeting-driven display campaigns from a single platform.”

See the complete Triggit profile

SmartBear Logo

SmartBear - SmartBear is based in Beverly, MA, and they make “tools to help you manage the quality of your desktop, web, mobile, and api-based applications."

See the complete SmartBear profile

Sojern Logo

Sojern - Sojern is based in San Francisco and has developed a travel-focused “robust audience engagement platform [that] is powered by machine-learning technology."

See the complete Sojern profile

inDinero Logo

inDinero - inDinero is a San Francisco, CA based company that will "take care of your accounting, file your corporate tax returns, and manage your payroll.”

See the complete inDinero profile

Ahalogy Logo

Ahalogy - Ahalogy is a Cincinnati, OH based company that is “pioneering the science of discovery on Pinterest.”

See the complete Ahalogy profile

Whalerock Industries Logo

Whalerock Industries - Whalerock Industries, based in Santa Monica, CA, brings together the "best and brightest minds to create world-class content, spanning all mediums and screens.”

See the complete Whalerock Industries profile

nrelate Logo

nrelate - nrelate is an NYC based company that "helps Publishers give their readers an easy way to find more great content from within their site or from around the web."

See the complete nrelate profile

Houzz Logo

Houzz - Houzz is a Palo Alto, CA based company that offers “a collaborative platform for home remodeling and design."

See the complete Houzz profile

Flipboard Logo

Flipboard - Flipboard is a Palo Alto, CA based company that offers a “single place to discover, collect and share the news you care about.”

See the complete Flipboard profile

LogRhythm Logo

LogRhythm - Boulder, CO based LogRhythm is “the largest and fastest growing independent security intelligence company in the world.”

See the complete LogRhythm profile


REVOLVE - REVOLVE is based in Cerritos, CA and is the “virtual home for an unrivaled collection of the world’s most coveted brands.”

See the complete REVOLVE profile

GoPro Logo

GoPro - GoPro is a San Mateo, CA based company that has built a huge business by offering “the world’s most versatile camera.”

See the complete GoPro profile

FranConnect Logo

FranConnect - FranConnect is a Reston, VA based company that offers Franchise Management Systems to big name clients like Dairy Queen and The UPS Store.

See the complete FranConnect profile

Worthee Logo

Worthee - Worthee is a Chicago, IL based company that offers premium dog walking and care services through a simple mobile app.

See the complete Worthee profile


FATHOM - FATHOM is an Oakland, CA studio that uses its “expertise in 3D printing and additive manufacturing to help customers innovate faster and more efficiently.”

See the complete FATHOM profile

Camping World Logo

Camping World - Camping World is based in Bowling Green, KY and is “the camping and recreational vehicle enthusiast’s one-stop-shop for everything they need to enjoy their RV.”

See the complete Camping World profile

Relias Learning Logo

Relias Learning - Relias Learning is based in Cary, NC and offers “online training to senior care, health and human services, corrections, and intellectual and developmental disabilities organizations.”

See the complete Relias Learning profile

Hanley Wood Logo

Hanley Wood - Washington, DC based Hanley Wood is “the premier media, event, information and strategic marketing services company serving the residential and commercial design and construction industries.”

See the complete Hanley Wood profile

AllTrails Logo

AllTrails - AllTrails is a San Francisco, CA based startup that provides outdoor enthusiast "with the information and tools to discover top destinations near them.”

See the complete AllTrails profile

Amicus Logo

Amicus - Amicus is a New York, NY based company that turns a “nonprofit’s supporters into fundraisers and advocates.”

See the complete Amicus profile

Invoca Logo

Invoca - Invoca is a Santa Barbara, CA based company whose "marketing tools empower you to generate better leads, higher conversions, smarter spends and greater revenue.”

See the complete Invoca profile

Loverly Logo

Loverly - Loverly is a New York, NY based "one-stop-shop for wedding planning where brides and grooms find ideas, people to hire and things to buy.”

See the complete Loverly profile

Mass Relevance Logo

Mass Relevance - Mass Relevance is an Austin, TX based company that aims “to inspire brands to involve their audience.”

See the complete Mass Relevance profile

Arc'teryx Logo

Arc’teryx - Arc'teryx is a Vancouver, BC based company that merges “unrivaled designs with the best quality, highest performing materials" to keep you warm.

See the complete Arc’teryx profile

Industrial Color Logo

Industrial Color - Industrial Color is an LA and NYC based company that offers “digital still and video capture, post-production, color and video editing services,"

See the complete Industrial Color profile

Visual Data Systems Logo

Visual Data Systems - Visual Data Systems is based in Columbia, MD and serves "the Vacation Rental Community with Web Design, Online Marketing Solutions, and Reservation System Integration.”

See the complete Visual Data Systems profile

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