Sales Essentials for Career Readiness

Written by Adam Grossman

An ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development, he is a cofounder and the Chief Development Officer at The Selling Factory.

Photo on Unsplash by Lukas Blazek

Every year as February rolls around, college students prepare for their career journey. They go to career fairs and network at events with the goal to secure opportunities for career development. As students gather information about potential positions, many wonder, “am I qualified for this role?” A student’s answer usually focuses on their technical skills or major. However, what grabs the attention of potential employers is not their major or technical skills. Rather, how has your overall experiences prepared you to meet their needs and benefit their team? What are these necessary differentiators? How can working in sales advance them, and how can they showcase them to employers?

Understanding Career Readiness

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) developed a list of eight career readiness competencies. These are critical skills necessary for employers. These competencies include: 1) Career & Self-Development, 2) Communication, 3) Critical Thinking, 4) Equity & Inclusion, 5) Leadership, 6) Professionalism, 7) Teamwork, and 8) Technology. 

Each of the areas listed play a critical role in career preparedness. They equip individuals with the tools necessary to adapt and thrive in new situations. They are the catalyst to crafting and sharing ideas effectively to a team. Also, they offer the framework for building good relationships and maintaining them. 

Many opportunities for career development exist during college to enhance these skills. There are on campus leadership opportunities, student organizations to join, volunteer opportunities, study abroad, and summer internships. While these offer valuable opportunities for career development, studies show a major gap between student competency and employer expectations. 

According to a recent study of employers by NACE, the two most important career readiness competencies are critical thinking and communication. While 98.5% of employers feel that both are extremely important for candidates to have, employers feel that only 55.8% are proficient critical thinkers and 54.3% of employers feel graduates are competent communicators.

These career readiness competencies are essential for everyone to possess. However, it can be easy to feel as though they are an unattainable standard. But, there is a way to fully develop these skills. 

How to gain career readiness skills

Sales is the single most important function in any business. All other jobs are dependent on the success of the sales team. Without sales of a particular product or service, a company cannot operate and all other positions are null-and-void. Although improvement of communication skills and critical thinking is significant, many fear working in sales to the detriment of their career success. 

Despite one’s major or current career goals, sales experience drastically improves a student in relation to NACE’s core readiness competencies. 

Sales experience boosts an individual’s confidence to meet and adapt to any situation. It promotes active listening to understand a person’s pain point, which is essential in building empathic relationships. 

The sheer volume of people that an individual interacts with (including the many different personality types) in sales strengthens communication skills. They learn the power of simple and impactful language. As well as, the importance of eliminating wasted words such as like, -ly words, and “ums,”. This change harnesses the ability to hold multi-generational conversations.

With sales, especially with practice and coaching, individuals gain critical thinking skills. While listening to another’s needs, they quickly and thoughtfully analyze how to best position themselves and the company’s services. 

Beyond professional development, the sales experience gained benefits a future employer – and they know it.

Relating the Value of Sales Experience 

With one’s major or technical skills, and the nice addition of internships, employers value sales experience. Whether this position is in hospitality, outsourcing, fundraising, or customer service, the sales experience prepares students to succeed in the workforce. 

Simply sharing these roles on your resume though is not enough. It is vital to express how these experiences relate to the job you are pursuing and serve a future employer. With the tools learned in a sales role, one can more fully distinguish themselves from their peers in the job market. To do this effectively, it is important to

#1 Position

Position it well on your resume by showing your success through data. 

#2 Adapt

Adapt the sales skills in interviews by asking questions and listening to the interviewer. 

#3 Sell

Talk about the impact of your sales experience, such as the improvement of communication skills and writing more effectively. Include examples of how sales has advanced your critical thinking. 

Beyond degrees, internships, and leadership positions, students in the job market have drive, curiosity for learning, and fierce competitive spirit. However, this is not enough to differentiate oneself in the job market. 

To distinguish yourself, improvement of communication skills is essential. Significantly improving career readiness competencies, the sales experience offers a launchpad to boost confidence, strengthen communication, enhance critical thinking, and build empathy. These skills not only position oneself better, but also offer employers greater assurances of an employee’s capabilities to meet desired outcomes.

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.