Are you an active listener with an entrepreneurial spirit? These are just two key skills that make a great commercial and sales graduate. With high career progression chances and bonuses or commissioning extras on top of your annual salary, this is an attractive sector to join. Sound good? This guide will take you through commercial and sales graduate schemes along with what you need to apply, the application process and what skills employers look for.
What Sales and Commercial graduate schemes are there?
During a sales or commercial graduate scheme, you’ll be handed responsibility from the get-go. You’ll be working alongside experienced and knowledgeable employees on sales and management projects, learning new sales techniques, and creating promotional sale strategies. Sales and commercial graduate schemes can be fiercely competitive, so make sure you show experience, passion for the industry, knowledge of the market you’re going into, and that you’re driven by achieving targets. Sales executive graduate schemes like this one from Softcat are popular, where you’ll be providing top-class customer service while achieving financial objectives for the business. You're in charge of your sales, earnings, relationships, and development. Some may say it's similar to running your own business!
During commercial graduate schemes, depending on your exact role, you’ll be working directly with management to maximise sales, including going to the public to promote new products or conduct customer research. Or, you could get a good idea of an e-commerce role or customer business management - in commercial the opportunities are endless! Big corporations like Amazon run commercial internships for students and graduates who are working towards or have received a Bachelor's or Master's degree within a set of years (e.g. between 2022 and 2023). Graduate schemes can put you in good stead for a high-paying role after completion. It also shows dedication and determination to create an amazing career in the field. Browse other sales and commercial internships.
Learn about 10 popular graduate jobs in sales.
Are there any Sales and Commercial internships or apprenticeships?
If you’re a student not at university or someone who’s thinking of ways into the sales and commercial industry, an apprenticeship or internship may be just the ticket for you. Internships are a great way to learn hands-on experience at a company, giving you an insight into if the industry is for you. Apprenticeships in sales and commercial may work around a part-time degree while earning a salary from an employer that you work for. Or, they may be entirely trainee based, which means you get heaps of on-the-job training and experience under your belt.
Sales and commercial apprenticeships are in levels:
- Level 2 = equivalent to five GCSEs
- Level 3 = equivalent to two good A-Levels
- Level 4 & 5 = Foundation degree
- Level 6 & 7 = Equivalent to a Bachelors or Masters
To apply for sales and commercial apprenticeships, you need to either be studying for a degree, have four GCSEs at grades 9-4 in Mathematics, English, and two others of choice, or a minimum of 120 UCAS points. But apprenticeships don't get too hung up on academics, they just need to know if you can sell, are willing to learn, and are passionate about the field. Look at industrial placements in sales and commercial.
Learn about the different roles in sales and their salary expectations.
What skills and attributes do Sales and Commercial employers look for?
- Clear and persuasive communicator
- Ability to build strong relationships
- Previous sales experience
- Analytical and numeracy skills (experience using analytical tools like Google Analytics or HTML is a bonus)
- Knowledge in MS Office - Excel, PowerPoint
- Excellent Time-management
- Entrepreneurial flair
- Quick learner
- Highly organised
- Attention to detail
- Keen to learn
When can I apply? Is there a certain application process?
Most sales and commercial graduate schemes open for applications during the end or the start of the year, so if you’re a graduate in your final year of study it’s recommended you start researching and applying as soon as possible. The majority of sales graduate schemes use rolling deadlines, but internships and apprenticeships use fixed deadlines so make sure you know when the scheme you want to apply to ends.
Graduate schemes use a range of application processes that depend on the role, company, and competition. But, it usually includes some of the following: an online application, a telephone interview, a test (for sales and commercial this could be a numerical test), an assessment centre (group tasks, interviews), and a final interview that could be with more than one person.
An assessment centre sounds daunting, but don’t worry, Bright Network has a whole host of career advice to help you along the way, including telephone interviews, assessment centres, and aptitude and numerical tests.
Are you sold? If you want to kick start your career, look at our list of sales and commercial graduate schemes with application deadlines.