Sales as a bridge to other careers?
October 18, 2012 1:27 PM Subscribe
Is a job in sales a good way to jump from academia to the corporate world?
posted by MouseOfHouseofAnony to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm someone who has spent their adult life doing experimental research in the social sciences. Since finishing my PhD, I have decided to move away from academia and into the corporate world. I don't know exactly which direction I want to go in, but I am hoping to get into something like market research or human factors research. I have also been thinking a bit about management consulting -- though the lifestyle seems stressful, it seems like a great way to be exposed to a lot of different fields and make a lot of contacts. The variety inherent in consulting is also appealing.
I was recently approached by a management consulting firm about a 1-year contract position in business development. I have never worked [non-retail] sales and have usually shied away from those positions (I'm not generally a pushy or aggressive person), but the thought of doing it doesn't fill me with dread or anything. I would probably learn a lot in that job, and the company assures me that I would have the opportunity to try move into actual consulting once the contract was up.
I'm a little hesitant though, that this takes me too far away from what I currently think I want to do*. On the other hand, I haven't had much non-academic experience (some part time jobs in retail and admin only), and I worry that the lack of "real business" experience might be hurting my odds of getting into my preferred industries. This might be a valuable first-step into showing employers that I have real-world skills outside of pure research.
Perhaps more crucially, I haven't had any luck with the market research/human factors positions I've applied to, and I need to find a job pretty quickly at this point.
1) Is sales / business development a plausible path to get to where I want to go?
2) If you were an employer in market / human factors research, would seeing a sales position on my resume help/hurt/have no impact on my prospects of getting a job with you?
* And that I might hate it/be horrible at it, but I at least have a little more control over that.