To succeed as a sales engineer, you need good people skills in addition to your degree. Because of the mix of requirements for this type of engineer job, it’s not always easy to land a position. Here are a few things you can do to improve your chances.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most companies require sales engineers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering—but don't assume that your degree speaks for itself. A sales engineer needs to be a sales professional first and an engineer second, so your resume should highlight your sales experience. Companies want people who can sell, so by gearing your resume toward sales and highlighting your engineering skills, you can show recruiters that you know how to sell.
Landing an interview is the easy part of obtaining a sales engineering job. Before your interview, research the company’s background and learn about its products or services. The more you know about what the company does, the easier it will be to show the interviewer you can sell what the company offers. If you’ve been successful in sales previously, prepare a few stories for the interview to showcase how you’ve turned difficult sales situations into actual sales.
Because companies hiring sales professionals often look for someone who's outgoing and communicates easily with others, be prepared to take a personality assessment as part of the interview process. According to a recent article on HuffingtonPost.com, there's no single personality type that makes a good salesperson. If you’re confident and you have the desire to do well in the sales industry, are committed to meeting your goals, and have a positive outlook on life in general, you can succeed in sales. So even though you want your interviewers to know you have strong interpersonal skills, don’t worry about it too much. The last thing you want to do is appear to be trying too hard because you’re overly anxious to show you're outgoing.
While sales should be the general focus of your resume, don't overlook your engineering experience. Remember that a sales engineer job requires an engineer—the position requires you to understand the technical details of your employer's products or services and the ways they can benefit your customers. During your interview, if you feel you're being too focused on sales, try to bring the conversation around to an engineering topic that highlights your skills.
The most important thing you can do during your interview is be yourself. Show the interviewer you're confident you’re a good fit for the company. If you remain relaxed, focus primarily on your sales experience, and highlight your engineering career, you’ll find it easier to land a position as a sales engineer.
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