When young professionals envision sales positions, they might picture the car salesman at the local dealership or their own teenage stints working in retail. In reality, about 5% of the United States population works in the sales industry. The sales job possibilities are seemingly endless — and so are the opportunities for job seekers.

For so many young workers, entry-level direct sales jobs are a great way to jump-start a career. These positions generally don’t require prior experience, so job seekers don’t have to fit the long lists of skills and prerequisites they see in other job listings.

More importantly, sales work can teach young professionals lifelong skills that transfer from one job to the next. After all, every CEO has to use a salesman’s persuasion techniques to sway directors in the boardroom. And those “Shark Tank” entrepreneurs? They need to sell, sell, sell to get seed funding. Those are just some of the ways a first job in sales can set an entire career up for success.

The Perks of Being a Salesperson

Practically every company depends upon a cadre of solid sales experts to keep money flowing, so sales team members are often safer than their colleagues when it comes time for corporate downsizing. No organization can afford to let go of someone whose hustle keeps the lights on. Despite these job-security advantages, some early-career job seekers hesitate to pursue sales.

Young workers may be concerned about future paychecks, feel ill-equipped to network or negotiate agreements, or worry that their sparse track records make snagging a potentially lucrative sales position a moon shot. No need to worry, though.

In today’s competitive market, employers expect to train the salespeople they onboard. Unless the job opening requires previous management expertise, no employer expects perfection from day one. Additionally, companies recognize that young professionals, particularly students, want to make money sooner rather than later. By giving new recruits the tools they need to start conversations and secure deals, employers help sales team members establish themselves financially.

If lack of time is a bigger concern than experience or money, know that plenty of companies hire salespeople interested in joining the burgeoning gig economy. Employers encourage and applaud sales personnel who take ownership of their working hours, and this allows sales professionals to schedule around school or other commitments.

The Skills Built Along the Way

Of course, the immediate benefits of entering the sales world pale in comparison to what can happen down the road. As the Hult International Business School found in a survey, stellar sales skills are critical must-haves in modern companies. After all, anyone who does well in sales will likely possess self-confidence, understand business practices, and enjoy the art of persuasion.

If you’re a resilient, creative person driven by a competitive spirit and you want to help people find solutions to their problems, then it’s time to explore available sales positions. Sales industry positions can truly change the trajectory of your career path, as the skills salespeople pick up will easily transfer across disciplines. Here are four benefits to working a sales position:

1. Soft Skill Development

Sales experts know that every day brings hands-on career experience. What they learn isn’t just nuts and bolts: They develop valuable soft skills, such as time management, emotional intelligence, and relationship-building, that are sought-after traits in many industries.

According to a Pew Research survey, the most important skill a young professional can have is good communication. Learning how to communicate is essential for salespeople who must listen and respond effectively in order to do their jobs well. If you develop these soft skills in sales, then you can build future relationships with customers and co-workers and make yourself a worthy job prospect.

2. Heightened Responsibility

The sales life involves balancing many responsibilities. Sellers quickly discover that empty promises just don’t cut it: They must follow through and follow up consistently. Some get so good at juggling expectations and impressing clients that their customers’ companies even offer them jobs! Along with managing a revolving to-do list, salespeople become adept at managing their own and others’ moneys and investments. All of this requires cultivating a high level of responsibility.

3. Increased Aptitude in Negotiations

Equitable transactions can be tricky: It’s difficult to make everyone happy during a negotiation. In sales, you constantly find ways to ensure that everyone — from your boss to third-party suppliers — receives something of value in exchange for his or her resources. In the end, mutually beneficial agreements can lead to referrals and future sales. Even if you’re already great at altering your pitch to cater to different audiences, a sales job will hone those skills further.

4. A Professional Mentor

Direct sales organizations frequently partner emerging sales employees with seasoned mentors. These coaches can jaw about everything from self-discipline to ethical hustling. Sales mentors also serve as go-to supporters when the chips are down because sales can be a high-stress, high-pressure career. A compassionate and encouraging advisor will refuel your grit and proactivity, which allows you to come back stronger.

Still intimidated by the concept of labeling yourself a salesperson? Consider all the benefits of becoming a sales superhero. Not only will you boost your career by laying an impressive selling track record, but you’ll challenge yourself to perform better with each passing week. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go make some sales!

Author's Bio: 

Mike Monroe is a Christian, husband, dad, marketer, and wannabe athlete. In 2000, Mike joined Vector Marketing, where he learned to stick out from the crowd and developed as a professional.