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Starting a Career in Sales

In this blog, Sim Riordan, former SHL Director of Sales for European Mid-Market, shares her experience of starting a career in sales.

What made you choose a career in Sales?

Sales is one of those careers that many people fall into and then fall in love with! This was definitely true for me.

I’ve always enjoyed talking to people in a professional context, understanding their challenges and helping them find ways to solve these. So when I understood what being a good sales person actually means in terms of skills and outcomes, it was a natural fit.

Being in sales isn’t always an obvious choice of career. Part of this might relate to the fact that everyone has seen and experienced ‘being sold to’ firsthand. And it isn’t always a positive experience!

But on the flip side, when a buying experience is memorable for the right reasons, this takes such skill.

The positive impact an excellent sales professional can have on your life is huge. At their very best, strong business-to-business sales professionals make their clients smarter, quicker, more competitive and more successful!

What advice would you give to those trying to secure their first sales role?

The key is considering what motivates and drives you, and the kind of characteristics in a working environment that bring out the best in you. I believe it is vitally important to believe in what you sell, so also be sure to think about this.

It is always wise to ask those who know you what they think, so consult with friends, family, lecturers/teachers and be sure to use your network to get more specific career advice. If you get as much exposure as you can to selling, even if the experience is not in a business-to-business environment.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love food, traveling and going to the gym! So if I’m not eating or experiencing a new culture, I’ll surely be planning one of the above. Or working out!

If you could be a superhero for one day, what would your superpower be?

My team will laugh when they read this, but it has to be stopping the clock! I never seem to have enough time to do all the things I’d like to be able to. My second choice would be flying – from our rooftop terrace in the Vauxhall office we have an amazing view of London and the River Thames, but I’d love to see it from different angles!

If you would like to learn more about Life at SHL and our current vacancies please visit our Careers page.

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Sim Riordan

Sim is a former Business Leader, Coach, and Psychologist. She cares deeply about the intersection between people, people science, and decision making about people at work. Her belief is that a humane perspective brings a win:win outcome; better life outcomes for workers and better business outcomes. Sim led SHL's pan European Mid-Market business, who transforms organizations' productivity and decision-making through deep people insights.

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