This is the second in a series of articles dealing with the general series of careers. This series will not discuss the opportunities offered by individual firms or specific openings. Rather it will deal with topics such as selling, advertising, etc.
Selling for manufacturers is seldom house-to-house canvassing: rather it means selling tangible goods for resale or to other business and industrial concerns.
Large national manufacturing companies frequently employ recent college graduates to train for sales work. This training, lasting from three months to two years, may be formal or informal. Prospective salesmen learn about the products of the company by actual work in the factory, and also something of company merchandising policy and sales correspondence in the general sales office: sales instruction they receive in the field under senior salesmen.
After such training the men are assigned to local or district sales offices, from which they cover a specific territory as salesmen. Their customers will include jobbers and wholesale dealers, retail store buyers, office executives, or purchasing agents.
A college man's reasonable objective with a national sales organization may well be a district or division sales manager's job. Probably few men will ever reach the general sales office; some may be assigned to advertising or to sales analysis and marketing as staff experts. The majority, however, will rise slowly through a hierarchy of managerships often necessitating transfers to widely separated sections of the country.
In employing college men, sales managers seek those who are good mixers, have poise and self-confidence, and the ability to win the confidence and respect of their customers. Participation and leadership in extra-curricular activities and summer work experience are generally regarded by employers as evidence of those qualifications. Special training in engineering, chemistry, or accounting are essential for selling complex machinery, chemical compounds, some business machines, etc.