Advice: "I'm looking for my first sales role after college. Should I pick a job with the best upside potential or something I'm passionate about?"

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Dear Quota Team

I’m a year out of college and am looking to get into my first sales role. For the last year I’ve been working with my dad, who owns a plumbing business, but we both agree that I’m not going to take over the business, and instead will be going into the more “professional” world. 

My question is this: should I focus on getting a sales job in an industry that I’m passionate about, or should my focus be on a position that has good upside potential? 

For instance, I really like sports. Should I try to get a job with a baseball team or something similar? On the other hand, I could try to get a job in tech sales or medical device sales, where I know you can build a lucrative long-term sales career. 

I think I am leaning toward doing something more “professional” but I’d rather go down the right path to begin with. Sales is my favorite part of working with my dad, which is why I want to make it my career. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. 

Wondering in New York     


Dear Wondering,

Our reflexive answer would be to follow the path with more options, which is the path with more “upside potential.” Niche sales jobs can be great, but if you go into a big industry, you’ll have more job security, opportunity for advancement, and a more lucrative career.

That being said, there are some people who can only get excited about their job if they are already passionate about the industry. And you might not know whether this is you until you actually start selling. 

You absolutely have to care about what you’re doing, otherwise you’ll never do it to your full potential. But if you care about your career, and if becoming a success is important to you, then you’ll find that it drives you to become a great rep, no matter what you’re selling. So pick the right mountain to climb and make sure you’re always thinking about getting to the top. Good luck.

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