Graduate Job Profile - Media Sales - is it for me?

The majority of media salespeople work hard and play hard, earn above average salaries, and enjoy meeting lots of different people through work and social events.

With employers ranging from major PLCs to cool start-ups, the career and earning prospects are great. You don’t have to have the gift of the gab or be able to sell ice to Eskimos, but you do need to be intelligent, self-motivated, confident, and a great communicator.

Things that make you go Mmmmm…

Whatever career you choose, it helps to be interested in your field!

The media industry is so vast; covering all aspects of our lives there is bound to be something of interest for almost everyone.  In fact, you often find that the salespeople working on niche publications and events are enthusiasts on that particular topic - from hardcore rock music to railway modelling to commercial refrigeration - there's someone who wants to advertise to that audience and a media salesperson to help them do just that.

Enjoying helicopters or hairdressing isn't enough though, you should find advertising fascinating and have a good awareness of brands - what they are like, who they are used by, how they are developed, and what they are trying to achieve, their marketing objectives.

A general awareness of culture and society, current affairs and a simple zest for life and learning will definitely stand you in good stead, if only to help make small talk at that client lunch!

Wallflowers need not apply

There's no way round it - if you want to work in media sales then you need to like people - every aspect of the job involves relationships.

Building good relationships with clients, colleagues, bosses, administrative staff, service providers, (and most importantly Duane in IT who knows how to fix the printer) will make your career significantly more enjoyable and successful.

The need for good interpersonal and communication skills is a given, as is a sociable, outgoing personality, but key to success is combining this with bundles of energy and drive, enthusiasm and self-discipline.

That may all sound like a cliché but even the most successful happiest salesman who loves their job will tell you that cold calling can be hard going at times. And as for dragging yourself out of bed with a stinking hangover after a night out with the boss, you seriously don't want to let him be in the office too many hours before you...

Many media salespeople would describe themselves as entrpreneurial and, as their careers progress, get huge satisfaction from being involved in new product launches.  The media industry is reknowned for its small businesses and frequent new start-ups.

The opportunities are there, you just need to be the type of person who will go and grab them.

Left brain, right brain

As your career develops, the breadth of opportunities will be vast so as far as possible, the breadth of your basic skillset will need to match.

Organisational skills, multi-tasking and prioritisation are needed on a daily basis.  Time management is key.  Attention to detail is essential, as is a sense of ownership... you will experience great support and camaraderie from your colleagues but if you are someone who takes full responsibility for your work from start to finish, your peers, your boss and your clients will love you and you will go far.

Good numeracy is important as even if you aren't confident crunching data, you will need to be able to understand and interpret it in your sales pitches... and then of course, there's the commission on your sales deals to work out!  Although you need to be good with numbers and money, don't worry you do not need to be a mathematician.

Equally, you will thrive if you are naturally a creative type, sales is often as simple as solving problems and being someone who is full of fresh ideas will take you a long way.  More and more people are choosing media sales as a career after studying a creative discipline at university as increasingly salespeople are tasked with finding new and innovative solutions to satisfy their clients' marketing objectives.

Are all the best jobs in London?

A large number of media agencies and media owners are based in London but today there are a huge number of companies right across the UK doing exciting things in every sector.

OK, show me the money...

Although salaries vary depending on the size of company you work for and the sector you're in, media sales is one of the best paid graduate careers and with promotion this can rise rapidly.

Entry level salaries are usually around £16-18k basic plus monthly or quarterly commission payments, which are dependent on your sales performance and company-specific criteria, but can boost your pay packet up to £24-25k in the first year.  Graduates who perform well can expect their basic salary to increase after as little as 6 months.

Career path / experience        On Target Earnings*

graduate in first year                   £18-24,000

sales executuve up to 2 years     £24-30,000

senior sales up to 3 years           £28-35,000

deputy manager 2-4 years          £30-40,000

ad manager up to 5 years           £35-50,000+

group ad manager                      £40-60,000+

publisher, sales director £50-70,000+

* On Target Earnings: this is comprised of your basic salary plus commission. – your guide to a career in media sales

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