Civilian Careers: Have You Considered a Career In Sales?

Community Manager
Community Manager


Just the mention of a career in Sales conjures up all kinds of thoughts. I’ve heard these comments and reactions for years and over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that if your gut reaction is that, “Sales is not for me!” I would like to “sell” you on the idea that it could be.


Admittedly, I was the kid growing up who sold the most cups, candy, candles, and cheese for fundraisers for school activities such as Football, Track & Field, and Band. You know someone like this too! You might remark that they “have the gift of gab” or some other descriptors used to describe the salesperson in your group of Friends.


No doubt, you’ve been in some sales situations that rubbed you the wrong way: That high-pressure Used Car Salesperson, that “Free Trip with No Obligation, you just need to listen to a brief 90 minute presentation” ordeal, the latest “Get Rich Quick Scheme” present yet again by some stranger you just met who thought looked like you’ve got what it takes to make millions in just a few months!


No, this is not the type of sales career I’m talking about.


To me, a career in sales can take on many forms:


  • A Veteran who spent years working on a particular software program or weapons system gets hired as a salesperson selling the same or similar technology for the company who created it.


  • A Veteran who worked in the medical field begins a sales career selling a medical device such as prosthesis, wound therapy, psychiatric medications and mental health support systems, etc.


  • A Veteran who worked in Law Enforcement starts to sell physical security technology and equipment, identification badges and secure access passes, or personal security products.


  • A Veteran who worked as a Lab Technician now sells lab tests that can be performed bedside or within the four walls of a Doctor’s office.


  • A Veteran who drove trucks in the military now sells maintenance contracts for fleet vehicles for a company that relies heavily on the readiness upkeep of trucks and cars.


  • A Veteran who worked in logistics gets hired to sell transportation services to various trucking companies who would otherwise have empty trucks parked with nothing to transport.


  • A Veteran Paratrooper sells skydiving lessons to people who want to experience that “knees in the breeze” sensation.


So, I’d like to suggest that you open your mind to the possibilities of a career in sales. Here’s why:


  • Your technical abilities learned from your time serving in the military can be leveraged into meeting the unique needs of Customers looking for simple solutions to complex problems.


  • Your skills as a trainer can translate into becoming a Sales Trainer to new hires. You already know how to design training, but you might find yourself on a team developing sales training materials, online sales training, Customer-focused training, and other areas.


  • You actually used, serviced, repaired, acted as a troubleshooter, taught, launched, and learned each and every aspect of a specific military program or system. You know enough about it that learning to “sell” it will be a relatively easy thing to do.


  • You learned many skills in what I like to refer to as learning in CRAWL/WALK/RUN fashion. Learning Sales is no different! You can learn how to sell!


  • You fully understand the concept of service. Sales involves just that!

And remember, some of the most successful salespeople I know are quiet, thoughtful people. They’re not the loudest people in the room. They’re not as talkative as everyone else. They’re not Type-A personalities necessarily nor do they have the stereotypical “gift of gab”.


Whether you’re one of those outgoing personalities, a “people person”, or “Sales Guy/Sales Girl” type, you need to know your product, know your Customer, and know the features and benefits of whatever you choose to sell.

Most companies provide extensive product training, sales training, marketing and promotional items, and lots of support in an effort to continually train you to become a better salesperson.


So, I’m not trying to sell you on the idea of sales. I just want you to consider it. Explore a career in sales. Dispel the myths behind what success in sales is all about. Do some intense fact-finding and discover what a career in sales might mean for you.


As you continue to find the career that’s right for you, keep an open mind to new career opportunities, including a career in sales.


As the late animal welfare advocate and TV personality Roger Caras said, “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself; you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.”