To enter this industry you will need a good general education to degree level but practical skills like sales skills and experience will count for more than any formal qualifications. Graduates new to sales may
want to take an introductory qualification such as the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) Level 2 award in basic sales skills or Level 2 certificate in sales and marketing. Other professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Marketing Sales Association (MAMSA) would also offer relevant courses.
Alternatively you could start as an administrator in a sales office. It may also help to have some previous experience in retailing or customer service. You may also be able to get into FMCG sales through an apprenticeship scheme. To find out more log on to apprenticeships.org.uk.
Most employers provide in-house training on their products, sales techniques and sales administration
systems. You also get the opportunity to develop your own general skills on the job. Training may include the chance to achieve work-based NVQs at level 2, 3, 4 in sales.
Given the competitive nature of FMCG, getting some work experience is invaluable as both an insight into the industry and to establish contacts. Applicants also need to keep up to date with industry news and keep updating with online and e-marketing training; be able to write creatively and have innovative ideas, as well as work long hours in a pressurised atmosphere and deal calmly with difficult clients.
This article was produced in association with Kingston University Careers & Employability Service