Graduate Skills That Transfer Well to Sales Roles

5 Minutes

Discover which graduate skills will transfer well into sales roles with our latest blog post

Every year, late summer brings a shift in the recruitment sector as graduates start to prepare for life after university and look for the roles that will give them a strong start in their career. Graduates from all backgrounds, with a wide range of academic expertise are all on the lookout for jobs - certainly, now is the time to find the very best graduate talent for your business to develop. 

 Without a doubt, every graduate brings something different to the table, holding a a spectrum of knowledge following their recent studies. As a result of this, there are a number of common transferable skills graduates have in their arsenal - making them ideal candidates for a variety of sales roles.

 At Pareto, we know the true value of graduate recruitment, which is why we place more than 2,000 talented graduates into over 100 diverse industries every year. Over the years we have developed the skills needed to spot true potential in graduates and we know how to best utilise their ability and support this with 170 hours of face-to-face and digital training sessions.

With an emphasis on succession planning and internal talent building, corporations all over the world are valuing graduate talent over more experienced salespeople because of their ability to learn quickly and use their transferable skills, such as:



Communication is the single most important skill for any sales role. The ability to build a rapport with potential clients and close deals all stems from having excellent communication skills.

 Your sales team also needs the ability to communicate clearly the benefits of your products and services, how they work and the problems they solve for your potential clients.

Group tasks and presentations at university require learners to hone the ability to communicate well and this will prepare them to communicate messages for your company with clarity and confidence.


How to spot strong communication skills

Firstly, examine how candidates present themselves and speak to you as a good gauge of their communicating ability. If someone comes across as likeable and presents themselves well at the interview stage, then there’s a good chance they’ll perform similarly well in front of potential clients.

Look out for experience with tasks that require strong communication to succeed too, such as group work and presentations. Make sure you also keep an eye out for experience in any part-time or summer jobs with a customer-facing element. These jobs will have taught them a number of key communication skills that can be easily transferred into a sales position.


Self management

Part of being a successful sales person is being able to manage yourself and your time effectively, scheduling calls and check ins with clients and juggling sales with other important tasks.

For many students, this will be second nature, thanks to their time at university. The majority of students are well used to working to deadlines and planning in their learning to ensure they succeed and these are skills that will prove invaluable as a sales graduate.

During the interview stage, ask questions that encourage candidates to talk about their experience of organisation and time-keeping.

 Examples include:

  • Organisation of group projects – How they effectively managed group work during their university course
  • Working to tight deadlines – Completing their dissertation or working on essays.
  • Managing multiple tasks at once – Juggling studies alongside a part-time job role

 While the majority of graduates won’t have hands-on experience of managing their own time in a work environment, many will be able to talk about their strong organisational skills and how these served them well in their studies. 


Technology literacy

One of the biggest plus points of the modern graduate is their natural flair for all things tech.

The majority of people who attend university now have grown up in the digital age, where smartphones are the norm and exposure to technical advancements mean all things digital  are second nature. Even if they haven’t worked specifically with the technology you’re using or selling, they will have an inherent ability to pick up and adapt to most tech very quickly, which will give them a head start in their role.


How to identify tech expertise

To identify people’s tech skills, ask about where technology has benefitted candidates while studying for their degree and highlight any personal interests and hobbies that might require a level of technical understanding:


  • Do they run their own blog?
  • Do they use apps and software to help them manage their workload?
  • Are there other ways in which they can demonstrate their technical abilities?

Some sales roles require greater technical knowledge than others, especially when
recruiting for a tech sales role, which is where degree-specific knowledge can come into play. People with computer science degrees, for example, may not be the natural go-to candidates for sales roles, but they have a raft of technical skills and understanding that can still make them a strong recruit.

Finding the right people for your sales jobs doesn't have to restrict you to looking at candidates with business-specific degrees. Consider the transferrable skills and experiences the majority of graduates possess – regardless of their degree background.


Sales positions are often an attractive prospect for graduates, thanks to the fast pace of work on offer, the training they can enjoy and the clear progression plans in place – not to mention competitive salary opportunities. For businesses, employing a graduate also comes with a host of benefits, including the fact they represent a blank canvas, someone with raw skills who can be moulded to fit seamlessly within the business.

Find out more about our graduate sales recruitment process, so you can effectively search for the best talent by contacting a member of our expert team today!

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