The Power of a Commercial Skillset
Let’s face it. The job market is tough for today’s college seniors. Since the 2008 economic downturn, job growth for millennials has been flat or down, and the average young graduate holds debt hovering somewhere around $30,000 in the US and £44,000 in the UK.
As millennials contemplate their job search, a helpful perspective we encourage young people to consider is: “What do employers pay for and what can I contribute?” AlphaSights Co-Founder and MD Max Cartellieri recently outlined the four main types of knowledge contributions that organisations pay for in the Huffington Post: Subject Matter Expertise, Company-Specific Expertise, Creativity and Commercial roles.
Here at AlphaSights, where knowledge search is our business, we believe a commercial, revenue-generating role is the best place for young graduates to start their career. Here are five reasons why:
Grow your business toolkit from day one. Client-facing, revenue-generating roles such as sales, trading, brokerage and business development sit close to the bottom line, giving them business priority. They give young millennials the opportunity to grow their business toolkit from day one and understand revenue, costs and profitability - the bedrock of business know-how.
Improve your soft skills. A recent Wall Street Journal survey of nearly 900 executives found that 92% said soft skills were equally important or more important than technical skills. But 89% said they have trouble finding candidates with these skills. Commercial roles are client facing, teaching you communication, quick thinking and problem solving — all highly valuable soft skills.
Be “recession-proof.” Sales roles are the most stable during a company or industry downturn, and are consistently ranked by US News & World Report among the top 100 jobs due to their low unemployment rate and high salaries. These roles generally offer higher earning potential, as well—great news for grads with debt.
Build transferable skills. Every employee or business leader in a revenue-generating role must develop the poise needed to present to customers, master client relationships, and the strategic planning and leadership skills necessary to grow a book of business. Revenue-generating roles also give millennials the chance to learn about the economics behind building a profitable business. These skills make you both more marketable and more successful in future roles.
Grow your network. Client-facing roles like those at AlphaSights offer exposure to many different types of people, industries, and job functions, both internally and externally. They also help you build an external network that can be leveraged for future job opportunities—a key long-term benefit, since 85% of all positions today are now found through networking.