94 Million LinkedIn Profiles Reveal the 6 Most Common Career Changes For Salespeople


At the majority of companies, there aren't a ton of growth opportunities for salespeople outside of sales management or operations. Sure, you can take on larger, more strategic accounts or focus on a new industry. But your primary duty -- selling -- will still be the same. 

This isn't a problem for some salespeople. They were born to sell, and they love doing it. But others are less enthused about the relentless cycle of prospecting, qualifying, presenting, negotiating, and closing. Not to mention that the idea of a management role doesn't exactly thrill.

If you're pining to jump off the sales merry-go-round but are unsure about where to go next, recent data from LinkedIn might help you refine your job search. After analyzing 94 million user profiles, the social networking site has identified the six most common career transitions for former salespeople.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Business owner
  2. Operations manager
  3. Consultant
  4. Business/corporate strategist
  5. Retail salesperson
  6. Marketing specialist

Interestingly, the data also revealed that sales itself is often a transitory role. According to LinkedIn's study, sales is the number one career transition for all professionals.

"Because nearly every business requires a sales function, there are many instances of members transitioning into sales from a wide variety of careers," Sohan Murthy wrote in a blog post. "The same is true for careers like project managers and marketing specialists."

LinkedIn members transitioned to sales careers from roles as diverse as administrative employee, political staff, wine/beer specialist, homemaker, firefighter, and even minister.

So even if you're trying to get out of sales, you might just find yourself back from whence you came someday. Whether that's a bad thing is for you to decide.

To view an interactive visualization of LinkedIn's research, click here.

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