Working in marketing, sales and advertising with GCSEs (or similar)

Many firms prefer to employ people with some appropriate experience for jobs dealing with people.

Working with a sales support team would give you a particularly useful experience when applying for sales jobs. Once you are in employment, you can gain relevant qualifications through part-time study. Competition for jobs in marketing and advertising often means entrants have higher qualifications. Administration and office-related jobs in a marketing or advertising company can be an entry to this industry with good GCSEs. Working in retail can be a good route into sales work.

Example jobs

Trainee sales representative
Finding new customers for products or services. The rate of pay often depends on how successful you are.

Checkout operator
Working on a till serving customers in a supermarket, convenience store or large retail store.

Call centre operative
Answering enquiries from customers by telephone and email.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Bonuses are common in sales work and so earnings can vary widely.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

Many advertising and marketing jobs are office based. Some sales jobs, such as reps, visit customers and have to travel. There may be work overseas and languages may be useful. Some sales jobs are based in shops.

Qualifications needed

No particular academic qualifications are required for sales work.

To work in the competitive areas of marketing and advertising. you will need a good general education, including GCSEs and possibly Level 3 qualifications.

There are apprenticeships at Levels 2 and 3 available, where you will be assessed in the workplace.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) offers marketing qualifications at four levels of entry: the Introductory certificate is the first qualification.

Career path

With experience, successful sales representatives can gain promotion to jobs such as area supervisor. For these jobs you will need general management skills, including the ability to deal with people and motivate them. Although qualifications are not essential for such posts, it will help if you take a course in sales management.

Useful links

Pearson is not responsible for content on external websites.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

Information on working as a medical sales representative

Creative Skillset

The Sector Skills Council for the creative industries, including advertising