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Telemarketer: Job Duties and Requirements for Becoming a Telemarketer

Telemarketers sell services and products over the telephone by getting the attention of a customer at the beginning of a call and making a sales pitch. Find out about the training, skills, earnings and outlook for this occupation to see if you are interested. Also, get details on alternate careers.

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Career Definition of a Telemarketer

Telemarketers are marketing representatives that make sales and do business strictly using a telephone. Telemarketers sell a wide variety of services, memberships and products directly to consumers. Most telemarketers use a long list of names, called leads, which they will call and give their sales pitch to in an attempt to make a sale. They must also keep well-organized records for client interactions, as well as seek out new clientele.

Educational Requirements Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent
Job Skills Strong telephone and communication skills, strong problem-solving ability, varying levels of computer proficiency and good organizational skills
Median Salary (2015)* $23,530
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* Decline of 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Since most employers of telemarketers offer on-the-job training, there are no set requirements for telemarketers. However, most employers require that a telemarketer have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. To help prepare for a career in telemarketing students can take classes in communications, sales and business.

Skills Required

Telemarketers must have strong telephone skills and be able to effectively communicate with people over the telephone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some telemarketers are required to have intermediate computer skills, in order to stay organized and provide information to potential clients. This may include proficiency in multiple software packages, like the Microsoft Suite. Strong organizational skills and problem-solving skills may also be useful in order to work with multiple different clients and analyze solutions for customer service issues.

Economic and Career Outlook

Telemarketing jobs are often available as part-time jobs and may also offer opportunities to work from home. Other jobs are located at large call centers. Telemarketers can find advancement opportunities as managers and specialists. Many telemarketers work on a commission basis and their salary is directly affected by the volume of sales they make. The BLS reported that telemarketers earned a median annual wage of $23,530 in May 2015. It was also reported that employment in the field would decline by 2% between 2014 and 2024, which may be due to companies relying on automated self-service options that do not require customers speaking directly to a representative.

Alternate Career Options

Those interested in pursuing a career in telemarketing may also consider:

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative

Usually a high school education and on-the-job training are sufficient for this career, unless the products being sold are technical or scientific; those positions normally require postsecondary education. These sales reps make contacts with agencies, businesses and organizations, explaining products being sold by the wholesalers or manufacturers, answering questions and negotiating costs. The BLS projected average job growth of 7% from 2014 to 2024. Sales reps, not including those who deal with technical and scientific products, earned a median annual wage of $55,730 in 2015, while those selling scientific and technical goods earned $76,190, the BLS noted.

Receptionist

With a high school diploma and training received on the job, receptionists answer phones, greet visitors and provide information about their businesses or organizations. Average employment growth of 10% was expected for this occupation during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS. Receptionists and information clerks earned a median salary of $27,300 in 2015.

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