How I Increased my Salary by 43% During a Pandemic

I’m a salesperson, but not what you’re thinking. The old-fashioned way of sales is 100 percent commission. Modern sales careers in software and other industries typically provide a base salary in addition to commission.

The steps are simple:

  1. I quit my job

  2. I found a new job

Often, steps one must take are simple, but the implementation is more difficult.

I Quit My Job

March of 2020, I was an Account Manager for a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. I was earning $40,000 base salary plus commission. My on-track earnings (OTE) were $85k.

January of 2021, our senior leadership decided to transition our Account Management team into a Customer Success Team. Basically moving us from mostly sales to mostly support. I was bringing in about $1.5 million per year in renewals, and another $250k in sales. I’m not a support person.

I Found a New Job

Instead of accepting this as my fate, I started applying for new jobs. I applied for 86 jobs, participated in 6 interviews, and accepted a new job in February. The offer; $70,000 base salary with an OTE of $150k.

In my world, OTE is typically a “best-case scenario” and not typical of most of the reps. I’ve always been a top performer so I believe I will land somewhere between 85-100% of that OTE, which is nearly DOUBLE my previous OTE.

Taking the Leap

I left my steady job where I was making about $100k per year with 40% of that guaranteed. With the change to the department, realistically, I was looking at making around $70k in total. Pretty significant pay cut.

I’m not at a place in my career where I am willing to do something I dislike in return for a paycheck. I also understand my own worth. I believe I am worth far more than $70k a year on the open market within the sales industry. Those two points are key.

  1. Deciding if you’re ready to settle for less

  2. Understanding what you’re worth to the market

How to Land a New Job

I’m not going to teach you how to craft a resume or interview, you should educate yourself on that. I will say that in my industry, a one-page resume is all you need. Keep it simple, outline your sales metrics and position yourself as a professional, motivated, salesperson.

Tips to landing a new job:

  • List your ideal job characteristics (pay, hours, industry, benefits, etc.)

  • Create a LinkedIn search filter matching those requirements

  • Create a resume specific to the job (most postings have common requirements)

  • Apply to dozens or hundreds of positions if possible (I work remotely)

  • Prepare for your interviews

  • Don’t get discouraged, know your worth

  • Keep applying!

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