Top 5 Tips When Applying for a Business Development Role

Calling all students of the Liverpool Hope University! Have you decided what career path to travel once you graduate? What I’d like to do is provide with a little nugget of information that could help you choose a career path that is challenging, but lucrative, and immensely enjoyable too. If you like a good challenge that pays off in the end, applying for a business development role might just be on the cards for you.

While working in the finance sector for SME Loans, I have found myself liaising closely with many business development managers, who are tasked with improving and growing the business they work for. Their main objective is to improve the profitability of a company and that takes strategic planning, industry know-how, and of course, an in depth knowledge of financing options, innovative marketing opportunities, and relationship building.

A business development manager’s role affects every area and department of the business. If you don’t like the idea of responsibility, then this career choice is not for you.

But let’s say that it is for you. Let’s say that you hear about the tasks of a business development executive and you feel excited by the prospect. Now what? What’s the next step? What sort of qualifications do you need and what skills do you require? Most important of all; how do you apply successfully for the role and ace the interview too? Here’s where I would like to provide you with some assistance.


What Skills Are Required for a Business Development Role?

When speaking to our Business Development HOD and to the various business development executives that we assist with financing on a regular basis, I discovered that the role is quite varied. No day is exactly the same, so if you are looking for a bit of variety and don’t want to be chained to a desk examining the same documents day in and day out, then this role might be of interest to you.

It was mentioned that the top skills required are:

  • Knowledge of the industry that the business development role exists in. Keep in mind that a business development executive’s role in one industry can differ vastly to that of another serving a completely different industry.
  • The ability to use market research to explore and identify new business opportunities. Remember I said that a business development role is aimed at improving profitability? Well, that’s where this skill comes in, as you will need to generate leads for the business.
  • Communication skills and the ability to reach out. If you are shy and don’t like to communicate with others, this could be challenging for you. A business development executive must be driven, confident, and able to clearly communicate ideas and concepts to others.
  • Ability to build on relationships. Some would say that business development roles are suited to “people persons”. You cannot enhance the profitability and success of a business if you are unable to build on relationships with customers, industry colleagues, and of course; employees.
  • Excellent IT skills. You will need to be a whizz on the computer and have good working knowledge of technology. You will be using spreadsheets and programs and need to be able to pick up on these quickly.


What Qualifications Are Required for a Business Development Role?

It is quite interesting to note that there is no strict or set qualification required to enter the job market, in a business development role. However, the market is highly competitive and those who are entering such positions generally do have a degree. The most common degrees required in such a role include:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Sales & Marketing
  • Internal Relations
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship


What Type of Companies Employ Business Development Execs in the UK?

At the moment, there are various industries that employ business development executives. Some of the most common are the High Street banks, financial institutions (companies that provide small business loans), IT companies, and manufacturing firms. Of course there are others, if you look for them. Glassdoor provides a list of current business development roles available across the United Kingdom.

Applying for a Role in Business Development? Consider These 5 Top Tips

  • Get a sound education. This is the first and most important tip. While there’s no set qualification you need, you stand a greater chance of being employed if you have a degree. Make sure that your CV includes your letter of completion and your degree certificate when you apply for jobs online.
  • Get a little experience behind you. Don’t worry; you don’t have to try gain experience in the exact role you wish to apply for. Recruiters often look for individuals who have worked (even part-time) in a sales position as it demonstrates your ability to communicate and build on relationships. If you have run your own side-line or part-time business, you can present this as entrepreneurial experience, which is something else that recruiters look for in recent graduates. Try to do some work experience before trying to enter the market.
  • Improve on your technical skills and make sure that you mention these on your CV and in your interview. You need to demonstrate that you know your way around software such as CRM databases and various marketing automation platforms. If you worked in a sales role before, mention the software platforms that you used.
  • Show a passion for selling and for getting to know the product. Before you attend an interview, and even in your covering letter on your application, make sure that the interviewer knows that you have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of their product and business. Your role will be to live and breathe their product if you get the job, so you should start working on your knowledge before you get to the interview.
  • Do some reading. The more you have read up on business development, the more you will know. This means that a conversation with a business development manager in an interview will be relaxed and easy – and you will have something to talk about. There are some interesting books on great business development managers of the past available, which can prepare you for the industry. One that might have an impact is Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence by Tim Sanders.

What Does A Business Development Manager Earn?

Realistically speaking, graduate business development executives make an average salary of between £20,000 and £24,000 per year. Indeed states that the average salary for a mid-range development manager in the UK is £34,827 and tags it as “29% below national average”. That’s food for thought, isn’t it?

Last Word

Hopefully these tips help you land the perfect business development role! Good luck!


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