The West Midlands has long been a stronghold for engineering and manufacturing, but during recessions it has suffered a series of setbacks and relative decline. However, overall the sector has been showing healthy signs of recovery, with the last six months in a row showing growth figures which outstripped the same months last year. Last month the sector showed a growth rate of 3.8%. While this is all great news, manufacturing still has some way to go before it gets back to its pre-recession high. But the expansion signs are promising, and according to some experts the speed of growth was quicker than expected. Areas which have significantly contributed to the recent growth are the production of plastic and rubber products for export along with the traditional West Midlands industry of car production, where sales again have been boosted by exports. The effects of the recession, combined with the ease with which technology can now connect business to the global market, means that businesses which are looking to expand naturally look overseas for their new customer base. The growth in export sales means that UK businesses have been working hard at promoting and marketing their products abroad. Approaches may vary from business to business, but are all likely to involve a combination of online activity and sales reps visiting target markets and delivering product presentations or attending exhibitions in overseas locations. Many companies will work with agents overseas who can co-ordinate work with distributors and liaise directly with customers when the company doesn’t have its own sales representatives on the ground. The move to a more heavy reliance on overseas trade means that sales professionals may need to broaden their horizons when preparing for their next career move. Second and third languages can become a much more valuable asset, and an ability to learn and communicate across different cultures will set some sales professionals ahead of their peers. You may be lucky enough to learn new skills in your current role if your employer is moving into new markets overseas and you get to develop your role alongside this progression. But what should you do if you don’t have the experience but all the firms you are looking to apply to seem to be moving in the same direction? For some expert advice on what companies are looking for from sales roles, or what additional training you could do to boost your skills and therefore your appeal to employers, visit sales recruitment agencies in the West Midlands. At the very least they will have vacancies advertised and associated job descriptions so you can see what is being expected from roles within companies that are moving to the international stage. Some sales recruitment agencies in the West Midlands may also have been involved in advising their employer clients on what to look for from new recruits, and they may also have helped them shape the role profiles for newly created international sales roles. Internet searches can also be helpful, and at the same time you could search for related training programmes if you need to improve your skills.