How’s this for a job applicant’s profile? Multitasks effectively. Makes decisions under pressure. Works well with others, even the grumps. Excellent at selling new products. Keeps a clean workspace.

All in a day’s work for the nation’s 650,000 bartenders, who constitute one of the most idled job classifications during the coronavirus shutdown. With bars and restaurants ordered closed, bartender joblessness in some areas has been nearly absolute. In Washington state, 100% of the 14,000 or so bartenders had filed for unemployment insurance by late April.

The food services industry overall shed 5.5 million jobs in April, with only some of those jobs recouped in May, followed by a new wave of closures in July in the wake of a surge in virus cases.

Many a bartender will wait this one out and go back to pouring beers, mixing drinks and listening to hard-luck stories. But for some, the diminished prospects of the business — distancing likely means fewer packed bars and emptier tip jars — will lead them to consider other pastimes. What could they do?

Selling software might sound like a stretch, but think about it: The engineers do the coding, but it takes someone with people skills to sell software as a service, the dominant and lucrative business model the industry has adopted. Companies get subscription fees from customers, and salespeople can earn hefty upfront commissions based on the long-term value of the subscription.

And more recently, tech and other companies have realized that the college degree they’ve used as a screening tool for applicants isn’t all that necessary, and have begun looking at actual aptitude as opposed to lines on a resume.


In recent years, tech and other companies have begun looking at actual aptitude as opposed to college degrees and other lines on a resume. Hospitality workers have a lot to offer software companies, said Chris Carlson, president of Sales Talent, a Bellevue-based business-to-business sales recruiting firm. Chicago-based nonprofit Re:work training, which provides software sales training to low-income and racially diverse people, has successfully placed servers, stay-at-home parents, teachers and rideshare drivers, said Shelton Banks, CEO.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put bartenders’ median pay last year at $11.39 an hour — about $24,000 for the year, though perhaps not every tip was declared. Software sales job openings, meanwhile, north of $50,000 can be found at:


This San Francisco-based company provides software to help other companies manage customer relationships. Its website lists openings for sales or business development representatives to help the company grow in the public sector and its Commerce Cloud online retail product. According to Glassdoor, business development reps at Salesforce see an average total pay of $80,000, with base pay around $54,000.


This publicly traded company’s main service is software that allows more than 17 million organizations to measure feedback from employees, customers and users. SurveyMoney has positions open for inbound and outbound business development reps. Glassdoor reports $68,000 is the average total pay for business development reps at SurveyMonkey.


This Boston-based data security and storage company lists a business development rep job. Glassdoor says salary ranges from $52,000 to $60,000.


Content delivery performance, internet security and cyberattack mitigation are part of this Bay Area company’s business. Cloudflare has listings on its website for salespeople. The average total pay is $76,000, per Glassdoor, with an average base pay of $56,000.



With origins in Australia and products that guard companies against outages and breaches, its website lists openings for sales development reps in the U.S. Glassdoor puts the total pay for inside sales representatives at between $72,000 and $110,000, with base pay of between $50,000 and $79,000.

While companies like to conduct in-house training for new salespeople, training programs that may interest newcomers to software sales include Victory Lap, JBarrows Sales Training and Sales Assembly, Banks said.

Because software sales positions are the most sought-after by sales job candidates, a job seeker might consider a sales development representative position, the typical entry-level job for a B2B non-software company.

B2B companies selling office supplies and in third-party logistics and supply chain management are good steppingstones to software sales, Carlson said.

The more specialized the company you work for and the larger the companies that buy its products, the higher base salary and commissions, Banks said. Jobs in selling software for medical companies, financial services and law firms usually require more experience for even entry-level roles, but they pay more.

Software companies aimed at the defense sector and government agencies are also top jobs, said Tom McGee of Atlanta-based executive search firm Lucas Group. Companies involved in security software for businesses, especially when it comes to videoconferencing, are hiring now.

LinkedIn, BuiltIn and CareerBuilder are among the websites the recruiting professionals cited. McGee recommended setting up email alerts for job ads and recruiter websites to learn as soon as possible about openings.