Job description

Telemarketers solicit donations for charitable organisations or make sales for businesses over the phone. They call potential customers on a list and use marketing techniques to interest them in the company's goods or services.

They may follow a prepared script, incorporating their own experiences and information about the consumer to help personalise the pitch. They record successful calls, collect the customer's billing and mailing details, and place orders using the company's database.


    • Contact individuals or businesses by phone to solicit donations or orders for goods or services
    • Utilise a prepared sales script to focus conversation on product or charitable organisation
    • Use marketing techniques, incorporating customer information and own experiences to make sales
    • Explain product or service benefits and pricing, and answer questions from potential customers
    • Obtain customer billing and mailing information, and enter orders into company database
    • Use automated software to make and record calls
    • Maintain records of customers contacted and orders completed
    • Answer calls and provide information to customers responding to sales flyers and other ads
    • Use phone calls, emails and mail correspondence to follow up on sales contacts
    • Schedule appointments for prospective customers to meet with sales representatives
    • Conduct market surveys to obtain information on potential client base and their interests

Skills and qualities

Call centre software
Data entry
Sales and marketing
Active listening
Customer service
Social perceptiveness
Oral expression
Stress tolerance

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

Like all sales jobs, telemarketers succeed when they make more sales than their coworkers on a consistent basis. Gaining experience in a variety of industries can help you hone skills that will apply to any telemarketing job. Formal education in sales and marketing can also be useful for advancement.

Dependability and good conversion rates can earn you telemarketing jobs at more lucrative and prestigious companies. Look for positions with well-established charities, non-profits and subscription services, where most calls are made to previous customers who are likely to buy or donate again.

Telemarketing skills can be used to land other jobs, like data entry clerk or receptionist. You may also wish to progress to more substantial sales roles in the retail, auto or hotel industries.

Working conditions

Average hours

20h/ week

Typical schedule

Part Time

Evenings and weekends possible

Telemarketers are typically part-time employees, but overtime is often available, and some do take on full-time hours. You may do evening or weekend shifts to reach more customers when they are at home.

Telemarketers often work from cubicles in large call centres with numerous other telemarketers. Telecommuting jobs are also available.

Telemarketing requires sitting for long hours, making calls and doing data entry. The job can be very stressful, as most employers set sales quotas despite the fact that 93% of phone calls typically end in failure.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


No formal educational requirements

Study time


Most telemarketing jobs require no formal education, though some employers ask for a high school diploma or equivalent. In rare cases, large businesses and charitable organisations may prefer candidates with a relevant bachelor's degree. Coursework in sales and marketing can help you learn techniques to improve your conversion rates.

You will typically receive on-the-job training, which may include shadowing a more experienced telemarketer. Orientation could cover the script used on calls, sales techniques and the software used to make calls and place orders.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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