We’re here to help you today with three simple steps for creating a great sales resume.
Putting together a great sales resume can seem like an insurmountable challenge if you’ve already faced rejection after rejection, or if you’ve only ever received jobs via connections. If you’ve never truly put in the time and effort to build a great sales resume, or even a lackluster one, you have a lot to learn and a lot to forget—because not all resume advice is created equal. Fortunately, we’re here to help you today with three simple steps for creating a great sales resume. You’ll still need to ace the interview, but we can help you get a foot in the door and a chance in front of a decision maker.
Perhaps the single most important step to building a truly great sales resume lay in how you lay out your information. It doesn’t matter that your resume holds everything a person needs to know about you to determine your work as a hire if they don’t see the things that interest them immediately, don’t add your resume to the pile to go over more thoroughly. Important details hidden in the clutter might as well not be there.
Putting generic boilerplate nonsense at the top is similarly useless—if you and every other applicant share certain traits, those traits can be put somewhere less important. It’s the facts that stand out about you as an applicant that you want to stand out on your resume. Of course, if you have a unique spin on the generic trait, make sure that gets attention.
A warning: Don’t mistake your goal of standing out by prioritizing ‘useful organization’ for ‘standing out by being gimmicky’. A great sales resume stands out for its content, not because it’s pink or has a gaudy font.
We’ve talked about the importance of making the important information stand out in your layout. Your second step to creating a great sales resume would be to include something that makes you leap out from your peers, something the potential hirer won’t see on any other resume. Again, that doesn’t mean you should go gimmicky, but it does mean you need to figure out an area where your skills, pedigree, or talents differ from the typical applicant. Maybe a section iterating cross-industry experience you have that will be relevant to the position, or other indicators of an interest in the company’s business beyond the average.
Everything on a great sales resume should be relevant to your work, but relevant is a very broad construct, and the more uniquely relevant you can make yourself the better you’ll stand out from the competition.
Warning: Matching your audience is vital. It doesn’t matter how relevant your experience in a field is, if it’s going to be a red flag for the reader. Think carefully about who will be reading your resume—reality matters less than perception, unfortunately, which brings us to our last step in building a great sales resume…
Every single resume you submit should be different from every other resume you’ve ever submitted. There is absolutely zero reason anyone serious about getting hired should reuse an unedited resume. A great sales resume is tailored for the position, the industry, the company, the recruiter. It’s as tailored as you can possibly make it with the information you have. Research the position the same way you would research a prospect, and approach with the goal of selling yourself as a product. You’re writing a great sales resume, not a great marketing resume—your approaches should be personalized, not generalized. Would you send a major potential customer a boilerplate email, or call them using a script without room for deviation or innovation? Of course not. Then if you want to write a great sales resume, write a new one for each potential employer. Your first sale for any company is yourself.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.