7 months ago
February 21, 2017

Sales Resumes and What to Look For

These tips on what to look for in sales resumes can help you look at a candidate’s true background and assess fit before the interview process.

Claire McConnachie

Though statistics matter, there is more background to a sales candidate’s success than a top line number. This can be easy to forget when reviewing sales resumes that demonstrate exceptional performance, when the instinct becomes to call a candidate in as soon as possible. These tips on what to look for in sales resumes can help you look behind the numbers at a candidate’s true background and assess fit before spending additional time in the interview process.

Familiarity with Your Industry

The sales resumes that candidates submit should always demonstrate familiarity with your industry. If a candidate is looking to make a change in his or her sales career and does not have direct experience in your industry, that candidate should make an effort to explain within the sales resume how his or her experience will translate to your organization’s needs. Candidates whose sales resumes do not make this effort might not be as viable for the position as candidates who do, and may require more training than would otherwise be necessary.

Experience Working in Different Types of Companies

The type of company that a candidate works for is an indicator of potential success with your company as much as the industries in which a candidate has worked. Compensation expectations may be different for a candidate who has primarily worked with big name corporations, which may be a factor for you when reviewing sales resumes. Corporate culture is also an important consideration when assessing sales resumes for potential fit with your organization. In addition, the types and sizes of companies for which a candidate has worked may have a positive or negative correlation to the training and knowledge you expect a successful candidate to bring to the table.

Practice Working in Different Selling Environments

The selling environments in which sales people must learn to perform effectively can and do change, which is why it is important for sales resumes to demonstrate the ability to work across a variety of different selling situations. Even if the position you have available is not currently a travel position, consider whether travel may at some point be necessary. In addition, consider how the selling environments explained on the sales resumes you receive are similar to or different from the selling environments you expect the successful candidate to encounter. These may include:

  • Selling activities that involve C-Suite decision makers.
  • Selling activities that involve decision making committees that may have representatives from all levels of an organization.
  • Selling activities that require travel, including travel to other countries if applicable.

Comfort Level With Technology

If your organization is implementing, or anticipates implementing in the future, sales technology that is not par for your industry, you may want to give additional consideration to the comfort levels with technology that applicants express on their sales resumes. Information security is also a growing concern, as data loss and theft become larger issues as more data is accumulated. Public, private, and government organizations are all looking for better ways to control and secure data, and for many organizations this impacts sales people since sales people must be comfortable interacting with and following best practices in securing customer information. Look for sales resumes that demonstrate:

  • An ability to learn new technologies and implement these in daily sales activities.
  • Familiarity with the same software or similar software to that which your organization requires its sales people to use.
  • An overall level of comfort working in a technology driven position, including specifics applicable to tasks such as customer data entry, analysis, and budgeting.
By looking at sales resumes for further background on a sales candidate’s experience and abilities, sales managers can save time in the hiring process. For an even deeper candidate pre-screening, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a sales recruiting firm to assist your organization in finding and reviewing sales resumes for outstanding sales candidates.

Claire McConnachie

Claire is a Western University graduate with a background in recruiting, sales and customer service. As a Recruitment Consultant, her goals are to place the best people in the right roles resulting in satisfaction for both the candidate and client.