7 years ago
February 21, 2017

How to Improve Your Resume for a Sales Position

When applying for a sales position, your resume is often your first introduction to a company.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

When applying for a sales position, your resume is often your first introduction to a company. A hiring manager will decide within seconds whether your qualifications merit a closer look. Those few seconds may be all the time you get to set yourself apart from the dozens of other applicants vying for the sales position. Even if your resume is technically perfect, without any typos or formatting errors, it still may not catch their eye. Having a resume that captures, and keeps, their attention is your first, best shot at getting called in for an interview. You don’t need any tricks or gimmicks to get your resume noticed. A well-prepared, properly organized resume will stand out from a field crowded with generic, template-based resumes. Using these tips, you can help move your resume to the top of the callback list.

No Cookie-Cutter Resumes

If you’re not serious about getting the sales position, don’t waste your time, and theirs, with a generic resume that you send to dozens of potential employers. A chronological listing of your education and work experience tells a company very little about what you can do for them. Read the job listing and objectively evaluate your education and skills as they relate to the job requirements. Customize your resume for the position, highlighting the skills you possess that apply directly to the job. Don’t embellish-you can address any deficiencies during the job interview.

Nobody Wants to Read a Calendar

A hiring manager doesn’t want to read back through years of experience to find your accomplishments. The things you’ve accomplished, whether in school or professionally, should be prominently listed in order of magnitude. If you closed the biggest deal of your professional life three years ago, and were salesperson of the month six months ago, the big deal should come first. The hiring manager is looking for ways that your potential can pay off for the business. The bigger the payoff, the higher it should go on the list.

What Have You Actually Done?

Potential is a great thing. Realized potential is much better. Give hard data about your accomplishments on your resume. Describe projects you’ve worked on, and your contributions to their success. If you’ve got great retention or closing numbers, include those on your resume. If you have rankings, either within your last business or as compared to other salespeople nationally, list those as well. Awards, training, and certifications all look great as well. Remember, they aren’t interested in what you may be able to do, they’re looking for what you’ve actually done.

Put Yourself to the Test

You want a sales position? Prove that you can sell. You’re the product, and the hiring manager is your biggest client. If you misrepresent the product, the client will find out. If you can’t back up your claims, the client will find out. Your resume should be an honest sales pitch about how your abilities meet the needs of the company, and provide value for their investment. A resume is essentially a cold call. You know they’re interested in hiring a salesperson, but you have no idea if they’re interested in hiring you. Your resume gives you a chance to make them interested, to sell them on you as their salesperson. Use the opportunity to sell yourself as effectively as you would be selling products for them.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.