Updated: February 2021
Working in Sales is a great career path and one that can be quite competitive when it comes to the job search. If you’re in the sales industry and ready to move on to the next chapter in your career, having a resume that stands out above the competition is critical. In this blog post we’ll explain how to write a great sales resume.
Where to Start: 2 Options
Once you’ve committed to getting started, the first step is taking an honest assessment of your current resume. Has it been years since you’ve attempted an update? Perhaps you landed your last job through your network, eliminating the need for an eye-catching resume. If assessing your resume feels more like Greek at this point, not to worry. The resume writing process can be a little overwhelming and there are new trends you’ll want to consider. At this point you have two options: hire a professional resume writer and rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands, or give it a try yourself.
Hiring a professional writer can be of tremendous value if you’re someone who is not thrilled about writing projects. A professional writer will best be able to assess your industry, keywords, potential red flags and other resume nuances including ATS-avoiding strategies. Another perk is the resume writer’s ability to pull out results you may not be seeing or showcasing. If you’re feeling confident about your resume writing skills, read on.
You’re in sales so if you can’t sell yourself in a resume, how can a hiring manager expect you to sell for the company? Think of your resume as your sales pitch and marketing copy for one of the best products on the market: You! From the initial summary to the final period, you must craft your resume the same way you would any sales document. Consider two critical questions: Who are YOU? What do YOU do that’s better than all the others? Once you have the answer, think along these lines with every word you write. The reality is that you will be compared (on paper) to the position as well as the competition. Sometimes the competition will be even more qualified than you but if you’ve sold yourself well on paper, you’ll have the edge.
Pro Resume Tip
The goal here is not being better, but positioning yourself better on paper. This will ultimately determine who gets the phone interview.
Figure Out Your Unique Sales Brand
Once you’ve figured out your selling points and what sets you apart from the competition, it’s time to construct your professional brand. Here are 3 easy steps to follow when creating your brand. Over my 15 years of resume writing, I have had the opportunity to speak to many hiring managers and recruiters. They all say one thing that is pretty much standard across every career path: Your brand is what sells you.
Everyone has a brand, from a custodian at school through a senior level executive at Microsoft. There is something that YOU bring to the table that makes you successful in what you do. Maybe it’s your charismatic personality that is able to attract potential clients. Maybe it’s your ability to bridge any gaps that might be preventing a sale. It could also be that you have an extraordinary eye for spotting, recruiting, and hiring top talent for your sales team. Whatever that brand is, your job is to own it. BE YOUR BRAND.
Where and How to Incorporate Your Brand On a Resume
You may be wondering how to write to a brand on your resume. Start with the executive summary. The most important part of your executive summary is to be able to excite the reader. How do you do this? Simple. Have something exciting to say. This is where your brand comes in. If you’re the best person for securing relationships with clients that have previously been unattainable, tell the reader about this! Excite them with a nicely written 2 sentence tagline that grabs attention. Of course, you will follow this up with a strong summary that will not only reinforce the brand but will provide additional reasons to be excited about continuing to read the rest of your resume.
Pro Resume Tip
The top third of your resume is prime real estate due to short attention spans and natural eye scan. Therefore, making yourself shine early in the document is key! The executive summary and tagline are great places to do this! Here’s one approach to figuring out a concise tagline using our Linkedin headline writing method.
Showcase the Numbers
As you know, sales are all about the numbers. Don’t get number-shy as you craft your resume because numbers will be huge when trying to impress hiring managers. Show the numbers, right up front! I often like to create a career highlights section on my clients’ resumes to show that they generated multimillion-dollar revenue growth in a short time, for instance. I have had a few clients who struggled in this area, particularly if they have only worked for smaller organizations where the numbers weren’t that high, but are seeking employment in a larger company. In these situations, I suggest showing percentages. Instead of saying you increased sales by $500K, you should say that you increased sales 25% over previous year. This is the strongest way to show your career accomplishments. This is what the hiring manager is most interested in (especially for a sales candidate).
Don’t Forget the Details
Another important aspect of sales is in the details. The types and size of accounts and quotas will help to paint a picture for the reader. Details are important and in many cases aren’t listed out in the resumes of your competitors. This not only shows your value, but it also shows that the types of contacts you have already made, again exciting the reader about the type of contacts you could make for them!
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