Make sure your sales resume is selling you.
If you'd like to land a great job in sales, your resume must be in tip-top shape. After all, if you can't sell yourself, how can you sell a company's products or services?
If you have a current sales resume but want to ensure it gets you interviews and the position you desire, you may have to make some changes to it. This article will walk you through several strategies that can help you position your resume in the best possible light, regardless of if you're applying for an entry-level sales position, manager role, and more.
Include your LinkedIn URL
Did you know that 90 percent of employers search for candidates' social media profiles online before setting up an interview? Make it easy on them by providing links to your social accounts or professional websites near your other contact information.
While LinkedIn is important for all industries, it's particularly crucial for sales. Therefore, you should include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your resume. HR professionals and sales recruiters want to connect to candidates who have complete profiles and use the network often to share knowledge and connect with other sales pros and prospects.
If you'd rather keep your online profiles hidden from recruiters, make sure to adjust your security settings or change your account names so they're harder to find.
Include a strong professional summary
Your professional summary should highlight your most valuable sales-related skills and experience. Its job is to give potential recruiters and employers the chance to quickly learn what you can offer their company.
Ideally, it would be one paragraph long and set you apart from other candidates. Think of it as your personal sales pitch that's short, sweet, to the point, and showcases your most notable achievements. Here's an example of an effective professional sales summary:
“Dynamic, results-driven sales strategist with a 14+ year record of achievement and demonstrated success driving multimillion-dollar revenue growth while providing visionary sales leadership in highly competitive markets. Solid track record securing key clients and increasing product distribution to grow market share. Tenacious in building new business, securing customer loyalty, and forging strong relationships with business partners. Exceptional mentor and coach; combine business acumen with innate leadership abilities to recruit, build, and retain top-performing sales teams.”
List your core skills and areas of emphasis near the top
It's important that the core skills and areas of emphasis match those that are mentioned in the job description. These may include negotiation, sales planning, relationship building, and selling to customer needs. It should be clear that you have what it takes to meet the demands of the position.
When listing out these core competencies, make sure you lay them out in an easy-to-read, scannable format. This will help your resume get through the applicant tracking system (ATS), as well as grab the attention of the human hiring manager on the other side.
Show off your results
Remember, sales is results-focused — you can't simply state you're a great sales professional. You must prove it.
To do so, use numbers and percentages throughout your resume. These figures can bring your resume to life and show a potential employer what you could achieve for them. Here are some examples:
Increased sales by 25 percent through business development and lead generation.
Acquired two large accounts, which grew revenues by 10 percent.
Managed 100 inbound sales calls each day.
Achieved an average of 120 percent of sales goals for three consecutive months.
Provided recommendations that led to an additional $10K in upsell revenue.
Stay away from “creative” resume elements
A resume format can feel stiff and limiting, so it's common for sales candidates to add their own touch by choosing a different font, picking an unusual graphic for bullet lists, or even including images.
Unfortunately, those tactics can often backfire with most ATS programs having limited ability to “understand” and evaluate those design elements. Instead, many will simply disqualify or downgrade a resume for using them.
Sales candidates should use standard headlines (“Skills” instead of “What I do best,” and “Work Experience” instead of “What I've done”), simple fonts, and simple black dots for bullets. Do not include charts, tables, or infographics.
Customize your resume for each position
As you select the job openings you are interested in and start applying, make sure your resume is customized to each different job description by reviewing each carefully. You may even print the job descriptions and highlight keywords or points of emphasis, or put them through a word cloud generator to see what pops up the most. Doing this will help ensure your resume is compatible with an ATS.
Also, take a look at the prospective employer's website, run a search for recent media mentions and news about the organization, and check out their Twitter profile.
Then, create a version of your resume that uses relevant keywords and speaks to the organization's needs and culture. That way, your resume will feel as if it was written specifically for this job opening.
Use a checklist when reviewing your resume for common errors
It's important that once your resume is ready, you look over it again. Here is a checklist you can use to review your resume and catch any mistakes:
Eliminate any mention of your birthday, birth year, graduation date, or any dates that could lead to age discrimination.
Print your resume and read it backwards (i.e. from the last word to the beginning) to catch any typos.
Double-check that your contact information is in the body of the resume, not in the header.
When in doubt, ask for help
If you're still not sure if your sales resume is ready to land you the job, you might want to consider some expert help. A professional resume writer is equipped with the knowledge and expertise to turn your resume from ordinary to extraordinary.
Not only do they understand how to beat the ATS and highlight your value in a way that impresses a hiring manager, but they also understand what will make you stand out among other sales professionals. Just like a mechanic knows everything there is to know about your car, a resume writer is an expert in their field.