Top 10 Sales Resume Tips

by Scott Leishman – As executive recruiters, we try to match your background with a specific set of criteria that an employer has given us. For sales positions, it is easy. Employers want to know if you can start selling their stuff tomorrow. (You understand the technical aspects of and are currently selling their kind of stuff to the decision makers at their target accounts in their open territory.) If you have a non-compete let us know,

1. You can help us help you by providing the following info in your resume. Cover letters get lost. You have one ad for you and your skill set – the resume. If you have had a couple of careers, you may need more than one version of your resume. Highlight the activities that are responsive to a specific position, summarize those that aren’t.

2. Keep a detailed log of where you have applied directly, what recruiters you are working with and where they have submitted you. When you are trying to sell someone on how detail oriented you are, and you talk to three recruiters from the same organization about a job you have already applied to on the company’s website, you have shot yourself in the foot while your foot was in your mouth.

3. Starting at the top – your name, address where you live now, one phone number (cell suggested) and personal email. This tells us if you live in the territory or can commute to it reasonably. Street address is not required but have city and state at least, or else you will never show up in a geographically based search of the database. Avoid funky fonts. Most recruiters have a resume database which ingests and parses your resume. If you have the first letters of your first and last name stylized with a huge script font, you may end up in the database as Ichard Mith instead of Richard Smith.

4. Keep the “Greatest Hits” Summary to a minimum. All of you need to be “hard-working, strategic thinking, aggressive, collaborative, professional, outside the box, closers.” We are looking for performance details at specific jobs. Worse is a “Sold $3M on a $2M Quota” in here and we cannot attribute it to a specific position.

5. Companies – Add a summary sentence or 2 about each company, what they sell, $ volume, representative customers or segment/vertical details.

6. Within the bullets get specific. “Consistently over quota” is a distant third to “Sold $3.3M on a $3M annual quota.” The best resumes have a chart of the last 5-10 years of sales performance, listing company, quota, revenue achieved, %, rank versus peers and awards. Are you selling 3 million $1 products or 12, $250K products? Include representative clients or vertical, and specifics on products sold and key wins. Clear, concise details. How many sales managers, sales people, distributors and resellers do you manage?

7. If you have had several positions within the same company, put the time frame for your entire tenure at that company at the top of this section. Employers like tenure. Then list the time frame for each position under that company.

8. Explain transitions – companies reduce staff, are purchased, close offices and get out of business verticals. Adding these details can diminish the “Job Hopper” label. Add details such as “promoted or recruited” to accentuate reasons for moving within a company or to a new employer.

9. Make sure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume. It is the first place people check to begin a reference check, even before they do a phone screen. See #10.

10. BE HONEST – people eventually find out. If you aren’t a fit for a position, you are wasting your, our and employers’ time. Worse, you leave a job then having an offer retracted or get fired when the background check finds you didn’t graduate, extended employment timing to fill in gaps, or fabricated anything on your resume, including having graduated from Harvard. Oh, and by the way, ALL of those are actual and recent examples.

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