How to Make a Good Resume for Sales
September 19th, 2023
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Your sales resume can make or break your chances of success in this competitive industry. After all, any great sales person knows, first impressions are crucial.
Your sales resume is how you capture the attention of potential hiring managers with behind-the-scenes insights into your sales skills, work experience, and credentials. It’s a key tool in ensuring you can essentially “sell yourself” to the company you want to work with.
While you might assume that all sales people would be excellent at crafting compelling resumes, this isn’t always the case. After all, it can be challenging to cover all of your accomplishments and abilities on just one or two pages.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here’s our guide to creating a powerful sales resume.
What Should a Sales Rep Resume Include?
The first step in learning how to make a good resume for sales is knowing what you should include in your document. Sales resumes need to be concise and structured (17% of hiring managers will ignore a resume more than 2 pages long), but they also need to be packed with useful information.
Here are the key points you’ll need to cover:
- Your Name and Contact Details
It might sound obvious, but your sales resume should always include your contact information, your name, and potentially an insight into your current sales position or role. Be diligent with this section, double-checking for any errors or mistakes before you send in your application.
Don’t use any abbreviations or nicknames for your name, and ensure you provide plenty of ways for hiring managers to get in contact. You might include your phone number, physical address, and email address. If you’re applying for a country in a different region, you might want to skip your location.
- A Resume Summary
The summary on your resume gives your hiring manager an initial introduction to who you are as a professional. You can use bullet points to highlight core sales achievements or skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. You can also clarify why you’re applying for a specific position.
Remember, your resume should always be short, and personalized to the sales job you’re trying to get. Mention the name of the company you’re applying to, and consider including some data or valuable information about your past sales experiences.
- Professional Experience
If you’re applying for a sales representative job as a complete beginner, and you have no prior experience in sales, tailor your professional experience section to showcase the transferrable skills you’ve gained in other roles. For instance, you could highlight a role you had that helped you develop consumer service skills, or communication skills.
Include responsibilities and achievements directly related to the job you’re applying for. For instance, a new sales rep could explain how a previous position as an assistant helped them to develop problem-solving and time-management skills that will be valuable in their new role.
Your skills section gives you an excellent opportunity to use specific keywords that application tracking systems and hiring managers will be looking for in a resume. Using bullet points can make this section easier to read, but make sure you don’t end up with an extremely long list.
Focus on skills connected to the core competencies and requirements listed on the job description for the role you’re applying for. You might list things like “Leadership skills”, and “Product knowledge” relevant to specific items you’re going to be selling. Make sure you can validate any skills you list if you’re asked about them by your hiring manager.
- Qualifications and credentials
This section should provide companies with a brief insight into your educational background and relevant qualifications. It’s important to avoid going too far back with your list of credentials. For instance, if you have a bachelor’s degree, and various certifications from online sales courses, there’s no need to list your high school diploma too.
If you’re in the middle of earning a qualification, highlight the credentials you’re working on, and include your expected graduation year. You can also use this section to list any licenses, awards, or recognition you’ve received. For instance, if you won the award for “top performer” in your sales team, you could list this in your “credentials” section, or in a separate “achievements” segment.
How to Make a Good Resume for Sales: Top Tips
Writing the perfect sales resume can be more complicated than it seems. If you’re struggling, you might want to consider using a professional resume writing service. Some studies show that 68% of candidates who use a professional resume service get a job within 90 days.
If you’re committed to tackling the process yourself, here are some quick tips to boost your chances of success.
- Treat your Summary like a Sales Pitch
A resume is essentially a tool you use to sell yourself to a prospective employer. With this in mind, it’s worth using your existing sales skill to your advantage. Grab the attention of hiring managers at the very top of your page with a persuasive and compelling summary.
Highlight the benefits you can bring to a role, based on the information you’ve gathered from your job description. Consider sharing your professional goals and accomplishments, and tell your employer what you can do for them if they choose to hire you.
Where possible, include keywords from the job description, as this will make your resume more likely to pass through application tracking systems.
- Get the format right
While showcasing your values as a sales professional is important, even the most impressive resume won’t drive the right results if it isn’t easy to read. You can find templates online to help you format your resume correctly for different industries.
In general, if you have previous sales experience, you’ll use a chronological resume format, which lists your history in reverse-chronological order. Alternatively, you can use a functional format if you have limited sales experience, emphasizing transferrable skills.
When formatting your resume, always:
- Choose a professional and legible font
- Use plenty of white space throughout the document
- Separate sections with bold headers
- Use bullet points to make your resume skimmable
- Try to keep your resume to just one page
- Show your Results and Accomplishments with Data
One of the biggest mistakes sales reps and sales managers make when creating a resume is failing to validate their accomplishments. It’s easy to tell an employer you have certain skills, or that you’ve proven your worth as a sales professional in the past, but you need to prove it if you want to stand out.
For instance, when you’re listing your previous experiences, don’t just include the job title, highlight your responsibilities and what you accomplished in that role. For instance: “Responsible for leading a sales strategy which increased revenue by 20% in 12 months”.
When you’re listing skills, be specific as possible. For instance, don’t just say you have experience with enterprise sales, say: “Averaged more than $3 million in annual enterprise sales”.
- Proofread and Polish your Sales Resume
Writing an amazing sales rep resume can be time-consuming and exhausting. Often the last thing you want to do when you’re done writing is proof-read and edit the document. However, this is an important step no professional should overlook.
Take some time to carefully proofread your resume. Don’t just rely on spell-checker tools to do the work for you, as they can miss important errors. You don’t want accidentally tell employers you spent five years as a sales manger when you mean “sales manager”.
When you’re editing your resume, be brutal and cut out anything that doesn’t seem relevant to the role. Remember, the best resumes are short and sweet. If you’re struggling, it might be worth sharing your resume with some friends and asking them to proof read it too. Different perspectives can help you catch mistakes you would otherwise miss.
- Customize Your Resume to Each Role
One-size-fits-all resumes are a thing of the past. If you’re sending the exact same resume out to every company, then there’s a good chance you’re not going to see results. A resume should be a clear overview of why you’re the perfect fit for a specific job title.
You can start with a “master resume” that includes insights into all of your accomplishments and achievements. Once you have that master resume, use it to create new documents every time you apply for each role. Cherry pick the important information that’s relevant to the company you want to work for, based on the job description.
Remember to pay attention to the key words used in that job description too, as this can help you to sail through ATS programs. If you really want to take customization to the next level, you can also include bespoke cover letters with every resume you send, explaining in more detail why you believe you’re a great choice for that specific role.
Perfect your Sales Resume
Your sales resume is an important tool in ensuring you can leave a lasting (and positive) first impression on potential employers. Don’t make the mistake of rushing through the creation process, or sending the same resume to every company.
Take the time to craft a resume that positions you as the perfect applicant for each job you apply for. Your chances of getting an interview offer will be much higher as a result.
Do you need help developing the skills that will help your resume stand out? Join the Hard Skill Exchange today and learn sales tactics from the experts.
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