When it comes to sales, you’re a natural. But when it comes to selling yourself in your resume, it’s funny how difficult this can be.
As a sales professional, your resume really does need to be A grade to stand out amongst those of other persuasive, professional sellers. And in today’s online world, it’s not enough to have had great experience; you need to structure your resume correctly with the right keywords to ensure it gets anywhere near a hiring manager. As with any resume, you should always tailor the content to each specific job; prioritising the skills and evidence of experience covering the responsibilities the position requires.
Here’s how to build a strong resume for sales.
Make a High-Impact Elevator Pitch in the “Objective” Section
Think of the objective section on your resume as your elevator pitch. How can you summarise in one or two sentences your drive, energy and enthusiasm that are critical for sales? Keywords are important here. If you are applying for a manufacturing sales job, make sure that you add those words as part of your objective.
Define Your Unique Value Proposition in the “Skills” Section
The trick to this section is not to simply explain the sales skills that you possess but to define exactly how you use them in a way that sets you apart from others. This is where you are outlining your unique value proposition, if you like, how hiring you can uniquely solve the problems their sales department may face. Key sales skills to consider for your resume include: solution selling, relationship building, client relations, consultative selling, account management, negotiating and closing, lead generation, communication, new business development, meeting and exceeding sales quotas.
Fill the “Experience” Section with Action-Packed Achievements
The section on your resume that recounts your professional experience must be much more than a simple record of companies, roles and job descriptions. You must use this section to show a track record of sales achievements. Under each employer and position, briefly outline your responsibilities (e.g. supervisory responsibilities, territory, budget, etc.) and then provide a list of quantifiable and meaningful achievements. E.g: “Achieved a 100% positive reference rating from clients who had previously been dissatisfied with company's customer service.”
Not sure how to frame all your experiences in terms of achievements? Consider these questions:
- How did your sales expertise benefit the company?
- What were your specific sales results? If you are not bound by confidentiality, provide a dollar amount. Otherwise you can talk in terms of percentage increase.
- How well did you meet your quotas or other targets?
- How did you perform in comparison with your peers?
- What obstacles did you overcome? For example, selling in poor market conditions, overcoming objections or breaking into a new market?
- What rewards or awards did you receive as a result of your performance?
- Did you land difficult accounts?
- Did you transform the response of accounts that had previously been poor?
- Did you act as a mentor to other pros or coach them to improve their performances?
- Did you secure recurring business or a high number of referrals?
Finally, although you will want to share your success, be careful when listing your achievements. Many companies consider sales strategies and results confidential information. So be sure not to include any information that would compromise your current or past employers' confidential information.