By Jason Connors, Co-Founder of AllSearch Professional Staffing – National Search Firm placing skilled Sales Professionals in North America since 2002.
Yes, I know, there are tons of articles out there on How to Write a Resume. But if you are in sales, there are more specific things you need to pay attention to, when putting together your professional resume. One critical piece of a sales resume is sales numbers. You are a sales professional. More than anything, a sales hiring manager, a VP of Sales, a Business Owner, wants to see number. Real success.
We all know that, in life, first impressions are everything. And that is no different in the world of job searching. Your resume is the absolute first thing that a hiring manager will see, in regards to you. Sure, you may be an amazing salesperson, you may have an incredible personality, you may have an amazing track record of sales success. But you will never get the chance to show these great traits, if you don’t take the time to create and share a perfect resume!
We get a lot of more experienced sales candidates that tell us, “I have a great background, I have sold everything, I am a rainmaker…if a piece of paper is more important than the real person…their loss.” Wrong attitude. A VP of Sales at a strong company will get bombarded with resumes and calls, from endless “salespeople” that will be claiming the same things. They use the resume as the first qualifier of talent and success. If you can’t take the time to sell yourself in the best way possible, how will you sell clients and prospects for that company in the proper way?
So, here are a few things to remember when wring you Sales resume, and updating your LinkedIn profile:
- Sales Numbers – We are a national search firm with a team of Recruiters that recruit and place sales talent all over North America. That said, I can’t tell you how many “great” sales professionals send us resumes that have absolutely NO sales numbers. I can’t stress this enough…you HAVE to post quantifiable sales success in your resume, if you want to be taken seriously by a Sales Hiring Manager. Show % of goals hit, show awards won, show total sales increase from year to year, show total sales volume of your territory. The more numbers you can show, the more likely you are to be taken seriously.
- Territory Location – Explain where your sell. Do you handle a specific city? Do you handle a multi-state market? Do you sell nationally? Be specific as to where you sell geographically. This matters. If you have sold in the Chicago market for the past 6 years, and the hiring manager is looking for someone with deep contacts in Chicago, this is a selling point! But if not on the resume, how will they know in the 60 seconds they spend on your resume?
- Type of Customer / Prospect – Who do you sell to? Are you selling to end users? If so, who are those end users? Do you sell through distribution? Do you call on manufacturers, industrial contacts, business owners, retailers, or hospitals? Again, the better you can outline who your customer is, the better a Sales Hiring Manager can determine your fit to their opening.
- What Product / Service Do You Sell – It may be obvious to you…but unless you sell for a nationally known company, most people have no idea the product you sell. So describe the product in your resume.
- Client Success Story – One piece of feedback we hear from our clients all the time is, “the candidate was too general in describing their sales background and success.” So, talk about your largest customer landed, you biggest sales made, a huge contest you won, etc. If you can show REAL success, it makes you stand out from the masses.
- Resume Should Match LinkedIn – This seems obvious, but every single day, our team cross references a resume to a LinkedIn profile…only to find that they don’t match. Again, this is a HUGE deal. The first thing a hiring manager does with a resume or candidate, is to try to find obvious red flags. An easy one to find is when dates are slightly off on jobs. Or jobs are showing on LinkedIn that don’t show on your resume. And even if you are not lying, and it is an honest mistake, it is a mistake nonetheless…and shows a lack of attention to detail.
So…remember…you are a great sales professional! Take the time to sell your best product…YOU! Treat every potential employer as your #1 prospect…then sell yourself in the absolute best way possible!