Writing a sales resume is no easy task. However, it’s a necessary one for everyone from entry-level salespeople to those hoping to land a management position and beyond. Considering that the average recruiter spends six seconds scanning a resume to determine whether to read it, it’s crucial to avoid some of the top mistakes that can quickly land a resume in the trash.

Formatting Issues

Long paragraphs with lack of white space or use of bullet points are difficult for recruiters to read. Since computer programs typically review a resume first, the applicant should make it scannable to increase the chances a recruiter will even look at it. It also requires proper formatting. Sales professionals new to writing a resume or those who may have not written one in over a decade should consider checking out the numerous options for free resume templates available online.

Avoid Submitting a Sales Resume without Quantifiable Results

Hiring managers in sales departments care about results. They want to know how the applicant made a difference to past employers, not just the duties assigned to him or her. One of the most common and serious mistakes made by sales professionals hoping to land a new job is leaving off results that quantifies the information stated.

Sales resumes that get attention include data about large deals and customer wins, involvement in channel partnerships, and quota achievement percentages. It can make hiring managers feel suspicious that the applicant is attempting to hide poor performance by not including this information.

No Mention of Earning Awards or Meeting Specific Achievements

Sales is an award-driven industry. That means top performers should have at least a few awards worth mentioning on their resume. One common example is winning a trip for earning the highest revenue or number of units sold on a sales team. High performers are proud of such honors and would never fail to mention them on a resume. Achievements such as independently seeking out and completing additional sales training are also worth listing.

Always Include Essential Sales Skills on a Resume

This action is important for two specific reasons. First, software that scans sales resumes looks for the inclusion of certain keywords. Secondly, including these terms demonstrates that the applicant knows the language of the sales profession and has the skills to prove it. Here are just three examples of essential sales skills that people applying for a position at any level will want to include:

  • Client acquisition and retention: The ability to consistently obtain new clients is important. However, retaining them can be even more crucial. Including statistics here shows the recruiter that the applicant takes this responsibility seriously.
  • Closing sales: Every action performed in sales leads up to this. One of the most important pieces of information to a recruiter is the applicant’s percentage of closed sales compared to his or her total number of attempts.
  • Goal setting and forecasting: Consistently setting goals shows strong self-motivation while forecasting ability demonstrates whether the applicant has a realistic sense of the market.

Every sales resume needs to open with a strong objective statement as well. Job applicants can think of it in terms of creating brand imaging for themselves.


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