Help Your Sales Professional Craft A Better Resume

Aug 12, 2014

stack of resumesAs an executive recruiter who specializes in placing IT sales and sales management talent, I am often frustrated by the quality of the resumes I receive; even from truly exceptional candidates.

The problem goes beyond the job seekers themselves, as “expertise” on resume preparation is as random as summertime showers in the Rocky Mountains. So I will provide clarity for sales professionals based upon my keen knowledge of the pressure-packed dynamics of today’s hiring climate.

The perfect resume does not exist, but the structure I suggest will get your documents noticed in the forest of paperwork being reviewed by top executives.

After 32 years of listening to hiring authorities to whom I am presenting resumes for the purpose of job placement, my basic conclusion is that most resumes contain too much verbiage and too little about personal achievements to garner the proper attention. So the phrase I quote over and over these days is “words don’t sell, number do!”

All of my clients want to see the names of the employers that the candidate worked for, relevant employment dates and titles. They also need a BRIEF explanation of responsibilities, i.e. what the candidate is or has been selling and to whom. Words describing products/services and client names/list are very important to include. But, stop there and move on to the more eye-catching details.

The most impactful statements hirers need to see have to do with the individual accomplishments of the sales professional. For instance, quota performance, rank amongst peers, biggest sales in revenue dollars, awards, club trips, etc. are paramount.

Resume senders (i.e. writers) need to keep in mind that resume receivers are often too busy to carefully read all the emailed paperwork. Executive recruiters and most direct hiring managers are recipients of multiple resumes every business day, regardless of how many openings we are trying to fill. So, we focus on key words and phrases that are meaningful and familiar to determine if the resume contains the basic credentials we seek. If it does, then we look for what, if anything makes the candidates’ credentials stand out.

List Achievements Boldly

That is why a candidate needs to list achievements in bold, concise and numbers-oriented fashion. Using bullets or asterisks to separate accomplishments from short descriptions of the employment history is essential. Do not blend the numbers into the text regarding the types of products sold or selling. This format will provide the target audience with the easily discernible facts he or she needs to see to separate one candidate from the rest.

The summary of qualifications at the top of a resume should be very brief, as well. Frankly, everyone’s summary of qualifications pretty much looks alike and are skipped over by most professional hirers. Dissertations on “professional background,” and associated statements just take up room, are almost always too lengthy and subjective recruiters and hiring authorities to digest.

Today’s decision-maker puts a daily premium on efficiency. Crafting a resume to suit the reader by keeping it factual and concise, yet containing the true highlights of a sales track record (regardless of how many years of experience) will get a candidate noticed.

I have provided a basic format that I hope all sales professionals will find helpful and use to become employed or to find greater satisfaction in their moves up on their career path.

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