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Polishing Your Stellar Sales Resume

Polishing Your Stellar Sales Resume

The Betts Team
April 17, 2013

Betts Recruiter Aynslie Accomando’s advice on creating a stellar sales resume:

Dusting off the old resume and giving it a good, thorough revision is hardly the most exciting thing about applying for a new job. Most sales people are extroverts and feel more comfortable making a pitch in person. But while the resume may be the most impersonal aspect of the job application, it turns out that it also happens to be the first impression that you make on your prospective employers. Don’t think of the resume as a lifeless document; think of it as a sales pitch, which is what you do best. The resume is your first opportunity to show these companies who you are, what you’ve done, and what you can do. At this stage, it’s you versus the gatekeeper to the job of your dreams.

My first piece of advice is to make your resume more personal by having it speak to your whole life. Don’t forget to include important information about your undergraduate years. What kind of degree did you receive? What was your major and GPA? Did you receive any honors? Include it. Did you play in a band or edit the school newspaper? Do you play soccer in one of the SF men’s leagues? These can be vital determinants of the all-important “culture fit” at a hiring startup. Include these in the “Activities and Interests” section at the bottom of the resume.

Second, the format of a resume is almost as important as the content in it. Nothing beats clarity and concision. If you’re a recent college graduate, your college should be at the top of the resume, followed by all of the jobs that you’ve held in reverse chronological order. One of the reasons to organize it this way is that it prevents employers from mistaking an internship that you held, say, during your junior year in college for a post-collegiate job that didn’t pan out. It is also helpful to list the skills that you’ve learned under the heading of the job at which you learned those skills. Remember that the resume is itself a summary of your achievements, so you should approach each job entry as an opportunity to summarize and highlight your specific achievements at that job, not list all duties you were tasked with.

This brings me to my third piece of advice. Include metrics. Indicate if you have performed to quota and how you rank in relation to the rest of your sales team. Indicate if you’ve won any particular accolades. The resume is a perfect forum in which to present metrics in an elegant and memorable way. You may emphasize these metrics in an interview but they should appear first on the resume.

Fourth. There should be no gaps in the resume. Since people tend to include only their most admirable traits and achievements in a resume, the hiring manager is trained as a critical reader, one who can sniff out cover-ups. You want to anticipate their concerns and prevent them by being candid about any breaks in employment. It’s best not to let your reader assume the worst.

We’ve talked so far about how to make the resume a more personal expression of who you are, but there are two sides to this. Startups are by nature more personal and idiosyncratic places than larger corporations. They have personalities and cultures—a vibe—of their own. And often, specific roles within a company have personality expectations attached to them. My fifth and last piece of advice is to make the resume personal not only to you but to each company/position to which you apply. Read the job description closely. You want to make sure to highlight your qualifications based on what they are looking for. Are you in a client-facing role? Do you have experience cold-calling? Are there certain activities you could list that emphasize how you might work as a “culture fit” at the office? The idea is to show the company that you understand its demands and its specific culture by tailoring your resume to fit the job description.

It’s easy to differentiate yourself when you’re standing in front of an interviewer, one living, breathing person to another. It takes a different kind of skill—both visual and rhetorical—to make your resume come alive for a gatekeeper. Follow these five tips and you’ll be well on your way…

Click here for an example of a stellar sales resume.

Betts Recruiting is the leading recruitment firm specializing in revenue-generating talent. Betts partners with the world’s most innovative companies to build their sales, marketing and business development teams.