How to Build a Resume for That Sales Dream Job – by Christopher Scirpoli
As a sales manager I’ve looked at over too many resumes to count. The #1 issue I’ve found is people don’t make their accomplishments and skills stand out. These two key items get lost in menial listings of job responsibilities or worse, the applicant doesn’t list their accomplishments at all. Your resume is the first communication you have with any company. If it doesn’t sell you and sell you hard, it won’t matter if you can move ice to Eskimos at twice the price of your competition. You’re never going to get the chance to extoll your many virtues. In sales, no one gives a rat’s behind what your job responsibilities were. You have one job responsibility and that’s to bring in revenue. The fact that you used CRM’s like Salesforce and Goldmine or are a whiz on Excel doesn’t mean squat to any sales organization. They only care about one thing: revenue. Can you bring home the dollars?
I’ve helped many of my friends and colleagues build highly effective resumes that brought them massive results when looking for their sales dream job. Your resume needs to catch someone’s attention in 20 seconds. Seems like a long time, but it’s not. If you have a two-page resume, that’s only 10 seconds per page. How can we grab their attention quickly and make them want to read further? Simple, you want your resume to follow a logical, results-oriented pattern. The last two positions I have held have been a Regional Vice President and Vice President of Sales. These are management titles and stand out, so the VP position sits at the top of my resume with a brief synopsis of my major successes at that company. This is a simple, short paragraph that goes something like this:
As a VP of Sales, I have been able to (insert major successes). This immediately garners the readers interest. They don’t have to search for the value you bring to the table. You give it to them up front.
If you had to make a downward move from your last position, put the last position title first, if your major accomplishments were more substantial. The whole point is to get your most impressive and quantifiable results in their face first to keep their attention. If your job titles are bland and not that impressive, simply have Major Accomplishments at the top of your resume and put your best three. They can span different positions; just make sure you put the top three accomplishments under the appropriate positions, as well.
Major accomplishments in sales are considered to be revenue-generated, sales-target goals reached and exceeded, etc. When listing your accomplishments use percentages instead of dollars. Significant revenues vary across different industries. While one industry may say it’s a solid year if you brought in 500K of revenue, it may warrant you being let go in another. I see resumes without growth numbers all the time, it usually means they didn’t do anything impressive and are trying to cover up their lack of skill. If you were in an industry that had a very down year, but you had a stellar month or were a sales leader in the previous years, use those numbers, which are more reflective of your skill level. Phrasing and how you show the numbers is key in impressing the person looking at your resume. Find the numbers that will wow them.
Many larger companies get thousands of resumes sent to them because of size, multiple positions being available and other factors. With these companies, screening resumes is completely automated. This means they are run through an algorithm that looks for key words or phrases that have been specified by the hiring manager. Make sure you do your research on current industry jargon and buzz words and include them in your resume; otherwise it will not even hit human eyes.
Often times people will try to make a jump from one type of industry to another. Maybe you are trying to move from a B2C oriented sales career to a B2B type of sales career. While the fundamentals of sales don’t change, you are dealing with a much different sales cycle and hierarchal decision-making process in B2B. There is a steep learning curve and the approach strategy is much different. If you’ve got the experience it’s not hard to make the jump, but unless you show that in your resume you will generally not be considered for a high level B2B position with only B2C experience. You have to show how you sold to both communities if you were mainly B2C, which means you leverage any type of experience you have selling to businesses and include them in your accomplishments list.
Keep your resume to two pages for 7-10+ years of experience, and one page for less than 7 years of experience. You really only need to list your achievements for the last 10 years. Anything beyond that should simply be a title and company listing along with the amount of time at the position.
Finally, how you format your resume is going to be important. People’s eyes are lazy; they are attracted to the white space in the resume. Bold the things you want to stand out. Make sure the resume follows a logical progression, most recent positions first, after your header showing accomplishments. If the company allows, send your resume as a PDF to make sure that your formatting stays as you had intended. These are the biggest pieces of putting together your resume. Fail to follow them and watch your job search languish. Get your accomplishments in people’s faces and watch the interview offers start pouring in.
Christopher Scirpoli has had a lifelong passion for sales. He’s currently co-owner of the sales publication Invoke Selling–a website dedicated to helping salespeople increase their skill and income. Teaching people about sales is something Chris considers a pleasure and a honor; it allows him to share the experience and knowledge he’s learned that have allowed him to be successful in life. You can connect with him at his website and at Christopher@invokeselling.com.Posted by Robert Terson | 0 comments