One of the ironic things about people who make a living in sales or marketing is that they know how to sell products and services extremely well. It’s selling themselves that often comes as more of a challenge. However, creating an exceptional resume that stands out from dozens of others is essential to move forward in this career.
Ideally, the resume should be one page in length, formatted appropriately, highlight the value proposition to the company that’s unique to the applicant, and provide details about past educational and employment experiences.
Resumes 101: Know the Intended Audience
A salesperson would never start making cold calls or randomly look for online leads without knowing who he or she wanted to reach. The same is true of writing a resume. Knowing who is likely to read the resume and the things that person would find most important allows sales professionals to tailor the document to their audience. This requires the resume writer to have deep understanding of both the open position and the company advertising for it.
The value in knowing the above information is that it gives the resume writer a clearer idea of which experiences to highlight, keywords to use, and specific skills that add to his or her value proposition. Taking the time to do this research makes it more likely that someone will actually read the resume rather than toss it into the recycle pile.
Spend Extra Time Creating a Personal Statement
Professionals in all fields know they should prepare an elevator speech about themselves and be prepared to deliver it at any time. This practice gets its name from the idea that the speech should last no longer than the typical elevator ride. While a resume is a written pitch rather than a spoken one, salespeople should ensure that it includes the same type of statement.
For maximum effectiveness and for the resume to stand out from others, the personal statement needs to be both powerful and short. For marketing professionals, it can be helpful to think of the personal statement as creating a brand tagline. The only difference is that the brand is a person in this case. Two possibilities to include here are a single sentence or a bulleted list of adjectives that describe the applicant’s selling style. A brief description of any specialized experience the applicant can bring to the position is yet another possibility.
Be Sure to Highlight Specific Selling Skills
With many companies employing automated screening tools that pick out specific keywords, including them and offering proof of experience in that area is essential. If a resume passes this initial stage, it moves along for a recruiter to read manually. The following are some common industry skills and terms that would be helpful to include in a sales professional resume:
- Attention to detail
- Client acquisition and retention
- Detail orientation
- Product knowledge
- Sales closing
- Sales forecasting
- Setting goals
- Time management skills
- Written and verbal communication skills
Answer Anticipated Questions in Resume Format
When a recruiter scans a resume, he or she is looking for evidence that hiring the applicant could solve pressing problems for the company. Therefore, it makes sense for resume writers to consider the kinds of questions they have answered on recent interviews or to spend time researching the topic. That will allow them to work answers to some of the following common questions into the resume:
- What sales achievements does the applicant consider to be most important over the course of his or her career?
- What benefit did the applicant for a sales or marketing position bring to past employers?
- Has an organization or individual specifically recognized the applicant for outstanding sales performance?
- What is the real dollar value of the deals the applicant has closed successfully for every past employer listed on the resume?
- What percentage of deals do applicants win and successfully close?
- What proof can the applicant demonstrate for having mastered certain techniques or sales skills?
Consider Adding Charts and Graphs if Space Permits
Because sales are so visual and such a numbers game, including a chart or graph where appropriate can helps recruiters pay greater attention to an applicant’s resume. Seeing both words and a visual aid can help to clarify the applicant’s point in the mind of the recruiter. However, it should always be relevant to the information presented while staying within the one-page limit for resumes that most recruiters prefer.
Don’t Forget to Proofread
An otherwise stellar resume with a spelling or typographical error can send the wrong impression to hiring managers. It’s a worthwhile investment for job seekers to pay a professional resume company to edit and proofread the document before officially submitting it anywhere.
This content is sponsored by Andrew Armstrong.