Putting together a resume is never a fun task. What’s the latest protocol? What buzzwords should you include? How will you set yourself apart? It’s not easy, especially when you’re putting one together for the first time. What’s relevant? And how can you spin that frozen yogurt job into a noteworthy experience?
Luckily, sales is a job in which diverse work backgrounds are welcomed and useful. Your career behind the frozen yogurt counter becomes a customer relations job. You helped eager buyers make quick decisions and, hopefully, upsold them with extra toppings or a bigger size.
When it comes to prepping your resume for a job in sales, all experience is welcomed. But how do you get started with writing a good one?
We got you covered. This guide will show you:
Sales representatives with resumes that landed them jobs.
Sales representative job descriptions on resumes.
How to write your sales representative resume to get the interview.
Expert hints and examples to increase your chances of landing sales representative jobs.
Sales Resume Objective
Start your resume for a sales representative with a summary or career objective. Then add experience and education. Draw the recruiters in by using this formula from Resume Lab.
Years of experience
What you can offer and how it will help
Your biggest achievement
And as for what else sets you apart? I asked HubSpot reps and recruiters for the resumes they used to get hired and the advice for others hoping to land a gig in sales. Here’s what they had to say.
When it comes to creating a resume, providing value rather than crafting a long list of duties is important.
“Highlight promotions and career progression, and always include numbers (metrics, quota attainment, business impact, territory expansion, etc.).” The bottom line? When in doubt, add numbers, says Devon Brown, Director, Global Executive Recruiting at HubSpot.
When crafting your resume, make sure the skills listed in the resume align with the sales position and the company’s goals.
Here are some top skills to help your sales resume stand out:
Sales Resume Skills & Core Competencies
Knowledge of Software
Customer Relationship Management
Sales Pitch Development
1. Knowledge of Software
Highlight your sales experience with software programs, whether or not the company you are applying for uses that software. Proficiency in programs can show that you can learn various techniques fast.
Salespeople who are active listeners comprehend how to approach customers. If customers feel understood by a sales representative, it can increase their chances of making a purchase.
3. Verbal Communication
Verbal communication involves effectively sending messages to customers in a way they can easily understand. As a salesperson, landing sales and securing deals begins by engaging conversations with potential customers.
4. Goal Setting
Setting goals is a way for salespeople to track their success and it also shows a keenness to grow within their company. Being intentional in goal setting shows you recognize how your work influences your employer.
Managing several accounts reflects the organizational skills of a salesperson. Your ability to swiftly find and share information with clients can make the difference between landing a sale and losing not only leads but customers.
6. Time Management
It’s important to be mindful of how your work is distributed and being efficient with how that time is spent is an invaluable skill.
7. Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking helps salespeople create strategies that will help their customers achieve their goals. This skill can also help you create a customized approach for individual customers.
8. Demonstration Skills
As a sales representative, you may be required to show how a product operates. Showcasing your demonstration skills involves creating a presentation, understanding the details of a product, and showing how that product can be beneficial to the customer.
Having highly devoted leadership skills are helpful in the sales industry, especially if you want to be a team player. Companies often hire people who show leadership potential and can take initiative.
Companies seek out highly motivated salespeople to find clients to help grow their business. Salespeople that are driven building strong relationships with clients that lead to more revenue for their employers.
An essential skill in the sales profession is having a growth mindset. Embracing this kind of mindset leads to several opportunities for salespeople to develop new skills.
Salespeople must possess the ability to independently cultivate plans and follow leads. They actively seek out prospects and can craft innovative sales techniques.
Adaption is extremely important in the sales industry. Salespeople have to react to situations as they happen. This requires both flexibility and being ready to modify a plan immediately.
In sales, convincing potential customers of your viewpoint helps land sales. Persuasive tactics help salespeople deal with clients that may need extra coaxing before buying
15. Cold Calling
Businesses use cold calling to contact potential customers. Affluent cold calling skills make sales candidates appealing for jobs.
16. Customer Retention
A business does everything to make sure they can maintain its customers. Sales representatives who are highly skilled in using strategies to persuade customers to make repeat purchases should highlight their customer retention skills on their resumes.
Creating and maintaining relationships helps companies expand their network to build strong connections. Showcasing this skill will make you an invaluable addition to the team.
Employers gravitate toward job seekers with research ways to improve their company’s sales process. Not to mention, good research skills can help you find information on your prospects to use during a sale.
19. Data Analysis
Creating a data-driven sales process helps salespeople decide on the most profitable techniques.
20. Territory Management
Companies take their time when selecting territories for their salespeople to engage with various markets. For salespeople who want to become team leaders, territory management is an important skill to increase their job duties.
21. Objection Management
Salespeople are tasked with solving various problems that may be reasons a customer decided not to buy a product or service. This skill identifies you as a qualified candidate.
22. Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management, or CRM, involves your ability to guide a customer throughout the sales process. Success in CRM closes deals and has the potential for customers to make repeated purchases.
23. Sales Pitch Development
Creating a good sales pitch is a skill that leans on the quality of its imaginative approach. The more skilled you are in persuading customers to purchase items, the more valuable you will be to companies.
Sales Resume Examples
Appealing descriptions, selecting job-specific keywords, and the ability to explain how to use tools are all things that can make resumes grab the attention of recruiters. Here are some examples of resumes that go beyond explaining their job duties.
Atwood wanted to turn her background in education into a lucrative career in sales. To position herself positively to potential employers, she highlighted transferable skills from her previous positions.
She says, “I created this resume for HubSpot when I switched industries from outdoor and environmental education to sales. I wanted to condense my hydrology fieldwork in Massachusetts and my teaching in coastal Alaska into relevant skills I could use to pitch myself as a salesperson."
What We Like:
Instead of viewing her non-sales background as a weakness, Atwood used it to strengthen her resume. "I wanted to represent myself as a multidimensional and curious person who enjoys learning about the world and connecting with others – a crucial part of the sales profession.” HubSpot felt the same.
2. Chris Moore, Channel Account Manager, HubSpot Cambridge
Demonstrate Your Skills
Moore already had impressive sales and business experience, but he wanted to put in extra effort to set himself apart. He says, “I recommend doing something that stands out – like I did here. My resume is straightforward, but the delivery is different than most others. My website is a conversation starter and the gateway to my resume."
What we like:
By building his own website, Moore demonstrated his willingness and ability to overachieve. He was also able to customize the site with a personalized headline and message to his hiring manager.
He explains, "It showed HubSpot I'd put in the time to be noticed and stand out. There are so many free services available to make one-page sites like these."
Moore isn't the only one who sees the value of creating a website. He says, "I’ve even done it for several of my friends, and they’ve all been hired by one of the first two companies they interviewed with. I’m sure most of it was because they were highly qualified for the position, but some of it must have been because of the presentation, right?”
3. Paul Rios, Manager, International Sales and Strategy, HubSpot Cambridge
Quantify Your Successes
Rios is a longtime HubSpotter who has successfully shifted roles within the company several times. He says, "Quantify everything. Sales – unlike many other jobs – is black and white. Vague sales resumes are a red flag for me. If you are an over-performer, this is your chance to showcase your accomplishments."
What we like:
Rios also recommends having several different resumes on deck. “It's alright to have three or four different versions of your resume, each targeted at different companies or positions. For example, I have extensive direct and channel sales experience. If I were to apply to a new role, I'd highlight more strongly and/or reorder my bullets so my most relevant experience jumps out."
Job Hunt Pep Talks From Sales Pros
Entry Level Tips
No matter how long someone has been in sales, everyone has to start somewhere. For salespeople just starting out, Kelsey Freedman, sales recruiter, HubSpot Cambridge gives this advice: “For an entry-level resume, consider the characteristics and skills needed for a sales role. For example, hiring teams often look for someone competitive. Always include experiences you've had in a competitive environment.”
Also, don't shy away from using school or athletic goals as proof of your drive. She says, “Another example would be to explain a time you accomplished a goal. The hiring team wants to see you’re motivated by goals and can actually accomplish them, even if that means overcoming failure at times."
In the end, it's all about hard work and framing. "Ultimately, we want to see you're passionate and eager to generate revenue for the business. Even if it's a job at a retail store, you should phrase your responsibilities in a way that most closely relates to a sales position."
Former HubSpotter, Mary Burbridge, offers this advice: Is your resume built of buzzwords? Mary recommends including plenty of data to back up your claims. “Always include metrics that indicate a track record of success. If you were an over performer, by what percentage? If you had the highest MRR recorded all year, how much?”
Kelsey Freedman also warns a resume can get too data-driven. She says, “Buzzwords can be detrimental, but when it comes to a resume, recruiters and hiring managers like to see them!"
So what buzzwords does this recruiter most like to see from candidates? "Words like 'quota,' 'attainment,' 'closing,' 'negotiation,' and 'cold-calling' catch the hiring team's eye,” Freeman says. But don't think you can leave those numbers out entirely. She explains, "Don't be afraid to add numbers in there, either. The hiring team wants to know how you performed in previous roles. So, why not include it in your resume?"
LinkedIn Best Practices
Who better to learn from than sought-after career mentor and HubSpot Executive, Dan Tyre? He doesn't beat around the bush, saying, “Spend five times more effort on your LinkedIn profile than on your resume. And limit your resume to no more than two pages long. Oh, and if you have a Hotmail or AOL email address, don’t blame me if you don’t get the job.”
Trust the Process
Applying for a sales job should take time, but it shouldn’t cause you stress. Do the work, put in the effort to customize your resume for the sales job and company you’re applying to, and heed the advice provided above to submit a resume that employers can’t overlook. Good luck!
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published May 17, 2022 8:00:00 AM, updated May 19 2022