Resume Strategies for Sales Professionals
Start with a High-Impact Sales Pitch
Sales resumes need to be results-oriented, emphasizing how you contributed to your employer's bottom line. Start by creating a profile or career summary that highlights your sales capabilities and value to potential employers. Include the main reasons why an employer should call you for an interview, and clearly show your areas of expertise and industry knowledge. For example, if you are pursuing a pharmaceutical sales representative position, those keywords and your supporting knowledge should be in the profile. This section is perfect for exhibiting the drive, energy and enthusiasm that is so important in the sales profession.
Use Action-Packed Achievements
It is very important that your professional experience section shows a track record of sales achievements. Under each employer and position, develop a brief paragraph that highlights your responsibilities (such as territory, budget, supervisory responsibilities, etc.). Then provide a bulleted list of your top achievements, making sure they are quantifiable and meaningful to someone outside your company. To create powerful accomplishments, go beyond stating your work's results -- describe how you achieved such excellent results. Take a look at these examples of powerful achievement statements:
- Built sales organisation from ground zero, conceptualizing and realizing strategic plan that generated $1 million in software and consulting revenue within one year. Sustained strong revenue gains, despite a fiercely competitive and declining market.
- Cultivated relationships with customer base in the semiconductor industry and uncovered new customer needs.
- Achieved a 100-percent reference customer base of nine semiconductor fabrication clients that had previously been dissatisfied with company's customer service. Identified problems and worked closely with operations managers to regain confidence and develop win-win solutions.
These Questions Will Get You Thinking About Your Achievements:
- How did the company benefit from your sales expertise?
- How did you perform in comparison with your peers?
- What were your specific sales figures (provide a dollar amount if the information is not confidential or a percentage increase)?
- How well have you met your quotas or other sales expectations?
- Have you won any sales awards?
- Were you rewarded with a new territory because of your performance?
- Did you land any difficult accounts? Did you salvage any accounts that had previously been languishing?
- Were you involved in product development or a new product launch?
- Did you surmount serious obstacles, such as selling in poor market conditions, overcoming objections or breaking into a new market?
- Did you establish a sales training program or teach other sales pros to improve their performances?
- Did your dedication to customer service, impeccable follow- through and support lead to repeat business or a high number of referrals?
- Have you led contract negotiations resulting in a positive business deal?
- Have you negotiated with vendors or suppliers to secure favorable pricing?
- Have you written for any industry publications or spoken at events or conferences?
- Did you serve on any committees or boards, or participate in special projects?
The Confidentiality Factor
Keep in mind that many companies consider their sales strategies and performances confidential information. The threat of competitors finding out about company success strategies is very real, so be sure not to include any information that would compromise your current or past employers' confidential information. You certainly can include information that is available to the general public (for example, stats found in an annual report or on the company Web site).
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