Your resume can mean the difference between getting the job and not. Recruiters only spend an average of six seconds looking at a resume before deciding whether or not the candidate is worth pursuing further. That’s not a whole lot of time to win someone over, which is why you need to make every single element of your sales resume work for you by following these five rules.
Rule #1: Lead with your best performance metrics.
Recruiters are looking for salespeople who are performance-driven and are going to yield impressive results. List the details of your experience at the top of your resume so it’s the first thing they read.
And make sure that your experience is quantified whenever possible. “I brought in $1.5M in sales” is far more impressive than “I maintained a consistent sales record.” If your focus is lead generation, writing something like, “Made 150-200 cold calls per day using InsideSales.com” is a great way to illustrate both your performance capacity and your familiarity with tech tools.
Rule #2: Keep it short and concise.
Six seconds isn’t enough time to read a life story. If your experience is solid, you shouldn’t need to explain yourself; get right to the point and let your credentials do the talking.
Here’s a rule of thumb: You never need more than four bullet points per job title or role, and your entire resume should fit on a single page. Scratch all your irrelevant high school or college internships—you don’t need to stuff your resume for the sake of filling space. When it comes to resumes, less is more.
Rule #3: Highlight all of your achievements.
Great accomplishments that aren’t sales-related deserve a spot on your resume. Case in point: Athletic achievements show that you’re competitive and know how to effectively work in a team; leadership achievements show an ability to support and motivate others toward success; being part of a college Greek organization or social club demonstrates your interpersonal skills; volunteering shows that you know how to work with others toward common goals.
All of these skills can be reflective of your professional strengths in your sales career. Don’t discount an opportunity to showcase your skills just because they don’t directly relate to sales.
Rule #4: Simplify your resume design.
Your experience and achievements should be all it takes to entice recruiters—not frills and fancy fonts. Stick with a basic layout that doesn’t distract from what’s most impressive: YOU!
Rule #5: Send your resume as a PDF.
Other file types are easy for others to edit and might display incorrectly on different devices. After triple-checking your final version—spelling and grammar errors are inexcusable—export it as a PDF.
Founder & CEO of CloserIQ. Previously Sales Strategy & Management @ZocDoc, Head of Analytics @PayPerks and Trading Strategist @Bridgewater Associates. MIT Bachelor’s & Master’s in Computer Science. CFA Charterholder.