Craft your pitch
At the top of your resume, you should include a career objective. This is a short, sharp, punchy summary of the key skills and abilities you have to offer.
Treat your objective as your personal sales pitch. If it’s weak, not only will hiring managers doubt your abilities, they’ll also stop reading your resume altogether. Craft something outstanding and you’ll be on your way to making the sell.
To ensure your objective statement is as persuasive as possible, treat it like a sales pitch to a potential client, highlighting features and benefits. The features are your skills, knowledge, and abilities, and the benefits are the results and achievements you can accomplish if you get hired.
You also want to keep this section of your resume tailored to the job description. The skills you reference in your objective should incorporate the keywords from the job description and be related to the job posting to ensure your resume lands at or near the top of search results on application tracking systems (ATSs) and search engines.
Reference essential sales skills
The benefits of referencing essential sales skills in your resume are twofold. As mentioned, keywords from the job description will optimize your resume to pass ATSs. But at the next stage, your resume will be read by recruiters. By referencing skills in the recruiters’ own language, you make it obvious that you’re a great fit, helping you progress to interview stage.
Here are some common essential skills and abilities you might include in your sales resume:
Client acquisition and retention
Goal setting and forecasting
Written and verbal communication
Attention to detail
Showcase your results
While it’s easy to say you have certain skills, such as the ability to close sales, this won’t necessarily convince the hiring manager that your skills are genuine. To remove all doubt, support your skills with examples, achievements, and, where possible, actual numbers.
As a sales professional, you need to focus on your results, targets, and other industry metrics. For example, you might reference generated revenue, unit sales, or targets achieved.
Try to be as specific as possible, and quantify your results with stats and facts, as recruiters will digest them better than words because they’re so to-the-point.
Here are some examples of ways to phrase your skills and achievements on your resume:
• Strong product knowledge in chemical and pharmaceutical ingredient sales
• Averaged more than $3 million in annual sales
• Met or exceeded all quotas, resulting in 80% revenue increase over 12 months
Showcasing your results in this way will prove to hiring managers that you’re a talented salesperson worth short-listing for an interview.
Perfect and polish
The last step is to perfect and polish your resume to ensure it’s flawless. In any sales role, the requirement for effective, professional communication is paramount. Your resume must reflect these characteristics.
Take some time to carefully proofread your resume. You can get quite far with Word’s own spell-checker and tools like Grammarly. However, a more human approach is likely to catch all your typos, grammatical errors, and awkward phrasings. For example, writing “our” instead of “out” might be wrong in context, but to a spell-checker it’s correct.
Reading your resume aloud is a great way to quickly identify errors. Also, make sure your resume is proofread by at least two other people to catch every mistake.
In addition to reading well, your resume must also look the part to ensure clean, clear communication. Start by using an easy-to-read font such as Arial or Calibri and signal each section of your resume with a bold heading. Keep your formatting consistent throughout to maintain a professional appearance.
Ultimately, your sales resume is no different than pitching to prospective leads, so it should come as second nature. If you keep your resume up to date with the latest metrics, punchy and persuasive content, and an immaculate finish, there’s no reason it won’t impress your prospective employers.
“In any sales role, the requirement for effective, professional communication is paramount.”