If you want your sales resume to make the final cut to land you an interview for your dream sales job–whether that is an inside or outside sales or as a hunter or farmer sales representative–it is time to let go of outdated rules.
Time for a Sales Resume Makeover
Making over your sales resume using updated resume writing best practices will improve your job search results. It will ensure you get past the computerized applicant tracking systems (ATS), and more importantly that you will “wow” the person on the other end of that ATS when the cut is made, narrowing down the candidates to bring in for an interview.
A good makeover will give your resume a facelift, improving eye appeal and making it easier to read. The best makeovers will also take your resume content to the next level, compelling the reader to pick up the phone and call you for an interview, because you so clearly understand their needs and have the proven ability to meet them.
How can you make over your sales resume in this way? Here are 5 easy changes that you can implement today.
#1: Be Clear About Your Resume Focus:
Do NOT include an objective statement. Objective statements are a thing of the past. However, the moment an employer picks up your resume, they must understand who you are, what you offer, and how you fit in their organization. How do you do this without an objective statement? Easy. Include a headline and possibly a sub-headline as the very first content on your resume following your name and contact information. A few examples:
#2 Include Results
Understand that an employer is making an investment when they hire you. Your sales resume must clearly and convincingly demonstrate how you will deliver a higher return on investment (ROI) than your competitors for that same job. Most employers are seeking ROI from their sales employees in terms of higher revenue, cost savings, efficiency or productivity increases, customer service improvements, etc. Fill your resume with quantified examples that illustrate how you have produced results in the past.
#3 Keywords are Essential
Keywords and key phrases are important, but the need for a separate keyword resume is another rule from the past. Assume every sales resume you send out will be put into an ATS and should be infused with keywords. In order to make it through the ATS into the hands of a human reader, your resume must include the keywords that are most essential in your targeted type of job.
Bonus tip: Find 6-12 job announcements for positions that match your target. Using a highlighter, go through each of them and highlight the terms describing the required and desired qualifications for the positions. These are the terms that will be used when searching the ATS for candidates. Make sure these terms are included within the text of your resume.
Consider including a summary of qualifications to work important keywords into your sales resume
Write a keyword-rich summary section for the beginning of your resume
Using keywords and key phrases to categorize your sales accomplishments is another good way to include more keywords in your resume
#4 Don’t Date Yourself Unnecessarily
As a rule of thumb, when describing your experience, focus on the most recent 10-15 years. Avoid including dates on your resume that are more than 20 years in the past. Experience older than that is almost always less relevant, but if you have a strategic reason for including it, include a brief description without dates.
Just a simple statement of older experience, presented without dates, as shown in this sales resume, is all that is necessary.
#5 Enhance Eye Appeal
The need for a separate “scannable” resume is another rule from the past that many people are happy to hear is no longer necessary. Applicant tracking systems are far more sophisticated than they used to be and can handle most design elements with ease. The ATS will skip over any graphic elements you have included, such as a chart or callout box and just move on to the text. This gives you great flexibility in designing your resume to improve its appearance and readability. Selective bolding or italics, strategically applied white space, discriminate use of shading, graphic lines, and bullets are all readable by today’s modern ATS and will greatly enhance the visual appeal of your resume.
Callout boxes and tables for long lists of numbers are good ways to improve resume eye appeal
Charts and graphs are another great way to improve the eye appeal of your sales resume