As a recruiter for one of the top healthcare consulting companies in the US, whose foundation was built on sales training and coaching, you can believe that I review a lot of sales resumes! I’ve found that sales people might be fabulous at selling a product or service, but not as effective at selling their number one commodity: themselves. Here are a few tweaks that a salesperson can make to their resume that will move it to the top of the stack or at least the top of the search results:
- Make sure to communicate what you are selling and who you are selling to. Sounds basic right? But so many salespeople get caught up in listing every responsibility of the role, they do not add this key piece of information. A busy recruiter doesn’t have time to try to figure it out and may pass over the resume.
- If you are applying to a position similar to your current one, i.e. same industry or same type of sale; write your resume to a reader that understands the job. Try not to write a list of every little thing that you do. Make sure you include some basic industry specific key words (best if you take these right from the job posting). Healthcare sales, enterprise sales, financial services sales, new business development, account management. You don’t have to get too creative because the recruiter will use the most general terms in their search and then drill down.
- This is one of the most important tips on the entire list! Make sure you include some quantifiable results! This is the wow factor that will move you up to the top of the heap. Be honest and list real results. This is what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. “Increased new territory sales 48% in 2 years by bringing in 2 of the largest contracts in company history.” “Grew census from 84% to 97% in 18 months by identifying new referral sources.” A recent candidate sent his resume with a graph showing his year over year revenue growth. I was impressed!
- If your title is confusing, explain it. In their quest to be different, some companies have come up with titles that aren’t clear indicators of the job responsibilities. Recruiters and Hiring Managers want to know what level you are at in your career and if you are in account management, business development or both. “Client Relationship Coordinator/ Business Development Manager” looks better to someone outside your company than the ambiguous “Client Relationship Coordinator”.
- Do your research! This is one of those situations where quality is more important than quantity. Look at the company’s website, LinkedIn page, connect with current employees (or better yet, the hiring manager) on LinkedIn. Try to infuse your resume with some of the same verbiage, but don’t be fake. I am always put off by applicants who have no idea what the company does; and it’s evident by the lack of relevant terms or experience on their resume.
- Think like a hiring manager. If you are a District Sales Manager, or a Regional Sales Manager for a small company, you probably aren’t a strong candidate for a VP of Sales position with a large company. Don’t waste your time on positions significantly outside your realm of expertise and level of experience. However if you are a Regional Sales Manager for a large company, a small corporation might consider you a top candidate for a Director or VP of Sales. Would you hire you? Why? These are the questions that you need to address in your resume.
- Write a compelling cover letter. If you are writing a letter about why your experience is a good match for the requirements of a specific job and company, definitely send this. I have been compelled to contact a candidate that I was going to pass on, because they sent an effective and personal cover letter. If you are using a template that you copied from a career page somewhere, don’t bother.
I hope this will help you get some traction in your job search. It may appear time consuming, and it can be, but your career is worth it. It only takes a second glance from one recruiter or hiring manager to get you to the next step, which is a call to set up your interview. The rest is up to you.
Written by Jodi Bach, Senior Recruiter, at Bild and Company.