Hi, I’m Alex! I’ve been working in sales for innovative startups like SoftBank Robotics as well as large corporations like NBC Universal for years. Now, I work as an industry mentor at Pathrise to help people land great sales jobs through workshops and 1-on-1 mentorship. Check out my article so you can optimize your sales resume.
With so many rapidly growing startups and big companies that are looking to stand out, sales positions are in high demand. That means there is a lot of competition, especially for new grad and early career positions. You need to make sure your sales resume is as strong as possible.
Think about your job search the same way you would go about working on a campaign or pitch. You would not want to begin talking to people until you have established your audience and determined what they want. While this might take time, it makes a big impact in the long run. You should spend time looking at the job description and tailoring your resume (within reason) to match. In addition, look at the types of roles you are interested in and highlight those elements in your statements, skill section, and keywords.
Our mentors have looked over thousands of resumes, as both interviewers and mentors, and here are their tips and secrets to make sure your sales resume stands out.
The two major mistakes on sales resumes and how to avoid them:
Mistake 1 – Grunt vs. impact
Grunt refers to resume statements that only talk about what you were assigned and the tasks you did. These points are not helpful for recruiters and hiring managers who want to know why you are a good fit. Grunt statements are sometimes a necessary evil, but should always try to be avoided. They usually look something like ‘Wrote X for Y’ or ‘Worked on X using Y’.
Instead, we always tell our fellows to optimize their resumes by making use of…
Impact statements. These focus on what you have accomplished and the results you achieved. They are typically a bit longer and follow a structure like ‘Accomplished X by implementing Y which led to Z’ or ‘Produced X to achieve Y, resulting in Z’. They are important because they explain why your work had meaning and why the recruiter or hiring manager should care.
Mistake 2 – Lack of quantification
We know it might feel hard to find numbers to quantify projects that haven’t been launched, or might not have gotten the results you desired, but if you ask the right questions, you can quantify your work so that interviewers understand the impact. Here are some questions that you can ask to help you quantify your work.
What was the scale?
- How many people did I manage or how many teams did I act as a liaison for?
- Did I do any user research? If so, how much?
- How many campaigns did I create or work on?
- How many people did I reach out to?
What did I achieve as a result?
- How many new customers did I get?
- What did the campaigns achieve?
- How much money did I produce in value?
Top 5 tips to make your marketing resume stand out
- Use a modern font
Sans serif fonts (fonts without the feet) are more modern-looking. We always recommend them for sales resumes, especially if you are looking for roles in tech. When you use these fonts, you send a good first impression.
- Keep color minimal
Colors can help draw the eye to important parts of your resume, but you want to make sure that you use colors professionally. Only use one color and don’t overdo it. Stick with cool colors like blues, greens, purples, and teal and avoid warm colors like red because they can feel too aggressive.
- Readability is key
Your resume needs to be readable and that is the most important aspect of formatting. Don’t use more than 2 columns and never use white or light-colored text. Avoid images, funky bullets, or anything else that can take away from the content of your resume.
- Highlight important keywords
Recruiters and hiring managers are spending only seconds looking at your resume. Make it as easy as possible for them to see why you are right for the role by emphasizing the keywords that matter most. If you are applying for a position that requires certain skills, knowledge of tools, or programs, ensure that they are easy to pick out. If you can, tailor your resume for each specific job.
- Always add context
A frequent mistake that we see on applicants’ resume is that they don’t provide enough context to their work. When talking about the work you’ve done, make sure to include the important keywords, but also tell the story and purpose.
Here’s an example of a resume statement that we made more effective using the above suggestions.
Bad: Found leads and interacted with candidates in sales funnel
Good: Spearheaded creation and management of sales funnel, including sourcing 915 leads, nurturing 450 qualified leads, resulting in 250 new customers and over $1 million in revenue.
Reasons why the second sentence is better:
- “Spearheaded” is a stronger intro word
- Specific description of the work done, including quantification
- Shows impact of leads generated
- Quantifies worth in dollars
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With these tips and guidance, our fellows have seen triple the number of responses to their job applications.
If you want to work with any of our mentors 1-on-1 to optimize your sales resume or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.