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Sales Skills Needed to Land a Great Job

Hi, I’m Alex! I’ve been working in sales for innovative startups like SoftBank Robotics and large corporations like NBC Universal for years. Now, I work as an industry mentor at Pathrise. I help people land great sales jobs through workshops and 1-on-1 mentorship. Check out my article about sales skills you should master.

Looking for a job can be frustrating. That’s why you want to make sure your resume and online profiles are as strong as possible before you begin applying. Sometimes, this means taking online courses, reading books, and learning new skills that are important to success in your field. 

The reasoning? Recruiters only give resumes a 6 second first glance on average. Therefore, you need to make sure that your resume is easily scannable and your skills jump out at the reader. Generally, we suggest including a standalone skills section to make this as easy as possible for recruiters to see. For more sales resume tips and a downloadable template, check out our guide.

But, what skills are important to include? To start, you should take a look at the job description. Then, make sure you match what they put (while remaining honest). Use the same language that they use. For example, if your resume says “Salesforce suite” and the job description just lists “Pardot,” change your resume for that position to include the actual word “Pardot.” Oftentimes, recruiters and applicant-tracking systems (ATS) are looking for direct matches, so help yourself out when you can.

Besides what is listed on the job description, there are a fair number of other skills that you should include, or learn and then include, on your resume. We have helped hundreds of people land great jobs, so we wanted to compile this list to help you know what sales skills are important for success in the role.

Sales skills needed to find a great job

1. Research 

To be successful in sales, you need to start with a lot of research. Not only do you need to be an absolute expert on your product and field, but also you need to know everything you can about your competition. Finally, you need to do research to find your audience for outreach, understand their needs and goals, and determine how you can best reach them. Knowledge of tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator,, and FindThatLead will further show recruiters and hiring managers that you are a good researcher.

2. Organization and time management

When you are reaching out and interacting with many different people, organization is extremely important because you need to make sure you are keeping your communication and relationships clean. You will spend a lot of time following up with leads that are growing cold or people that need more time, so organizing your inbox, tasks, and time is crucial. 

3. Communication

In order to be successful in a sales role, you need strong written and verbal communication skills. Writing emails, making calls, following up in the right way, clearly explaining products, and answering questions are all key components of making a sale. Show that you can succinctly explain your work and experience on your resume by writing strong, action-oriented statements. Treat all of your email correspondence with the company like sales interactions. Finally, when you interview, avoid rambling and using filler words.

4. Motivation, grit, and a growth mindset

Working in sales, you hear the word “no” a lot. Being able to pick yourself up after rejections is an important skill for success in the field. In addition, there will be a fair amount of new information you will need to learn when you join a team. Therefore, showcasing your growth mindset and love of gaining new knowledge will help recruiters and hiring managers know you are a fit for the position. You can highlight this by explaining what you have learned at previous positions both in your skills section and in your resume statements and interviews.

5. Resourcefulness and creativity

How can you be better than the sales people around you? You need to show that your work is personalized, out-of-the-box, and exceptional. Highlight your ability to be creative in your outreach and daily work through your resume statements and knowledge of skills and tools that might be out of the realm of sales, like Canva for creating high-quality images and designs or Mailchimp for sending stronger emails. Then, use these skills in your interactions with the company. Take time to “prospect” the recruiter or hiring manager on LinkedIn and include what you have learned in your outreach. Show them why you are the best person for the role.

If you have these sales skills on your resume, you should be able to move forward to the interview process where you can demonstrate them even further. 

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with any of our mentors 1-on-1 to help you land a great sales job, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

Alex Immel

Alex Immel is one of Pathrise's leading negotiation consultants.

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