How to Write an Amazing Sales Resume
As someone who has worked with sales professionals extensively, I have had a significant amount of experience creating and drafting resumes for clients, ranging from BDRs to CROs. That said, resumes represent the first impression and need to be on point if you want employers to consider your candidacy. So, let's go through some ways to optimize yours.
Open with a Professional Summary! The Professional Summary is your 'elevator sales' pitch. It is your opportunity to sell yourself as a prospective candidate and input crucial keywords. This should contain key accomplishments and fundamental career information (skills, value, metrics, education, sales methodologies, etc.).
The section should be anywhere from three to five lines. You will bore the recruiter or hiring manager if it is any longer. That's saying they decide to read it. But chances are, they won't because it's a massive block of intimidating and needless text.
You may have heard these don't get read regardless, but they do when they are written to capture attention, not filled with purposefully vague nonsense. Write with this in mind, and focus on bringing meaningful attention to your career and accomplishments instead of filling it with clichés like motivated, seasoned, results-oriented, and innovative.
Nonsense: Value-driven change agent and growth-focused thought leader with a proven talent for aligning business strategy and objectives with business paradigms.
Attention Grabbing: VP of Sales with five years' experience creating scalable sales ecosystems that multiply revenue, including tripling ($7M - $21M) at Company in two years.
Simple Keyword Swapping
The resume skills section is a great way to ensure you tailor your resume to the position and include the proper keywords. Be sure to refer to the posting when creating this section! It is also an effortless way to swap keywords without changing your resume extensively.
While recruiters do not put a lot of value in these sections, they are beneficial for keyword-driven searches. That said, don't list every skill, ability, certificate, award, and mildly impressive fact you have, as this list is meant to be short to highlight KEY areas. Keep the section between six and twelve keywords and focus on skills like Salesforce, Sales Process Refinement, Team Building, Revenue Generation, MEDDPICC, Territory Planning, etc.
This is where the recruiter will look the most carefully. The content is most likely to determine if you're a qualified candidate for the role. The professional experience section tells the recruiter what roles you have had, who you worked for when you worked for them, and what you did. It should include:
Dates of Employment
Major Duties and Accomplishments
Remember to include accomplishments! Every industry and vertical has different metrics for achievement, so know exactly where and how you made these contributions and why they're relevant to the position you're hoping to attain.
As a sales professional, I'm sure you know how vital results, metrics, and KPIs are. You can consider referring to revenue generated, quota percentage hit/exceeded, meetings booked, upsell and cross-sell figures, ramp-up time, etc. In fact, dive into your CRM and snoop around, compare notes with your team, or ask your Head of Sales Operations for some key figures. (Only partially kidding about the last one).
Be specific and quantify your results with stats and context. It is one thing to say you generated $1.5M in sales in 2021, but if your team's quota was a third of that, and the rest of your team barely hit it, it may be worth remarking on. Also, providing additional context can be ideal for adding keywords as you can add specific ways or reasons you achieved something that are related to sales. This will also help paint a more vivid picture of how you accomplished the goal. For example:
Generated $6M in topline revenue for consumer vertical by securing new accounts, building pipeline and lead generator, and creating new business processes.
Consider using one of these two methods when writing your accomplishments!
First, the PAR Method, which stands for problem, action, and results and looks like this:
Boosted stagnant revenue growth by creating an effective operating cadence spanning all GTM teams that generated $12M net new ARR in 2021 (+77% YoY).
Note: Don't actually use bold, italics, and underlines when including bullets like this in your resume. I was showing the problem, action, and result!
A Google recruiter popularized the second method: Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z]. Or the XYZ method. As an example:
Generated $12M net new ARR (+77% YoY) in 2021 by creating an effective operating cadence spanning Sales, Marketing, CS, and RevOps.
Of the two, I prefer the second, as it frontend loads the bullet and demands attention. However, there are cases when the PAR method reads or works better. In either case, the idea is to be explicit about your achievements and give details about how you hit your goal.
It will help if you proofread your resume at least three times. Here are some editing tips to help you ace your spelling and grammar:
→ Use Online Resources: Some sites provide free spelling, grammar, and writing help. A few that I recommend to my clients are Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and Slick Write. These can be helpful as MS Word doesn't always catch spelling errors, contextual errors, and grammar issues. Think 'led vs. lead.' Bear in mind that these programs can also point out 'issues' that are fine. To offset this, ensure you review each prompt and proceed with what is accurate.
→ Read It Out Loud: This will force you to slow down and process your writing.
→ Walk Away: If you're not in a rush to submit your resume, take a few days after writing it to go back and review it. This way, your brain will process what you wrote, not what you thought you wrote.
Some more tips:
1. Consider asking your friends, family, professional network, or Top Prospect Careers, for a resume review. Probably, TPC as we can give you some actionable and incisive advice.
2. Be Honest (Don't lie on your resume). It can be tempting to inflate figures but don't do it. Instead include information that emphasizes the impact you've had. If you didn't hit quota but trained a sales team and had a rapid ramp-up time, discuss that!
Hire a Professional. If you're still unsatisfied with your resume, give us a shout!
To conclude, whether you're an SDR or VP of sales, your resume is a way to pitch yourself. If it is full of accomplishments, metrics, and sleek content, you will land the interviews you want and get the opportunities you deserve.
PS: This advice is good for pretty much every sales role. Account Representative, Enterprise Sales Representative, Inside Salesperson, Outside Sales Representative, Territory Sales Representative, Account Manager, Business Development Manager, Inside Sales Manager, National Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Territory Sales Manager, Business Development Representative, Sales Coordinator, Account Executive, Channel Partner Sales Executive, Corporate Sales Account Executive, Key Account Manager, Regional Sales Executive, Director of Inside Sales, Director of Sales, Executive Vice President of Sales, Vice President of Sales, CRO, Chief Sales Officer. The list goes on.