How to Write a Winning Sales Résumé

You need to have a results-oriented document that quantifies achievement.

By + More

Ritika Trikha.jpg
Ritika Trikha
Not all résumés are equal. When a recruiter or hiring manager is looking at a sales résumé, her eyes naturally search for several must-have key elements that are unique to only the sales field. If she doesn't see them, it's into the "no" pile you go.

If you pick up a résumé of any top sales candidate, you wouldn't spend any time searching for the important stuff—results, achievements and notable awards—because it would be front and center. In theory, having a results-oriented résumé is a given. You probably already knew that. But how do you put this theory into practice? Check out these practical tips for sales superstars:

1. Hiring managers want to see numbers. It's simple. Numbers are easier to scan than words. Try to quantify everything that you've done and achieved. For instance, any great sales résumé will have some sort of variation of this:

  • Increased revenue by 10% in 3 months
  • Achieved 110% of quota each quarter
  • Remember to contextualize your quantification. In other words, just stating "generated $5,000" doesn't really tell the employer if that's above or below your goal.

    2. Hiring managers want to see awards. Awards set sales candidates apart. Make sure you include your awards above the fold, under each of your positions. Awards like President's Club, Achiever Club or Stock Option Award don't belong buried at the bottom of your résumé. Bring them up top so they can shine.

    3. Hiring managers don't care about your summary. It's nice to have one, but it shouldn't be a giant block of text acting as a barrier between your potential employer and your impressive achievements. Get to the point.

    "Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the summary section because I don't think it's as important as the accomplishments," says Marie Cravey, executive recruiter at CyberCoders. "But if you're going to include a summary, make it concise and interesting." One or two sentences max.

    4. What did you sell, who did you sell it to, and how much did you sell? When you get down to brass tacks, these are the three answers that any recruiters needs to know from your résumé. Don't make them work for it. Make it clear.

    One way to clarify what you sold is to include a company tag line underneath the name of your company. "Many great candidates simply include the company's official branded tagline under the company name," Cravey says.

    Make sure you include both your clients and quantifiable results in the job description so that recruiters can easily figure out whom you sold to and how much.

    5. Hiring managers care about company reputation. If you worked for or sold to a Fortune 500 company, for instance, make sure the company name comes before your job title. It doesn't matter how senior you may be—your company is going to make a bigger impression for sales managers.

    Plus, they want to see whom you sold to. If some of your past clients include big names, include them in the job description. Many sales managers use an application tracking system to search for specific, reputable companies. If you include your prestigious clients, that manager will find you.

    6. Move most impressive achievements to the top and the left. Don't stick to any traditional résumé format. Education does not have to be first. In fact, many sales managers are much more interested in your previous results and awards than where you graduated from. Numbers count.

    If you've worked at a big-named company, figure out a way to bring it to the top. Condense the rest of your résumé to showcase your most impressive attributes.

    And never include dates on the right. Hiring managers' eyes are naturally drawn to the left. Maximize that space for your company and job title.

    Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, and salary information.