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Resumes Writing Tips for Sales Professionals


No more one-page resumes
Bullets, not paragraphs
Quantify your accomplishments
Show your success
Clarity is key
Objective or Summary
Explain the gaps


No more one-page resumes

  • The idea of the one-page resume is history.
  • What has replaced the one-page resume is the skill's list. The more skills/qualifications you possess, the longer it should be, as long as it is not more than one page.
  • List your major skills/accomplihments: Awards, made quota 10 consecutive years, calls on CEOs, etc.
  • You might not get to your work history until the second page.
  • They used to say that employers look at resumes as if they were passing a billboard on the interstate. This is no longer true, especially since the market for talent is extremely competitive. Therefore, a list of highlights, skills, accomplishments and/or qualifications will give an employer an indication of your skills before he/she goes through the entire resume.
  • This is like a table of contents for the resume; it encourages the reader to read on.
  • If your resume exceeds three pages, it is imperative that you have a qualification highlights section. Again, because employers must go through so many resumes, it is very easy to skip over unreadable ones.
  • Your first page might contain the following
    • Contact information
    • Brief objective/career goals
    • Two-line summary
    • List of qualifications/skills

  • You should only have a one-page resume if you are right out of school, or you have a short work history. In fact, if you do not have a degree and you have limited work history, it might be best to limit your resume to one page.


Bullets, not paragraphs

  • Long paragraphs are nothing but clutter on a resume. If writing a summary or objective, keep it to two sentences at the most.
  • Paragraphs make it difficult to see the main ideas or key points on a resume. Lots of white space is good.


Quantify your accomplishments

  • Hiring managers want to see numbers - numbers are indicators of success.
  • Quotas: increased quota by 187%.
  • Sales increases: Acheived 40% increase in sales.
  • If you have had positions where you missed quota, it is important to pull out all of the positives.
  • Averaged sales of $400K per month.
  • Number 1 salesperson for 1999.  Consistently one of the top 3 salespeople in the company.
  • Closed a $3MM deal with Exxon.


Show your success

  • You are a Sales Professional.  Sell yourself!
  • For each job you list, it is important to highlight your successes.
  • As stated in the previous section, quantifying your accomplishments will clarify your success.  However, it is also important to mention whether you received any honors or awards.  Did you close any major accounts?  Did you receive any promotions, etc.?


Clarity is key - These are important questions that should be answered on a resume.

  • What products or services do you sell?  Hardware, software, consulting, electronics, etc.
  • What industry are you in?  IT, telecommunication, consulting services, etc.
  • Do you sell to any verticals?  Healthcare, government, automotive, etc.
  • Who are your clients?  GE, Coca Cola, State of Missouri, AT&T, etc.
  • Do you have a specific territory?  Texas, East Coast, National, Latin America, etc.
  • Who do you meet with?  CFO, Executives, VPs, Directors, users, purchasing managers, etc.
  • What are your quotas?



Put your education at the end of your resume, unless you are fresh out of school and you are applying for an entry-level position, if the position is academic-related (in which case the emphasis is on your education).


Objective or Summary

  • The philosophy is changing with respect to objective statements.  Many resume experts are saying it is not necessary to have an objective on your resume.  Instead, you should have a summary of your accomplishments or a highlight of the skills you bring to the table.
  • However, if you feel like you need an objective on your resume, it should identify what you want to do with clear and precise wording; it should identify what you want to do with clear and precise wording.
  • For example:

    •  To sell enterprise-wide software solutions.

    •  A senior level account executive position selling enterprise-wide software solutions.

  • Refrain from being vague, lofty or ambiguous.
  • The reader should be able to ascertain what it is you want to do. This helps identify whether or not you are a fit for the position.


Explain the Gaps

There will undoubtedly be gaps in many peoples' resumes. These gaps must be explained at some point or other. In some instances, however, it may be appropriate to explain it in a cover letter. The bottom line is, that it must be in writing.

  • If gaps are less than 2 months, there is no need to explain on the resume.

  • Longer gaps must have an explanation. Whether you had heart surgery or were unemployed might make a difference.

  • If you were unemployed, that must be explained as well.

  • As long as you are honest with the reader of the resume, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Don't cover up the gaps by omitting the months of employment, you'll have to explain it eventually, and then you look like a liar.

  • If you are worried no one will look at your resume because you have gaps, it will definitely get passed-over if they are not explained.

  • You do not need to fill in the gaps with places of employment if they are not relevant to your career objectives. However, you will need to explain why you were not employed in your area. Again, it may be best to explain the gaps in a cover letter.


Please send your comments to Marc.