As a prospective sales representative, your resume faces extra high expectations. You’re going to be expected to show off your sales skills by creating a resume that sells you as a candidate. That’s why you need to really put in the extra effort. After all, who’s going to hire a sales rep who can’t sell their own skills and experience?
But before you panic, read this guide. We’ve taken years of sales and professional resume writing experience and put it all together for you. This guide will walk you through the entire process of creating a sales representative resume from deciding on formatting to final review.
This guide will show you:
- How to take ideas and inspiration from expert-crafted sales resume examples
- How to understand your audiences and sell your resume to them
- The ideal formatting and length
- Which sections are most effective for sales
- How to include training and certifications
- Which hard and soft skills employers are looking for
- How to highlight your achievements for maximum impact
- Whether you should include an objective or summary (with examples of how to write each)
- How to write a sales resume with little or no experience
- How a great sales representative resume stands out
- Techniques for reviewing and polishing your resume
- Why a builder is the ideal tool for creating your resume
- And more!
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s start with some inspiration to help you overcome the intimidation of getting started.
Sales Representative Resume Templates
There’s no getting around it, starting to create a new resume is intimidating. Whether you’re an experienced sales representative or just getting into the career, you know your resume has to prove you’ve got sales skills to spare. But what does a successful sales resume look like?
We’ve chosen these examples to get you started. Try putting yourself in a recruiter's shoes and evaluate each one to see what it does well and what you would change. In short, ask yourself whether this resume really sold the candidate to you.
Take notes as you go so when you’re ready to start, you’ve already got a whole list of ideas to begin with.
How to write a sales representative resume that will get your phone ringing
Once you’ve reviewed some sales representative resume examples, it’s time to begin creating your own. But before you start writing down your experience, skills, and achievements, you need to understand your audience. Starting without that would be like starting to sell a product before you had any idea who your potential buyers were. “Buyer intent” is just as important in resumes, so let’s dive into who you need to appeal to.
Begin by studying who you’re “selling” your resume to
The basic question far too few people ask when creating a resume is: who is this for? If the answer is “all the companies where I want to work”, then you may want to reconsider. Just like a great sales pitch, a great resume has to be tailored both to the specific person (and algorithm) and to the specific company. Let’s review how to do that.
How to sell to ATS
You’re probably wondering what on earth ATS is. It stands for Applicant Tracking System. These are systems employers use to automatically read through and evaluate huge numbers of resumes to save their recruiters time. But for applicants like you, it means the first hurdle your resume is likely going to have to pass is getting past an algorithm.
So how do ATS resume scanners work? While there are dozens on the market and each works a bit differently, they generally use natural language processing (a type of artificial intelligence) to analyze your resume’s text. They look for specific skills and experience to determine whether your resume is good enough to pass along to a recruiter.
For example, if the job required 5 years of sales experience, an ATS will try and weed out all of the resumes that don’t meet that criteria. That said, there are still a few crucial tricks to make sure your resume gets through.
So how can you ensure you get past ATS?
- Submit an ATS-friendly resume. Most ATS scanners are optimized for .doc, .docx, and .pdf files. So if you create a beautiful looking resume that’s an image or some other strange file format, it’s probably never going to get seen by anyone. That said, not all files are created equal. It’s best to use an ATS-optimized resume builder which structures the data on your resume so it’s easily readable.
- Make sure you match the job ad requirements as closely as possible. If you phrase your skills or experience in an unconventional way, it’s possible that an ATS might not realize what you’re trying to communicate. Like any good salesperson, you should use language your target customers are most likely to understand and appreciate.
- Only apply to positions, where you meet or exceed the minimum requirements. With ATS so prevalent in hiring, taking the time to craft a resume for a position that asks for more than your experience might be a wasted effort. That said, smaller firms are much less likely to use ATS, so it may be worth applying there if you think you’d still make a great candidate.
How to sell to recruiters
Once you’ve made it past an ATS, you still need to impress a recruiter. Fortunately, you’re probably used to selling to humans, so this is time to show off those skills.
The main way you can sell to a recruiter is to make their job easy. Sorting through piles of resumes trying to find the right candidate is hard. Knowing that hiring a great sales representative and hiring a poor one can have a huge impact adds more stress. So imagine how wonderful it is when a recruiter stumbles on a resume that’s easy to read and has experience and skills that obviously match the job requirements.
Your job is to provide that experience. Make it as easy as possible for a recruiter to say “yes” to your resume. One good bit of news is that the work you put into optimizing your resume for ATS also helps it appeal to recruiters. But the other suggestions we’ll be making throughout this guide will also help.
Overall, always be sure to keep the recruiter at the front of your mind. They’re ultimately the person who will likely make the decision to hire you. The more your sales representative resume is tailored to them, the more effective it will be.
Why tailoring to a specific company matters
Tied in to appealing to recruiters is making sure your resume is tailored for the specific company and position. After reading about how to sell to ATS and recruiters, it should be clear why sending an identical resume to every job offer doesn’t work. You want to look like you belong at a specific company.
That could mean using company coloring on your resume, or looking at social media posts by the company to see what kind of activities they do on team buildings. Then, you can try including hobbies and interests that demonstrate culture fit. Again, by doing this you make it even easier for a recruiter to say “yes” to your resume. As a nice side benefit, you’re also clearly showing that you’re an outstanding salesperson.
The best formatting for a sales representative resume
You’re not going to start a sales pitch in the middle. So if your resume is like a sales pitch, you need to control the order that information is taken in. That starts with understanding how you should present information about yourself.
Which sections belong at the top?
Too many sales representative resumes take the most valuable resume real estate (the header) and fill it with information like their street address. But your address is not what’s most likely to persuade a recruiter that you’re the ideal candidate for a sales job.
Instead, this space should focus on highly-impactful information. Your best bet will be a resume objective or summary (more on how to write those below).
After that, your work experience should also follow the same principle. That means using reverse chronological order, putting your most recent experience at the top, because it’s the most relevant.
How long should a sales representative resume be?
Once again, your audience should be your guiding light here. In general, recruiters want your resume to be as short and concise as possible. Imagine reading dozens of resumes a day and it’ll become obvious why. That’s why you need to use your sales skills to pack in information, while making sure it’s still easy to read.
In other words, one page is ideal. Two pages might be okay if you’re an experienced sales representative with tons of relevant information to include. The easiest way to shorten your resume is to look at each section or piece of information and ask yourself if it adds value to your resume. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
What sections belong in a sales representative resume?
Now that you’ve gotten a sense of how to format your resume, which sections should you include? Here’s a list of sections you should consider adding:
- Resume objective
- Resume summary
- Work experience
- Hard skills
- Soft Skills
How to include training and certifications on a sales representative resume
While certifications are less important in the sales world than in many other industries, they still play an important role. They show self-motivation and a desire to improve your sales skills. For sales representatives with less work experience, they can also even the playing field by making up for that. In either case, a sales certification is never going to hurt.
When adding a certification, follow this simple format and list the certification followed by the organization which granted it and the year you obtained it.
Certified Inside Sales Professional, AA-ISP, 2012
Which certifications should you include on your sales representative resume?
The top 5 sales certifications according to job site research are:
- Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP)
- Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP)
- Certified Sales Leadership Professional (CSLP)
- Hubspot Inbound Sales
- RISE Up Sales
How to choose which hard and soft skills to include
In so many ways, sales success comes down to skills. But simply listing “sales” as a skill is not exactly going to persuade a recruiter you’re the best candidate. After all, you wouldn’t simply tell a prospect that your product is superior and then not offer any details or proof.
To effectively convey your skills you need specific examples. For example, compare these two skills:
“Generated 15 qualified SaaS B2B sales leads per day using Lumio.”
It’s not always that simple though. Remember that ATS often wants you to be specific about your skills, so it might want “lead generation” to be on your resume. You can include the details in a subsection or elsewhere on your resume. However you go about it, being specific conveys confidence and results.
The best hard skills for a sales representative resume
- Knowledge of the specific product or service you’ll be selling
- Lead qualification
- Lead prospecting
- Customer needs analysis
- CAC and MRR optimization
- CRM software (be specific, for example Salesforce or Hubspot)
- Project management
The best soft skills for a sales representative resume
- Networking and relationship building
- Time management
- Active listening
- Public speaking
- Client nurturing
- Critical thinking
- Relationship building
- Problem solving
How to highlight your sales achievements
When it comes to sales representatives, recruiters want to see achievements. They want to know how many leads you generated, how many sales you made, what your MoM growth was, etc. A sales resume without any specific achievements like this is going to look weak, unless it’s clear you’re just getting into sales for the first time (more on that later).
Let’s look at some examples to see how:
“Successfully increased sales”
Sure, increasing sales is great, but when it’s phrased this vaguely, it loses its impact. The reader doesn’t know if sales went up by $1 or $100,000. Now let’s see how that could be phrased better:
“Increased MoM sales 18% by revenue between January and March 2019.”
This tells the recruiter exactly what they need to know. It also indicates that you’re the kind of sales representative, who knows how to employ information to make a sale. When you’re listing your achievements under your work history, this is how they should be phrased, whenever possible.
How to highlight non-work achievements
If you have some sales-relevant achievements that occurred outside of a job, a separate “achievements” section is a great place to include them. This is particularly useful when you have little or no previous formal sales experience (more on that below).
Should you add an objective or summary to your sales representative resume?
As previously mentioned, one of the most effective ways to begin a sales representative resume is with an objective or summary section. The difference between these two is in length and purpose. A resume objective is usually only about a sentence long and simply states what you aim to achieve with this application/resume.
A resume summary is more of a short paragraph and comes in handy when you need to give additional context about something on your resume. For example, if there’s a gap in your work history or if you’re looking to change careers. In these cases, a resume summary works like a cover letter and gives you space to make your pitch to a recruiter. Here are some examples to show how each should be written:
Sales representative resume objective examples and tips
“Experienced salesperson looking to obtain a sales representative position.”
A great resume objective will be brief but packed with useful information. This example is brief, but doesn’t tell a recruiter anything useful. “Experienced’ is too vague and the fact that you’re looking to be hired as a sales representative is already clear. This objective just wastes time.
“CISP Certified with 4 years experience in B2B software sales, looking to obtain a sales representative position at ABC Software.”
This example is longer, but it makes up for it in information density. In one sentence a recruiter has a clear idea of why you might be a great candidate for this position. It also tells them that you customized this resume for the specific company.
Sales representative resume summary examples and tips
“I’ve been working in sales for years and have gained the ample experience necessary to thrive in this position. In particular, my strong sales record, negotiating abilities, and diligence will be a great addition to your sales team. I am open to answering any questions you might have and look forward to hearing from you.”
This summary makes a few key mistakes. First, you don’t want to refer to yourself in the first person on your resume summary. Next, it makes the same mistake as the objective above in being too vague. “For years,” “strong sales record,” etc. only hint at accomplishments that should be spelled out. It also gives information that’s obvious, like the last sentence, and overall doesn’t convey confidence.
“Friendly yet persuasive sales representative with 3 years experience selling B2C software licenses for CBA Software. Consistently exceeds sales targets by an average of 12% over the past 12 months. Looking to grow into a more senior sales role while gaining valuable B2B sales experience at ABC Software.”
The latter example tells a story with specific information and a clear motive for applying. This example really adds to the resume by providing context that wouldn’t fit well anywhere else (like the B2C to B2B move). Now, when that recruiter reads your resume, they’ll have this general information about you in mind.
How should you write a sales representative resume with little or no experience?
The good news here is that it’s much easier to teach someone with some natural sales ability than deal with an experienced, but underperforming salesperson. So, focus on showing you have sales-relevant skills. This can be done in an achievements section, if the examples behind those skills aren’t from a job, or in your job history.
Certifications are another fantastic way to stand out when you have less experience. Even noting that you’re actively pursuing a sales relevant certification will go a long way towards showing a recruiter that you’re a candidate worth taking seriously.
What makes a sales representative resume stand out?
To understand how to make your sales resume stand out, let’s go through all the things you want a recruiter to notice:
- The design: after a long day going through resumes that are either dull black and white affairs or visually intense design disasters, you want your resume to be clean and easy to read. Trust us, recruiters’ eyes will appreciate it.
- A clear and attention grabbing header: with the first glance at the top information, a resume objective or summary should quickly give the recruiter a sense of your resume. Now, without having to read through the whole thing, they know whether your application is worth considering.
- Skills and experience that match the job ad: once a recruiter starts reading the rest of your resume, they will be relieved if it’s easy to see that you match the requirements.
- Well-written content overall: as the recruiter keeps reading, there are no sentences with mistakes or or ones that require them to re-read to understand what you were trying to say.
We’ve discussed how to accomplish the first three things, now let’s see what you can do to ensure the 4th.
How should you review your sales resume before sending it out?
Sending a resume with spelling errors or sloppy writing is just as unacceptable as sending a sales proposal with those mistakes. You’ll be expected to demonstrate that you’re diligent about your writing on your resume. That’s why you should always carefully review your resume before sending it.
This can be done by a friend you trust (ideally someone with some sales experience). But, if a person like that isn’t available, you can also do it yourself. One trick is to review all of your information backwards. When reading your own writing, you tend to go quickly and miss mistakes. But reading your resume backwards forces you to slow down, making it more likely you’ll catch mistakes.
How Resumebuild.com’s builder makes creating the perfect sales representative resume easy
There are a lot of things your sales representative resume needs to get right. This guide is designed to make it as easy as possible to do that, but the last missing piece is the right resume builder. Resumebuild.com’s easy-to-use builder takes the guesswork out of the process. It has a wide selection of expertly-curated resume templates and guides like this to walk you through how to fill them out.
Then, your resume is saved, making it easy to come back and improve it or to customize it for new opportunities. There’s a reason resume builders are quickly becoming the new standard. A tired old .docx file just isn’t going to cut it anymore and that custom resume your friend built you in photoshop will never make it past ATS.
With Resumebuild, you can be sure your resume will be beautiful, ATS-optimized, and ready to show that you’ve got what it takes to excel in your next sales representative role.
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