As a Sales Recruiter, I interview hundreds of sales people a year. Most are good at verbalizing what they have done throughout their career but can't necessarily create a resume that reflects that information accurately on paper. Many claim that they have tweaked and rewritten their resumes over and over again with the same results – a resume that is getting them nowhere. The goal of your resume is to open the door of conversation with a hiring manager. Remember the resume is viewed BEFORE the interview takes place. So if the resume falls short, so will your chances of getting an interview.
A resume is not a page full of flowery words but rather a concise story of your accomplishments, skills and experience. A hiring manager should be able to quickly read your resume and conclude that you are worth an interview. Keep it simple and to the point. Don't litter the page with meaningless phrases. Every word counts and if your resume is just a bunch of words with no real meaning your resume will be tossed aside.
Own your job! Do not use words like "assisted" or "supported" unless you worked in a collaborative environment with team goals. These words will give the impression that you shared responsibilities instead of being solely accountable. Hiring managers want to know what you accomplished not what you helped accomplish. This resume is about you, not your team. Replace vague words with specific examples. For example replace "experienced sales manager" with "built and managed an inside sales team of 15 reps who exceeded sales quota every year."
Choose your words wisely and grab the reader's attention! Use dynamic words to describe yourself. As a salesperson, I recommend choosing words like " results driven" and "competitive" verses "people person" and "hard working" when describing yourself. When describing your skills use strong action verbs like: accelerated, executed and expedited. If you are at a loss for words, grab a thesaurus or jump on synonym.com. In addition, use words that are specific to your industry. This will illustrate your familiarity and knowledge within the field and jump out at the reader.
Sales Managers want to see numbers, achievements and % to goals on your resume. Give concrete information and be ready to back it up in the interview. List other awards and other forms of recognition to support your claims. No numbers on a sales resume is usually perceived as no success. Be consistent – use the same font throughout the resume and don't write out the numbers but express them numerically: $13M instead of thirteen million dollars. In addition, be careful to describe past jobs in the past tense and your present job in the present tense.
A couple last words of advice, don't include "References Available upon Request" – Now that's a space filler. Need I say more? Don't add information about your gender, marital status, birth date, and health. This isn't necessary on a resume.
Know what message you are trying to convey to your audience and build your resume around that focus. You are unique and your resume should be as well! Grab the attention of your reader and your calendar will start filling up with job interviews.