How to Write a Professional Sales Resume

FT Contributor  | 

A career in sales can vary dramatically. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all occupations related to sales was approximately $28,180. However, there are many sales positions that pay twice that amount and even some, such as a sales engineer, that can reach the six figures.

While the field has varied levels of growth and decline, there is always a need for a salesperson in one industry or another. However, in order to get a job in sales, you have to first be able to sell yourself by writing killer cover letters and building a powerful list of references.

Above all, you need to know how to craft a high-quality resume that can get past any applicant tracking systems and then hook the attention of a recruiter more effectively than any sales pitch.

How to Organize a Sales Resume

While there isn’t a formal formatting option for a resume, the following sections are extremely common elements that can help your resume come across as a polished and well-organized representation of your sales qualifications.

Header

You should always start your resume with a simple header including:

  • Your name.
  • Your physical address, phone number, and email address.
  • Any important contact links, such as your LinkedIn or Facebook URLs.

This information should be placed at the top of the document and either left-aligned or centered.

Introduction

Your introduction is the first major section of your resume. This is a brief paragraph that is no more than three or four sentences and is titled “About Me,” “Career Objective,” “Introduction,” or something along those lines.

The content you choose to include must be highly relevant to the sales position. For instance, if you have spent the last decade overseeing a sales engineering team, that should be mentioned in your introduction.

In addition to relevant experience, consider adding career goals that you may have as long as they specifically benefit the company you’re applying to.

Skills

One of the most important areas of your resume is the skills section. This is where you can list soft skills and hard skills — including technical skills. Here are a few hard skills to consider adding to a sales resume:

  • Forecasting.
  • Maximizing sales.
  • Salesforce.
  • Google Suite.

Here are a handful of soft skills that help to bolster a sales resume:

  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Persuasion.
  • Relationship building.
  • Networking.
  • Learning (specifically a company’s products).
  • Negotiation.

As you list out your skills, consider each one and make sure that it is applicable to the position you’re applying for.

Experience

Your experience section should focus on either your sales experience or on experience with the industry in which you’re applying. Format each experience item in the following manner:

  • The organization’s name.
  • Your job title.
  • When you worked.
  • List a few applicable achievements.

If you don’t have significant sales experience, you can put any experience you do have into this section. If it isn’t particularly focused on sales, though, consider moving the entire section below your education section.

Education

In the education segment, list any of your academic achievements. Make sure to lead with those that are the most relevant. You can format each item in the following way:

  • The name of the institution you attended.
  • The name of the degree.
  • The school’s location.
  • The years that you attended school.

Along with traditional academic accomplishments, try to add any extracurricular training or certifications you may have received, such as learning to use Salesforce.

References

Finally, make sure to include a list of references with your application. This should be provided on a separate document to avoid cluttering up your resume with a string of names and dates. Include the following information for each reference:

  • Name.
  • Job title.
  • The company they work for.
  • Phone number.
  • Email address and physical address.

As you choose references, make sure to curate a short but effective list of professional references — such as past coworkers, bosses, and professors. Try to avoid family and friends, as that comes across as unprofessional and biased. 

Sales Resume Writing Tips

Below is a list of small yet effective additional tips to help get the most out of your resume:

  • Always incorporate strong, eye-catching action verbs throughout your resume to help it pop.
  • Be consistent in your tone, voice, grammar, and punctuation as you go.
  • Look for keywords in the job description and then mirror them within your resume.
  • Use a good sales resume sample (like the one provided below) to help guide you — just make sure to add in your own detailed information at every step.

If you can follow these suggestions, you’ll be able to create a resume that’s professional and actively sets you apart from the competition.

Sales Resume Sample

If you’re still hesitating about how to begin writing your resume, the sample below will give you a starting point. Just copy and paste it into a document and then start filling in your own information.

John Doe
456 Mandalorian Drive
Utica, NY, 12345
555-123-4567
johndoe@gmail.com
linkedin.com/john-doe

ABOUT ME

A passionate, sales-savvy individual with five years of experience overseeing a team of sales engineer reps at Centurylink.

SKILLS

Hard skills:

  • Salesforce.
  • Multilingual.

Soft skills:

  • Networking.
  • Negotiation.

EXPERIENCE

Centurylink, Monroe, LA, Senior Sales Engineer, June 2014 – October 2019.

  • Oversaw a team of sales engineer reps.
  • Consistently surpassed sales goals and quotas.
  • Increased territorial client base by 15% per year.

EDUCATION

  • SUNY Buffalo, Associate Degree in Advertising, Buffalo, NY, 2011.
  • Athena High School, high school diploma, Greece, NY, 2009.

Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/