Salespeople typically hate to write. That fact is generally quite evident in their resumes, most of which are poorly written, poorly designed, and reveal very little of substance. Taking just four to five hours of your time to write a quality resume could net you an extra $250,000 in your lifetime earnings.
The sales resume is usually one of the easiest to write because it is so results oriented. Sales resumes rarely require extensive details about duties because sales managers already know what you do. What they care about is the bottom line. Don’t tell a sales manager how hard you worked or how many phone calls you made or how many sales calls you went on. Did you sell? That’s all that counts.
There are a number of ways to show results:
- Earning sales awards
- Ranking within your sales organization
- Improving the position of territory compared with other territories in the company
- Increasing sales
- Increasing profits on sales
- Increasing market share
- Setting sales records
- Introducing new products
- Restoring inactive accounts
- Pioneering a new territory
- Increasing penetration
- Maintaining a high customer retention rate
- Maintaining a high referral rate
- Building customer loyalty
- Designing effective programs
Use whatever is most appropriate. If you know your market share or can estimate it pretty closely, use that figure. Market share is effective because it provides an excellent means of comparison. During an economic boom with high inflation, the gross sales of even a mediocre salesperson will increase 5–8% annually. To increase market share, however, means you have taken business away from competitors and increased your share of the pie. It means you’re doing something right.
Showing increases in market share is great, but most companies simply don’t generally provide that territory-by-territory information. So use whatever you do have.
Feel free to use a combination of numbers if you have them. Increases in revenue, dollars, margin, market share, etc. Provide a context that includes your ranking in the district, region, and national ranks…whichever is most impressive. If your gains were modest due to an industry slowdown or economic slump, did you exceed others in production? What about the industry average during that time? What about severe economic times? Did you maintain your customer base while others were losing theirs? Did you improve your cost-of-sales that improved margin to mitigate the revenue downturn?
The example below contains most of the ways to show success in sales. Each job narrative speaks to one of those achievements, including improving the territorial ranking, increasing market share, receiving numerous monthly sales awards, and percentage increases.
B & N Machinery, Tempe, Arizona 6/05 to Present
Marketing Representative ‐ Developed and implemented marketing strategies to increase heavy equipment sales to the construction industry in Arizona. Took the territory from 7th (out of 8) in the company to 2nd during the first 36 months.
John Deere, Phoenix, Arizona 10/01 to 6/05
District Representative ‐ Assisted 26 dealers in Arizona and New Mexico in marketing John Deere products. Set up five new dealers and developed their sales, parts and service departments. Moved seven dealers from near bankruptcy to very strong financial positions. Increased market share 33%.
Gerald BMW, Phoenix, Arizona 1/99 to 10/01
Salesman ‐ Each year won the Professional Sales Counselor award for sales excellence. Out of a sales force of 12, was salesperson of the month 8 times in 34 months.
PointSystems, Trenton, New Jersey 1/97 to 1/99
Sales Representative ‐ Sold a full line of point of sale equipment to local and regional chains. In two years increased territorial sales 44%.
Olivetti Corporation, Trenton, New Jersey 1/93 to 12/96
Sales Representative ‐ Sold cash registers, self‐service terminals, and printers throughout metropolitan Trenton. Worked closely with store managers and sales staffs and provided excellent training in selling Olivetti products. Ranked 2nd in sales in 1996 out of a regional sales force of 18.
Always save your sales reports. Whenever you start a new position, get data on the condition of the territory prior to your arrival. If you don’t have the actual numbers, provide good faith estimates which you are prepared to explain.