5 Resume Tips for Salespeople and Business Development Professionals

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Top sales professionals are always in demand – but they’re also notoriously difficult to recruit, screen, and hire.

The market is glutted with salespeople who talk good games but don’t have the accompanying track records of delivering results. Your resume is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and show hiring managers why they should bring you on board.

Salespeople, set yourselves apart in the highly competitive job market by following these five tips:

1. Quantify Your Results

Sales is all about driving revenue and growth. Focus your resume on quantifiable accomplishments. Outline things like revenue generated, market growth, and similar key performance metrics. Prioritize these things above “soft skills,” which you can draw attention to in ancillary sections of your resume, if necessary.

It should go without saying, but it happens too often not to mention: Resist the temptation to exaggerate your numbers. Experienced hiring managers can sniff out unrealistic or enhanced figures. Even if they don’t spot the falsehoods on their own, a standard reference check will.

2. Highlight Your Career Progression

Potential employers love seeing consistent career progression on a resume. They want to know that your skill set is growing and that you are staying on the cutting edge of your industry. If past employers trusted you with more responsibility over time, it implies that your value to the company increased in lockstep. Highlight new titles, new responsibilities, and new clients/territories to show prospective employers you’re capable of growth.

3. Showcase Your Knowledge of Industry-Standard Software

Once upon a time, all a salesperson needed was a phone book, a brief case, a suit, and a comfortable set of shoes. Today, however, technology plays a key part in almost every sales job, whether that means firmly understanding the company’s technical product or utilizing sales enablement software on the job.

Sales tools such as CRMs, proposal management systems, and email tracking tools are commonplace in many sales positions. Make sure your resume acknowledges the sales tech programs you know how to use. Including these things will communicate your ability to hit the ground running.

4. List Awards and Achievements 

If you have been recognized by your company or a third party as a top performer, don’t be shy about including the award(s) on your resume. Third-party recognition and validation can set you apart from your peers and give your resume a bit of gravitas.

5. Proofread

Nothing will ruin your shot at a job faster than typos and careless mistakes on your resume.

Before sending your resume out, check for misspelled words and broken sentence structures. Try to incorporate grammatical features that make your resume easier to read, such as parallel structure.

It is also recommended to ask a friend or trusted colleague to review your resume. It’s not always easy to catch your own mistakes, but an outside editor might find errors you’ve missed.

Keith Wolf is CEO and cofounder of ResumeSpice  and the managing director of Murray Resources.

By Keith Wolf