Use Your Sales Resume To Sell Yourself

My final post before I review the How to Write a Killer Sales Resume book. Again this will highlight another key message that I took away from the book and it very much fits in with my previous posts.

And whilst I’m not giving too much away (you’ll have to grab the book yourself), I hope that you’ll take away some actionable strategies that you can adopt in order to enhance your own sales resume.

Chris (the author of the book) points out that since we are in the sales profession we should be in the sales mind-set as we prepare our resume. Basicauselly that we should be aware that we are selling ourselves to the employer and we should use our ‘sales skills’ accordingly. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Then why did I never do that I ask myself?

You’re in Sales, Sell Yourself!

Think about it this way, if you cannot be bothered – or you convey that you are not capable enough – to sell yourself through your resume then what impression are you giving out about your actual sales ability?

This argument applies to all jobs of course, but it’s especially important in sales and marketing. So what flows from this the need to subtly self-promote – your sales resume is not the place for modesty.

As you go through your achievements use them to convey the value that bring to the table. For example demonstrate the revenue growth that you have achieved with accounts, or how you have generated extra profit through business initiatives, savings that you have brought about and new customers that you have brought on board.

Likewise the value you brought about can have been from recruitment, expansion of territory, simplification of processes, implementing new systems, re-organization etc, etc.
Value takes different forms as well as actual profit, but all forms of value contribute to the bottom line $USD. Though, profit / results will almost certainly be to the top.

In Sales – It’s all About ‘Benefits’

When working with new and existing customers, making sales usually results from stressing the benefits of a product or service, you have probably heard the phrase that ‘people buy the benefits and not the features’  (the features actually justify the purchase).

It’s similar when it comes to your sales resume.

As you prepare your sales resume stress benefits that you bring to the table – that way a potential employer is more likely to buy you. I know for a fact that when I look back at my earlier resumes, I simply listed the duties and roles that I had without any indication as to the benefits (or value?!) that those duties and roles brought about.

So as you go through your resume, please make sure that you explain or demonstrate the benefits that that experience, that duty or that skill gave your employer – and so how it could benefit them – your potential new employer.

As I said earlier, a lot of this material s actually pretty obvious, we actually know it already – that’s why we keep getting those ‘ah hah’ moments – but we’re not doing it! And that of course is the whole point! So what 70% this book does is to ‘remind you’ what you should be doing to prepare a winning sales resume. The other 30% is about tactics and refinement to give you he edge over all the other candidates out there (who have not read this book).

And next… the no-holds barred review…

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How to Get More Sales Interviews

How would you like to dramatically increase the number of sales job interviews that you get?

I thought so! You’re interested arn’t you? This is one of the most important points that I took away from the book How to Write a Killer Sales Resume. Take note…

One Size Does Not Fit All – Customize Your Sales Resume!

Generic resumes (i.e. un-targeted) – don’t work (note caveat below*). Why? Simply because when you apply for a sales job (or any job actually) then you must make your sales resume address the ‘specific’ requirements of the vacancy.

When you present your attributes for a vacancy (i.e. your skills, experience, qualifications etc) in your resume ‘to fit’ the vacancy with ‘language’ that the reviewer ‘relates to’, then you automatically step up into the role.

That said preparing a ‘generic’ sales resume (a ‘general’ sales resume) that captures all of your skills, experience and qualifications that you could ever plant on your resume is a good starting point. You can then customize your generic resume on a case by case basis according to the requirements of each job that you apply for.

Customizing your sales resume is a bit of an art, but done well the payback is great – payback in the form of extra job interviews!

Customizing your sales resume properly for each job will, as I can testify, dramatically improve your strike rate (the amount of interviews versus the number of resumes you send out / jobs applied for). And apparently it’s not uncommon for strike rates to improve by as much as 500% or more taking the ‘customized’ approach. And sales being so competitive, you need every bit of help that you can get!

For sure, when I was creating bespoke sales resumes the process does involve a bit of extra work, then again I started to get more interviews! So it was worth it.

* The exception when you won’t and can’t send out a customized resume, where a generic resume is perfectly acceptable is when you are sending out your resume on a speculative basis. For example if you are sending out your sales resume to headhunters and recruitment consultants or posting to job bulletin boards etc, etc.

So a generic resume and a targeted resume both have their place. This is a quick and simple way to do both that I learnt from the book:

Step 1 – Create Your Generic Sales Resume

That way you all the hard work once! You start off by creating your generic catch-all sales resume. It’s got to capture all of your most relevant skills, achievements, awards, qualifications and executive & sales experience.

You will need to present your data such that it conveys that you are a motivated, experienced and talented professional that can deliver explosive results! It’s all in the book.

There are even a few tactics which are a bit sneaky that you can employ that’ll really make you shine.

Now, your generic sales resume is already better than most of all the other resumes out there already. BUT the icing on the cake is step 2…

Step 2 – Tweak Your Sales Resume ‘To Fit’ Each Job That You Apply For

According to Chris, something like 95% candidates just don’t do this. That gives you and me a great lead on all the other candidates!

Using your generic resume (step 1) as a template, you then ‘tailor’ and ‘optimize’ your sales resume for each different job that you apply for!

And from what I learnt there are a ton of ways to do this. What surprised me mostly was how obvious a lot of this stuff is. And the thing is, once you know what to do, then it’s as simple as A B C to replicate each time you apply for a new sales position.

Check it out here.

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5 Fatal Sales Resume Mistakes To Avoid

Aka ” the 5 Dont’s “

Once I had read the book how to write a killer sales resume I quickly revised my sales resume so that it was up to the task of getting me my sales interviews. The process I remember was actually a bit embarrassing since I soon realized that there were a lot basic mistakes that I’d been making over the years – so it was no wonder I was having problems getting sales interviews!

Here are the top mistakes that you don’t want to make:

Mistake 1 – Failure To Format Correctly

What are the resume options, which one to use, and what information to put in it?

The Chronological Resume Format is the most commonly used resume format and is the format most preferred by recruiters / employers.

It is straightforward to read (and put together) since it traces a candidate’s career path and progression in a given field in sequence. In this format, experience and accomplishments are listed in reverse ‘chronological’ order – with the most recent job positioned first.

The Chronological format looks like this:

1. Header
2. Personal Statement OR Executive Profile*
3. Professional Experience
4. Qualifications & Training
5. Awards
6. Affiliations
7. Keywords

*The Personal Statement / Executive Profile have slightly different formats and it depends upon the level of the position of that is being applied for. Essentially it’s one format for entry level personnel or non-executive sales positions and another for experienced personnel and executive positions.

Mistake 2 – Using a Generic Resume When You Should be Using a Targeted Resume

The two kinds of resume; when to use each type; when and how to target a vacancy.

I imagine that this can be very frustrating for employers recruiting: someone sends in their resume which is clearly a generic one-size-fits-all resume. A resume like this has some useful information about it, but because it’s general and it doesn’t directly address the vacancy.

This how it pans out for an employer who is reading such a resume:

The sales resume does not match their skills and experience to what is required. They make the employer work really hard to find out if they ‘might’ be a suitable candidate. If they can’t be bothered to make the effort to properly sell themselves to the employer, then are they serious? Should the employer be bothered to spend time searching for clues to the possibility that they may be an ideal candidate? Probably not.

By just applying a few simple steps then us candidates can so easily, match our career experience, qualifications and so on to the vacancy!

Mistake 3 – A Hopeless Resume Headline

The Resume Headline is very important, it is the 2nd piece of information that a reviewer will read about you (the 1st piece of information being your Name at the Resume Header). The headline is where you express in just a few words what you are and what you bring to the table. You tell an employer in a few succinct words what you can do for them and why they should even read any more of your resume.

If you get this wrong – as most people do – then there is a greater than 50% chance that you’ll condemn your resume to the waste basket.

Mistake 4 – Failure To Sell Yourself

It’s surprising how many sales people are cagey or modest (or ignorant) about their achievements. An employer wants to know (needs to know) in no uncertain terms that the candidate can deliver results!

Demonstrating to a reviewer that they have a track record in delivering growth and sales is a cinch. There are two or three key tactics that I learnt from the book that employers identify with that conveys in no uncertain terms that the candidate is a good (an ‘ideal’) sales person.

– After all, if you can’t sell yourself, then what hope do you have to sell their product / service?

Mistake 5 – Failure to Keep the Resume on Topic

The tendency that a lot of people have to wander off track and to include irrelevant information in the sales resume. Stay ‘on radar’ and keep the reader engaged, rather than bored.

This point can be a natural consequence of point 1) and 2) above. If a resume is so general that it can be used for a range of different sales positions or EVEN WORSE for a range of different types of jobs then the resume will be vague and will appear unclear and unfocussed.

It conveys the view either a) the candidate is probably casting around for any job in any company and / or b) the candidate simply cannot be bothered to make the effort to impress the employer.

Your sales resume needs to be properly constructed, lean and focused.

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I Didn’t Have a Clue about Writing a Sales Resume

I have always considered myself as being a reasonably good writer, I could do essays at school, reports at college and documentation (during my early employment days) at work, but for some reason I have had a real problem doing a good sales resume.

For a while I was ignorant about my skill shortage; since when I moved jobs (which I did quite frequently) it was generally via a friend or ‘a friend of a friend’. I found that once I  got the interview I would usually do a pretty good performance and get the job.

And my problem is that I get kinda bored after a few years in one particular job so I want to move on. Now in sales that not usually a problem, we’re often expected to move around a bit and that was what I was doing.

But the clincher for me was when I moved to a new state (a family thing) and I didn’t have a job to go to. And I didn’t know anyone to lean on, you know I didn’t know anyone with contacts for me to leverage so I was stuck! Even my girlfriend didn’t have any useful contacts (and it was her home state!).

So I had to do it the hard way and boy was it hard! Responding to newspaper ads, smooching it with head-hunters and of course spending a ton of time on the internet. The thing that I learnt quite quickly was that I didn’t have a clue how to really write a decent sales resume. I’d apply for jobs sending out my sales resume, but I just wasn’t getting my sales interviews. And these were jobs that I knew I could do with my eyes closed!

I looked at a few online resume websites, but honestly they were all crap! Most of them looked like they were written in the 1950’s, and some of the resumes examples were so bad I could not embarrass myself by imitating them (i.e. I wouldn’t interview me if my resume looked like some of the garbage that I was reading!).

In desperation I even considered paying a ‘resume expert’ to write my sales resume for me. But I never succumbed, instead I got lucky…my friend in Singapore (of all places) sent me a link to a new ‘sales resume’ book (it’s an ebook actually). He came across a review to this book somewhere online and thought of me.

I’m going to go through the ebook (like as a book review) in a later post. But first I thought that I’d mention a couple of the points that I picked up from reading it, that I wanted to share with other sales people who might find it helpful.


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