Building a Resume for Sales Jobs
What "good" looks like
Most people have an up to date resume that lists their objectives, experience, education and the seemingly obligatory "references furnished upon request" tagline. With so many job hunters using a common resume format, hiring managers are forced to either filter through a flood of submitted resumes or look for one that stands out.
One or Many?
Job seekers who are actively seeking a sales position and who plan to send out multiple copies of their resume will most likely use a single resume. This polished and professional resume should provide general information that highlights the job seekers skills, experience, and education that will appeal to the general hiring manager. In other words, resumes sent out to multiple companies are vanilla. They are not geared for a specific position or to a specific company.
General resumes are submitted with the intention of getting as many interviews as possible from as many companies as possible.
Job seekers who take a more targeted approach will benefit greatly from having a boilerplate resume that is customized to each company the resume is submitted to. Each resume is given its own "flavor" and is designed not to appeal to the general hiring manager but to a specific hiring manager.
This targeted approach is often what makes one resume stand out from the crowd.
Customizing Your Resume
Unless you are planning on sending out a copy of your resume to every business that may or may not have openings for sales professionals, your results will improve drastically if you send a customized resume to individual employers. To do so, you need to begin your resume writing with research. For example, if you learn that ABC Sales Enterprises has an opening for an Account Executive, and your research shows that ABC is the type of company for whom you'd enjoy working, your first research step would be to find out exactly what an account representative for ABC would be selling, to whom they sell and where they sell.
Once you have a solid understanding of what an account executive working for ABC does, it's time to craft your resume. Your objective should be to target all the content on your resume towards what the hiring manager for ABC would be looking for in a resume.
For example, if your education fits in well to what an ABC sales rep would most likely have, make sure you highlight your education. If, however, your sales experience does not match up very well, you need to get creative and highlight how the skills you learned during your sales experience match up well to the sales position at ABC.
Everything that you put on your resume needs to make sense and be related to the position for which you are applying. Building a sales resume in this fashion makes the end result, your resume, a powerful sales tool. Let your job seeking competition submit their boilerplate resumes and make you stand out from the crowd.
Submitting Your Customized Resume
Once your resume is customized, you'll probably want to make certain that it gets into the right hands. While you could simply follow any resume submitting guidelines that a company gives you, doing so will only land your resume in the pile of other received resumes. A better approach is to hand deliver your resume to the hiring manager. If this is not possible, call the company and find out the name of the hiring manager, the best way to contact her and her mailing address.
Next, do some research using your network and sites like LinkedIN to learn more about the hiring manager. Doing so may give you additional information that inspires you to alter your resume yet again or it may give you ideas about how to craft your cover letter to capture the hiring manager's attention. The more customized you can make the entire process, the better.
Once you know who is going to be reading your resume, how best to get your resume into their hands and know as much as you can about the decision maker, send your customized resume directly to that person. Once completed, move on to your next job opportunity and repeat the entire process again.