I have been through a number of resumes in my life (I estimate over 25,000). Since I specialize in recruiting sales and sales management professionals, I see a lot of resumes geared in that direction. So in this discussion, I would like to share some of the creative approaches that I have seen that catch my eye and cause me to consider the candidate more closely.
Creative Resume Tips for Salespeople
1. If you have sales experience and a proven sales success within one particular organization, a great way to make your resume stand out is to insert a color graph of your numbers. Of course, if you look at the graph and it doesn’t speak to you, it may not “speak” to me either. Sometimes, changing the graph from a bar graph to another style can make your point more obvious.
2. I have seen several resumes where they use a quotation. Sometimes a Vince Lombardi or a equivalent quote that sums up your attitude, drive, or motivation can be a nice touch. I saw a resume recently that had a quotation from a manager that was very complimentary.
3. Sometimes if a salesperson is trying to break into a new industry or if the candidate is light on sales experience, I think a “Preceptorship” – where you put a small blurb about a ride along that you did with a representative that is in your desired field. This shows initiative and sacrifice (not everyone will give up a day to spend tagging along with someone else when it is not a requirement). Usually the experience actually yields a more informed candidate and that leads to a better interview experience.
4. Sales people are judged by numbers – so if you have sold before you should have some numbers to share. For example, number of closes, largest sale, key influencer sales, expense budgets, revenue targets, % attainment of goals, etc. When I see a sales resume without numbers, it makes me think that there is nothing to discuss (as in he or she wasn’t very successful).
5. If you are a prolific reader (especially in business and related materials), you might add a section of recent reading material. Make certain that you can talk intelligently about the books that you list, otherwise it will hurt your credibility.
6. Lastly, of course everything in this article is only my opinion or experience. I am sure that there are others who might have different thoughts. But please – leave off the activities that interest you that do not seem to speak about energy, intelligence or some other facet of your personality that would peak the interest of your desired employer. To put it bluntly, crocheting, yoga and cooking activities should be left off of the resume.