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Resume writing for sales professionals

Sales professionals are hot property right now as companies focus even more attention on revenue, making the right resume your ticket to the game of job change.

Steele Baillie, managing director of specialist recruitment agency BTA Sales Recruitment, says the sales pitch for sales professionals starts with their resume.

Starting from the top, candidates can use a “Career Overview”. This is a paragraph long, basic elevator pitch about you tailored to the job you are going for.

Candidates from overseas should declare their visa status so the reader knows he or she can go to work without delay.

Mr Baille says it is important to be objective on paper but to be upbeat and positive.

“Sales people sell products for a living so they should use those skills to sell themselves in the same way – how would they be able to help the employer succeed? Why are their particular strengths the right ones for the job?”

Mr Baillie advises sales candidates to always tell their professional story in full on their resume even if a tougher job market has meant straying into new territory.

CareerOne.com.au related a real life experience sent to Ask Kate. A 27-year-old candidate said he had taken a year out from sales to drive a monster truck on a mining site.

The candidate told CareerOne he really enjoyed the job while it lasted and the exposure it gave him to people from all sorts of backgrounds. However, he still wondered if he should leave the job off his resume as it was a non-sales role.

“I don’t like people leaving anything out of resume. If it isn’t in a resume then it didn’t happen,” says Mr Baillie. “Your resume should not have any gaps.”

While the candidate could place more focus on his sales experience all jobs should be included in reverse date order under Career History or a similar headline.

As for length, “three or four pages even for a senior person is plenty.”

He also advises candidates to provide a little detail on the companies they have worked for summarising what the company does, is best known for and whether it is market leader.

The candidate should then break down the role they play by detailing their responsibilities before zeroing in on their achievements.

“Don’t go over the top – three or four dot points will do,” he says.

Achievements could include:

Overachievement of a sales target Winning a significant client (if you are still currently working don’t include anything that might be commercially confidential.) Developing strong networks that led to increasing market share in a particular industry or sector. Being involved in the launch of a new product or division Any awards you have won or earned ranking such as “highest revenue earner for x month” or “Number 1 sales person”.

Mr Baille likes to see people sell their experience over qualifications.However, a Bachelor of Science for someone selling a related product is a bonus.

“For example, we do a lot of work in the medical sector and it is a given anyone we work with would have a degree,” he said.

Other lay out tips:

“Don’t bother to include high school. If you have had a long career consider including a table to demonstrate your career history at glance. Recent roles still require a detailed entry.”

He says the “Education & Professional Skills” section should include in house sales training, external professional development courses like public speaking and any relevant curricular activity such as leadership or team building.

“I don’t object to a hobbies and interests section as it provides a talking point.Yes, there is a danger that the hobbies could be a turn off but it is an advantage if your interests are aligned to those of your potential boss such as golf.

“Writing ‘References available on request’ is fine.

“Reference checking can be done at any stage of the recruitment process but it will certainly never be done before the recruitment consultant has met with the candidate.”

“In background checking the recruiter is looking at the amount of time a candidate was in a role and what they achieved. Three years in a role is a good tick, a promotion such as BDM to a manager also looks good.

“We also look to ensure someone hasn’t job hopped a lot and also at their achievements.

“Overall, we like to see effort put into a resume. Even if you are not 100 per cent right for the role can you demonstrate some synergy between you and the role – between your skills and experience and what is being asked for in the job ad. Point that out as clearly as possible.”

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