If you’re applying for a junior sales rep job, you are, undoubtedly, up against some stiff competition. There are likely hundreds of other applicants after the same position. That means your resume — your most important piece of marketing collateral — can’t just be adequate; it needs to be exceptional.
But if you’ve never written one before, just getting the basics right can be quite the challenge. How do you then also craft a document that’s compelling enough to have hiring managers calling you tomorrow? The good news is we have some pointers for you. Here are six ways to make sure your entry-level sales resume shines.
1. Pay attention to structure and formatting
Successful sales reps are strategic thinkers with sound organizational abilities. Prove that this is you by compiling a well-organized, neatly formatted resume that’s easy to scan — hiring managers should be able to find what they’re looking for within seconds. Order the content strategically to draw attention to the information that sells you best, and use clear headers and bullet points to structure your text. A resume that’s a pleasure to read shows clarity of thought and will give you an advantage over candidates who haven’t put as much effort into layout and presentation.
2. Get into sales mode
If you were selling a product, you’d be sure to highlight what makes this particular solution distinct from its competitors. You’d go to great lengths to unpack how it’ll add value to your customer’s life. Do the same for yourself in your resume. Slip into sales mode and sell your unique value proposition by weaving a compelling story about how your skills and qualifications position you perfectly to assist your target company in its pursuits.
Customizing your resume to the position is also key for self-selling success. As a good sales rep, you wouldn’t try to sell anything to a potential client without first putting in the effort to understand them and their pain points. Similarly, when crafting an entry-level sales resume, you’d do well to first research your customer — your prospective employer — extensively, so that you can then tailor your communication to speak to their specific wants and needs.
3. Start strong with a persuasive summary statement
Chances are most other entry-level applicants are going to kick off their resumes with a fairly dull objective statement that does little more than state the obvious. You can easily separate yourself from the crowd by starting with a professional summary instead — a tight paragraph that profiles your strengths and qualifications and highlights what you can offer prospective employers. That way, recruiters only have to look at the first few lines of your resume to see that you have what it takes to seal sales deals and hit quotas.
4. Shine the spotlight on your transferable skills
As a young sales rep, you probably don’t have much work experience. But you do have sales-related competencies. Position these front and center in your entry-level sales resume, with a special focus on your transferable skills — abilities you’ve developed through summer jobs, part-time gigs, volunteer work and extracurricular activities that you can carry over into a sales role. Remember to show that you have a good mix of hard and soft skills too. Job seekers tend to put all the emphasis on their hard skills, but employers are as interested in your ability to communicate, network and meet deadlines, for instance.
5. Detail your accomplishments
Sales is all about goals and performance. If you do have experience of some sort (a practical project you completed in college counts too), make sure you draw attention to what you achieved in the role. Provide concrete evidence of your potential to excel by including numbers and statistics to support your claims. Hiring managers love to see figures relating to sales revenue, quota attainment and customer acquisition.
6. Take a unique approach to presentation
If you really want to set your sales resume apart, do something no one else is doing. You could, for example, build a one-page website as a gateway to your job search documents (like Chris Moore, Channel Account Manager for HubSpot’s Cambridge HQ, did). Be careful when going this route, though. Most hiring managers prefer resumes that are simple and classic, so assess the target organization’s company culture first to determine whether something more original would be well received.
If you think you'll need help constructing your resume, consider putting a resume builder to use, and get top-to-bottom assistance with all aspects of the writing (and formatting, too). Then, all you have to do is click apply. We know that confidence can sometimes hold us back from applying for a job. But we'll let you in on a secret: there's no such thing as a 'perfect' candidate. So however you identify and whatever background you bring with you, if Sales is a role that would make you excited to come into work every day, stop second-guessing yourself and send it.
Originally published Jul 23, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated May 19 2020