You are energetic, competitive, hard-working, and just plain fierce.
You feel like sales is a perfect field for you to demonstrate how good you are and to make a great living in the process.
There is, however, one problem. You’ve never worked in sales before.
You hustled a bit between gigs, maybe got your BA in marketing, or even went through a paid internship, but your entry level sales resume is still not getting the replies it deserves.
Or maybe you didn’t do any of those things, and now you’re wondering: why do all those entry sales positions require working experience, if they are entry?
While that’s a lot to take in, we want to help make it simple for you.
Even though some fields are easier to get into (e.g. insurance), the world of sales is very competitive, just like the job itself.
And the main problem of many entry level sales resumes is that they don’t sell. How are you expected to sell anything, if you can’t sell yourself, even on paper?
Luckily, you’re in the right place.
Here’s what you’ll learn from this guide:
- How to make sure your resume is not rejected before recruiters even have the chance to look at it
- How to effectively present your hidden sales experience so that companies will invite you for interviews more often
- How to combine soft and technical skills on your resume so that recruiters see you as the best candidate for the job
- Why so many entry level sales resumes fails and what common mistakes you should avoid
- How to grab a recruiter’s attention from the start and also the things most recruiters focus on while scanning your resume
Explore other related Sales resumes below
- Sales resume examples
- Sales Associate resume examples
- Sales Representative resume examples
- Inside Sales resume examples
How to write an eye-grabbing Entry Level Sales resume
Sales people are very goal-driven professionals, so here are the two goals you should achieve with your entry level sales associate resume.
Goal #1: Beat ATS
If you apply through public job boards or career websites, you should know that hundreds of other people are applying for the same job as you are at the same time.
When it comes to sales, in 75% of cases, your resume will be looked over by a robot first, also called an ATS (Applicant Tracking System).
This means that it will be scanned for certain keywords, and if your resume doesn’t contain those, the human recruiter won’t ever get the chance to see the application you sent.
You’ll see many of those words in the job description. For example, sales, leads, accounts, closing, communication.
We’ll talk more about keywords in the Experience and Skill sections.
Goal #2: Impress a recruiter
After you’ve passed the initial robot-check, your resume ends up in a recruiter’s hands. That means two things:
- Never lie on your resume trying to pass ATS, it’ll become obvious during the interview and you won't get the job
- Don’t stuff your resume with keywords — recruiters will sense that and reject the application once it gets to them
Now your goal is to stand out. Here are the things that recruiters will appreciate in your entry level sales resume:
- Paid sales internships
- Relevant sales experience (closing, communication, presenting, etc.)
- Quantifiable sales-related achievements
- Product knowledge or passion for the product’s industry
- Education (bachelor’s is preferred, relevant degree - desired)
- Demonstration of soft skills
- Technical certifications (Google Ads, Facebook / IG ads, Salesforce)
The more you manage to organically weave those into your entry sales resume, the more you’ll have a chance to get your foot in the door.
Are you ready to start one of the most important sales of your life? Read on.
What makes an impactful Entry-Level sales resume layout
The perfect layout for your resume depends on what kind of sales experience you have.
If you had a paid internship and maybe even a sales job for some time, consider using standard reverse chronological order for your resume.
That way you’ll emphasize key sales responsibilities and results that you were able to achieve at each place you worked.
If, however, you don’t have that much of experience or the experience you do have is diffused over time, consider using a hybrid layout that effectively combines your skills and experience in a single narration.
For example, you may have had experience assisting an online marketer or volunteer organization and performed a variety of tasks for them.
While this was a part-time job with a lot of different tasks, sometimes you were able to drive marketing results and applied certain sales techniques.
For more information on the best resume formats, read our guide: The Best Resume Formats You Need to Consider (5+ Examples Included).
Get started with a clean Entry Level Sales resume header
A header is a small section at the beginning of your resume. It usually includes your name, job title, location, and, in most cases, lots of missed opportunities.
What kind of missed opportunities? For example, people rarely provide links to their social profiles or personal websites.
A typical generic header would look like this:
You have two opportunities here: add a link to your LinkedIn profile and/or your personal website.
If you have a developed LinkedIn profile with lots of relevant connections and a biography filled with achievements related to sales — by all means, link to that.
It will emphasize your networking abilities, your passion for prospecting, and your overall soft skills.
If you don’t have a developed LinkedIn profile, consider linking to your website or online profile.
It could be anything: a personal blog with sales tips and reviews, an author page if you’re contributing to a well-known marketing blog, or a talk you gave at a conference .
You may even consider adding a page to your blog or website that’s somehow connected to the product you’re going to sell at the company you’re applying to.
For example, a link to a case study for a mobile game that you developed if you’re applying for a software company, or a 3D-printer project for an engineering sales department.
Add anything to this section that gives you an advantage.
Any of these things will set you apart from your competition, because most people will just leave their name and address. The bar is usually set pretty low.
As for the title, most entry sales jobs are named Sales Representative or Sales Associate.
There’s not a big difference between them in terms of responsibilities, but consider tweaking your title according to the job description to pass ATS.
If you want more ideas for stand-out resume headers, read through our guide Perfecting Your Resume Header so You Get Noticed.
Entry-Level Sales resume objective: should you include it?
The first section that contains any on-page information about your past achievements is the Summary section.
Don’t make it too long. A few sentences are enough.
But that’s kind of obvious, right? The question is — what do I write about here, especially when I don’t have any prior sales experience?
The Summary section is perfect for highlighting three things that can warm recruiters up towards you:
- Paid sales internships or relevant sales experience
- Demonstration of soft skills
- Product knowledge or passion for the product’s industry
Look at this entry level sales resume sample:
It lacks all three of them. This summary seems like you’re happy for any job in sales. You lack the passion for product, and your only motivation is to get a job, not to sell.
Multi-million dollar corporations are always on the lookout for sales representatives and entry level salespeople, because finding new clients is the backbone of their growth.
All of them have extensive sales training programs, guidelines and best practices that their salespeople should adhere to. What they need are candidates with a strong work ethic, soft skills, and education.
They need someone who can be effectively trained, follow guidelines and quotas, all while working with other people.
If you show them a high GPA, sales-related student achievements and a strong work-ethic, it sends a signal that they can effectively train you into a successful salesperson.
Smaller companies, on the other hand, often don’t have large-scale sales training programs, so they value passion for their products and ambition in their candidates.
The logic is simple: if you’re passionate about something, it’s easier for you to sell it.
At the same time, they value advanced sales training, so if you had a paid internship with a large company, e.g. fortune-500, you should emphasize it.
How do you show these things? Take a look at this sample entry level sales resume:
If you want to show your passion, be specific as to what you’re passionate about. Don’t just write: “I’m passionate about your product.”
Take note that we also used a few sales keywords that will help you pass an ATS tracker.
Make sure you write your summary with ATS in mind, but don’t overdo it. The summary is for the human recruiter, not the robot
If you put your passion for sales & the product, your sales experience and soft skills in your Summary section, you’ll significantly increase the chances that the recruiter will continue reading your resume.
For more tips on crafting an attention-grabbing resume summary, check out our guide Resume Summary: How-To Guide (30+ Examples You Need To See).
If you’re looking to craft a compelling resume objective instead, read our writing tips at 10 Resume Objective Examples You Need to Steal (How-to-Guide).
What's the next section they will see? Your Experience section.
Entry Level Sales resume experience: what do headhunters look for
People often complain about the work experience that is required for some entry level jobs.
“How am I going to have experience if that’s my first job?”. While this is certainly frustrating, there are at least two points that you should have in mind before giving up on the application:
- Your sales experience doesn’t have to be a full-time sales job you had elsewhere
- You probably do have sales experience, you just need to think about it
Think about that student project you had when your whole group attended a hi-tech conference where certain aspects of sales were covered by key speakers.
Perhaps you helped to organize it or promote it among other students & attendees.
Think about that time your friend asked you to set up a website, or when you configured Google Analytics for your webpage to track how many visitors it had.
Maybe you’ve worked as a bartender during the summer, upselling drinks and organizing local parties. Maybe you were helping your uncle at his tire shop.
The point is, you have sales experience of some kind. You just have to:
- Specify it
- Quantify it
- Add sales keywords to pass ATS
Here’s an example of a poorly written entry level sales resume experience section:
It has no quantifiable results, few sales keywords and it lacks specific achievements and efforts that you performed.
Here are some of the common keywords that are often mentioned in entry sales job descriptions and tracked by ATS:
- Cold calling
Make sure to use those and any other sales words frequently written in the description of the job you’re applying for.
But remember, don’t use them if you don’t have anything to back up your words with.
Here’s an example of an experience section for an entry level sales associate resume:
Make note that we’ve used “Upsell” and not “Upsold” because most ATS systems scan for direct keyword matches and may ignore synonyms, forms, and abbreviations.
For more ideas on how to create an actionable resume experience section, check out our guide How to Describe Your Resume Work Experience.
After writing your experience section, it’s time to focus on skills that you should put on your entry level sales resume.
Entry Level Sales resume skills section that people will love
Sales positions are generally about soft skills, so make sure this section has all the key skills that every sales position requires.
Those include: communication, persuasion, active listening, customer relations, and more!
Ideally, you should not just list those, but provide some real-life context and examples for when you obtained or used them.
Communication: successfully generated new business leads via cold calling and email outreach for a local car dealer, surpassing the monthly sales quota  by 34% .
Active listening: by thoroughly interviewing and researching customers’ pain points, was able to modify the existing prospecting process to increase customer satisfaction and decrease the number of negative reviews. Within 4 months, improved the Yelp rating by 1.2 points. You’ll have more chances of getting through the screening process if your skills section reflects skills that are required in the job description.
Let’s take a look at this Sales Associate position
- Sales Consultants/Associates/Professionals take the customers through a thorough buying process supported by established selling steps, policies and procedures
- Develop and relay a high level of product knowledge around vehicle features
- Demonstrate operation of vehicle in showroom and via test drive
- Maintain an owner follow-up system that encourages repeat and referral business and contributes to customer satisfaction, loyalty and long term clientele
- Develop a prospecting system, making calls and sending emails to potential customers to set appointments
- Close Deals!
Clearly, your resume should reflect the ability to present the product (in this case cars), find new leads, and close deals.
Also, your technical skills should include email management, cold calling, and, ideally, product knowledge (cars).
Put those higher on your soft skills list.
Entry level sales resumes usually contain lots of soft skills and few technical skills.
While it’s true that sales is a heavily soft-skills-oriented field, obtaining certain technical qualifications will help you stand out, while having cold calling and email experience is a must.
Are you still not sure what skills will win recruiters over? Check out our guide on How to Create A Resume Skills Section To Impress Recruiters (+10 Examples You Need to See).
How to make your education section stand out?
The most common requirement for an entry level sales job is to have a Bachelor’s degree or (less often) Associate’s degree.
It’s great if your major is Marketing, but having other majors could play into your hand as well.
For example, some engineering entry sales positions will gladly consider candidates with STEM degrees, while a degree in finance will help with insurance sales.
Browse more essential tips on how to feature education on your resume, in our guide Perfecting the Education Section on Your Resume.
Include Entry Level Sales resume certificates for added impact
Below are some certificates that are highly valuable in the marketing world and can be obtained relatively easy by students recent graduates
For more information on how to properly list resume certifications, we recommend reading our guide How To List Certifications On A Resume (Examples Included).
Other sections to include on your resume
Depending on the company, job seniority level and your location, you may want to include more sections to your Entry-Level Sales resume:
- Language skills
- Hobbies and interests
- Volunteer work
- LinkedIn on Resume
That’s what it takes to write a great Entry Level Sales resume
- Make sure your resume passes both applicant tracking systems (ATS) and human recruiters by combining relevant keywords with engaging results-driven experience
- Frame your Skills section so that it reflects the requirements of the job you’re applying for
- Gain a competitive edge by providing links to your developed web profiles and listing highly-regarded marketing certificates
- Try to be as specific as possible in every section of your resume. Sales people are very results-driven, so make sure your resume plays on that
- Discover hidden sales experience that you have and weave it into your Experience and Summary sections to increase your resume conversion rate
- Demonstrate both passion for the product and sales techniques, and avoid at all costs being boring, abstract and generic. Do that, and recruiters will notice you