You’re a star seller with multiple skills under your belt. You’re outgoing, dependable, and care deeply about your customers. You live and breathe sales.
When you send your resume, you can’t sell yourself well enough.
Somehow you find that demonstrating you can handle a cold call and hit sales quotas is no longer sufficient.
The future of sales is here and it will require you to adapt to the rapidly progressing technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and chatbots to stay relevant.
Buyers want to deal with Subject Matter Experts (SME), not salespeople. So salespeople need to become domain experts or work with their own SMEs to help buyers move forward toward their goal.
According to Gartner Research, 2015, by 2020 85% of interactions between businesses will be executed without human interaction - reducing the need for many sales roles. While that holds true, as soon as a sale gets more complex than a simple transaction, customers want to interact with people.
A modern customer, however, no longer requires the help of a traditional sales associate and is instead interested in a ‘trusted advisor’ - especially when they encounter a problem with the product/service.
We are also seeing a distinct shift away from generalist salespeople to salespeople becoming business and domain experts. A modern sales associate is well versed in the digital experience, omnichannel customer experience, and more.
These dramatic changes require sales associates to step up and elevate their game if they are to survive.
To start off, you’ll need to boast a resume that places you above the competition and helps you navigate the uncertainty and complexity of the modern sales landscape.
Our sales associate resume guide provides clear and concise steps to putting together a stellar resume.
What you’ll learn here:
- Go through a real job winning Sales Associate resume
- How to make a positive first impression
- How to Write a Sales Associate Resume objective
- How should you frame your sales associate experience
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How to write a sales associate resume
Imagine if you went into every sales call or meeting with an identical pitch.
You wouldn’t last a week.
But that’s how most sales associates approach their resumes. You need to carefully choose your sections and how you frame your experience to appeal to the exact position you’re applying for. Fortunately, you do that every day in your sales work, so you know the drill.
Sales associate resumes tend to be fairly straightforward, with only 3-5 sections depending on whether you include certifications and education.
The top sales associate resume sections
- Sales experience
- Sales associate resume objective
- Sales skills
That said, you have limited time and space to make an impression, so make it count.
You header is your first impression
Those few bits of information at the top of your resume are your shirt, your handshake, your haircut, all the little details that can seem unimportant but together form the basis of a strong first impression.
In other words, make your resume header count!
Adding a linkedin profile (more on that in the Pro Tip below) and including a certification next to her title are small but important details. Again, like a nice outfit or a strong handshake, they’re not going to land you the job but they’re going to make a strong first impression.
If you’re applying for a B2B sales position, linkedin is a must. Include a link to your profile, but also try and develop a network you’re proud of there as the platform is becoming increasingly important in this type of sales. Showing you’re a strong networker will be a big advantage.
How to Write a Sales Associate Resume Objective
Sales associate positions require highly focused professional summaries that demonstrate sales experience and results.
Even if your sales experience is widely varied, stay laser-focused on your accomplishments and the value you can bring to the specific sales associate position you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying to be a retail sales associate, use your professional summary to emphasize your experience working in a busy environment with a focus on direct customers interactions and problem-solving.
Don't use the same professional summary for every job application. Look for keywords in the job posting that are related to your specific skill set and then use those within your professional summary.
A great sales associate professional summary, such as the one above, will usually refer to the length of your sales associate experience and any retail management or sales leadership experience you have. Consider highlighting the average sales that you recorded in a typical hour or shift, highlighting any increases in sales and sharing examples of excellent or outstanding customer care. Use numbers wherever possible, highlighting the number of customers you worked with, proficiency in point of sale software systems (POS) or database user interface and query software, as well as knowledge and results in sales and marketing, in order to showcase your results and accomplishments.
I can guarantee that whoever is reading your resume is sick of vague language like this. It tells your potential employer close to nothing about your specific sales experience, skills that make you stand out, or the value you’ll bring to the company. It also relies on overused resume buzzwords like ‘people-oriented’ and ‘hard-working’ with no accomplishments, numbers, or examples to back it up. It also points out you’re looking for a job, which is obvious enough if you applied.
Use the professional summary in your sales associate resume to share the most important things you want your employer to know that might not appear elsewhere on your resume or to emphasize your most impressive achievements.
How should you frame your sales associate experience?
Focusing on results instead of duties and responsibilities is a sure way to make your sales associate resume stand out.
Make use of bullet points and cut out anything that’s not essential. Use your limited space to mention the high points of each position. List quantifiable achievements in a numerical manner if possible.
Consider the following sentence. Using a powerful action verb, coupled with a tangible, numerical result, produces a powerful statement.
“Implemented store layout changes that improved traffic and average customer time spent in store by 25%.”
Let’s see the power of this technique in action:
Now see what that same experience looks like without the impactful and specific language:
Does your sales associate resume need an education section?
There are no standard education or experience requirements for sales associate positions, but many employers prefer candidates with at least a high school diploma.
In-house job training for sales associates is often available in most companies. Such training may last from a few days to a month and it covers customer service principles, company procedures and protocols, and basic cashier duties.
Positions involving the sale of more advanced or complex products may require a college degree.
In so many words, if you have a degree, you may as well include it. But, it shouldn’t be at the top of your resume. A specific education section, might not be needed.
How should you decide which skills to include and emphasize?
Start by listing all your professional skills. Then, read the job description carefully and look for skills-related keywords. Make a note of those too and plan out your skills section.
Remember, that it should contain a list of your hard skills and a separate lisft of soft skills. Don't cramb them both in a single list! You should avoid common resume mistakes like that one.
Bonus points if you comb through the company website and socials too to get a better sense of what it is they’re looking for. Check how many of the skills mentioned in the job description are on your list. Those are the skills you’ll want to emphasize. Whenever possible, provide evidence for those skills in your resume summary and work experience section. As automation becomes the norm, the skills that are most in demand in sales are all about interacting with other people. These include team-building, idea generation, and collaborating to come up with creative solutions to problems.
The more expertise you can develop in empathy, teamwork, and communication, the more ‘future-proof’ you’ll be.
10 soft skills to include on a sales associate resume
- Enthusiasm for the product and the company brand
- Customer service
- Product knowledge
- Attention to detail
- Positive attitude
- Stress management
4 Hard Skills to Include on a Sales Associate Resume
- Point of Sale Systems (POS)
- Assisting customers with online orders
- Money handling and basic math skills
- Data analysis
How to include your certifications on your resume
Skillful sales associates typically prove their prowess by their track records, not by accumulating certifications.
However, certifications can help differentiate you from the crowd, especially in an industry as competitive as sales.
Certifications can also help you gain confidence, which can spill over into the rest of your application process and positively impact the hiring outcome.
Finally, employers are always looking for people who never stop learning and advancing their knowledge and skills.
Include certifications only if they are relevant to the sales job to which you are applying, they’re real and recognized, and you have actually earned them and have proof that you did.
Lead your sales associate resume with a certification that is in high demand by employers looking for sales talent. Labor market research websites such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics often publish data about which certifications are in demand for a particular career.
The top 6 sales associate certifications
- Challenger Sales
- Spin Selling
- Sandler Training
- Rise Up
- Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP)
- Certified Sales Associate (CSA)
What are the tricks for the best sales associate resume?
- Focus on showing you can become a domain expert and help customers achieve their goals
- Use simple and well-formatted design and layout
- Focus on your biggest past sales accomplishments
- Quantify whenever possible
- Placing the most important parts of your resume first, creating a funnel of priority
- Use action verbs to generate interest and highlight your accomplishments
- Pay special attention to your professional summary - keep it brief and punchy
- Match your sales skills list with the skills required in the job posting