The best sales resumes sell you as the best candidate for the job.
You need to show you have the drive, skills, and experience to succeed in the role you’re after.
The most efficient way is to demonstrate your potential impact to the company’s bottom line - and you need to make sure that’s all wrapped up in an engaging and memorable sales resume format.
This may sound like a tall order, but we’ll help you get there - with expert advice, plenty of samples and templates, and even a big data analysis to help you get the sales job you deserve.
“A compelling and engaging story is an amazing tool not only for advertising, but also for closing the sale.”
In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a sales resume:
✔ Choose the best sales resume template for your experience level
✔ Include technical and soft skills that reflect the job description
✔ The importance of crafting a sales resume summary or objective
✔ Create a sales resume with no experience that can still showcase relevant skills
✔ The right and wrong way to put education on a sales resume based on your experience level
Try one of our free sales resume templates.
Best performing sales associate resumes.
- Are very product-driven, e.g. they demonstrate passion for the product or the ability to learn more about it
- Combine good personality with customer service skills that get results
- Demonstrate genuine interest in the target industry through product knowledge and relevant detail
- Display expert communication skills in the real world context, and NOT routinely list them in the Skills section
- Showcase your personality through custom “Most proud” and “How I spend time: resume sections
Read our Sales Associate resume guide to learn more tips
Best performing sales representative resumes.
- Show that you can hit and exceed sales targets, communicate effectively, and manage your leads.
- Showcase your qualities as a sales representative clearly, through extremely specific examples.
- Display customer-related experience, e.g. account representative, support background, or any other experience that strengthens your ability to work with people’s needs.
- Make you memorable and prove culture fit by demonstrating your personality, e.g. by adding information about your passions and side projects.
Read our Sales Representative resume guide to learn more tips
Best performing sales manager resumes:
- Strike a balance between demonstrating strong sales skills and the skills it takes to manage a team.
- Demonstrate the impact you’ve brought to previous companies you’ve worked for. Don’t be shy about using the numbers that will help your case.
- Demonstrate leadership skills as a sales manager by talking about your team and the progress you’ve helped it achieve. This could be an increase in sales results, a role in hiring new employees, or mentoring existing ones.
- Include references from higher-ups. For a sales manager role, you can also add references from your team. This is a good way to show your managerial experience from their perspective.
- Demonstrate you can push to complete work on time and get these past few clients before the close of the quarter.
Read our Sales Manager resume guide to learn more tips
Best performing inside sales resumes:
- Feature excellent communication skills because Inside salespeople have limited means to demonstrate their product to customers
- Showcase proficiency with specific software, e.g. demo software, CRM systems, and account management software.
- Demonstrate clarity of writing and good articulation that transfers into writing sales emails and newsletters
- Display sales prospecting and upgrading skills in real world context. There should be a special blend of understanding customer readiness and evaluating prospect needs in best performing inside sales resumes.
Read our Inside Sales resume guide for more tips
Best performing car salesman resumes:
- Show why you’re better than the somewhat notorious car salesman stereotype
- Starts with being specific. Don’t just list your responsibilities from previous jobs, talk about the numbers. How many vehicles did you sell, what was the % improvement?
- Includes information about upselling and offering add-ons to customers -- after all, that’s where the bulk of your profit comes from.
- Covers communication and people skills just as well as hard sales numbers.
- Include examples of assessing customer needs and working with different types and tax brackets of clients.
Read our Car Salesman guide for more tips
Best performing entry level salesperson resumes:
A typical sales resume is going to focus heavily on their performance in previous sales roles. That’s where the challenge of an entry level salesperson resume comes in. Fortunately, there are other ways to show you’ve got sales skills and the right attitude to learn.
Consider whether you’ve had experiences which showed persuasion, determination, passion, or just ingenuity. These examples can demonstrate you have what it takes to thrive in a sales position even without any formal work experience.
Beyond this, you need to show you’re ready to learn. Show you’re eager to get out there and grow to really stand out.
Finally, you can show you have what it takes for an entry-level sales position with more than just the resume. Make sure your communication skills shine during the whole application process. Write your resume and cover letter in a concise but persuasive manner. Follow-up with an email to keep the hiring manager engaged and after an interview be sure to send a thank you letter.
Read our Entry Level Sales resume guide for more tips
Best performing outside sales resumes
Inside sales is becoming easier and more common, but often it’s not the right answer for high-ticket products. This is why the outside sales experts aren’t going anywhere.
Being good at outside sales requires a set of specific skills that should be visible in your resume. First, you should demonstrate flexibility, as the job of the outside sales representative is governed by meetings with clients.
It’s a dynamic job, so attention to detail and good organizational skills are vital for your success. You’ll convince the hiring manager not just by putting these skills in your resume, but by citing a situation or project where you demonstrated them.
Of course, just like any other sales job, you should include specific measurable results you’ve achieved in past positions. Be specific and add numbers that prove your efficiency.
Read our Outside Sales resume guide for more tips
Best performing director of sales resumes
A director of sales has a lot on their plate and their resume will need to reflect the increased number of requirements for such an important position.
The first and most important point you need to get across is that you improve the company’s sales strategy. Some key components, depending on the industry, would include pipeline volume growth, reducing sales cycle length, and ultimately increasing the average purchase volume and growing monthly sales revenue.
Make sure you include relevant numbers for each of the improvements you’ve worked on. After all, if you’re in sales, you know that numbers speak for themselves.
Your director of sales resume wouldn’t be complete without a focus on leadership skills. Talk about your experience managing sales teams, mentoring mid-level management, and improving team effectiveness.
The position of director of sales is multifaceted and there’s a lot of other information you may want to include on your resume. Take a moment and think what has made an impression on you when recruiting for your own sales teams. This can be specific sales results, but most often memorable candidates include something in their resume that shows their personality and demonstrates culture fit.
Read our Sales Director resume guide for more tips
How to create the best sales resume outline
Every sales job gets hundreds of resumes, and the hiring manager can only spend a few hours going through them all.
To get noticed in this pile of resumes, you need to rely on a resume that ticks off a bunch of boxes.
First, it needs to be visually attractive and memorable. This ensures that the hiring manager will stop leafing through that pile of candidates when they see your sales resume.
But the sales resume template needs to do more than that. It should not only attract their attention, but also make content easier to grasp.
In order to make this happen, you should start by mapping out the important sections you need for your sales resume.
Here’s the most common content in a sales resume outline:
- Sales Experience
- Soft Skills
- Technical skills
Adding your sales experience in reverse-chronological order alone won’t cut it. You need to use special resume sections that make your key achievements stand out.
Finally, your resume outline and template should naturally guide you to demonstrate your impact. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t just list sales responsibilities from past positions, mentioning the results of your efforts is going to have a far greater effect.
Plenty of those other hundreds of salespeople you’re competing with have had similar responsibilities. Only the best salespeople can show business impact.
Choose the sales resume layout that will work best
Before someone reads a single line of text from your resume, they’ll notice the layout and template.
So choose a template that sends the right message for you.
- Basic layout - this single column template is ideal for someone looking to get hired as an entry level salesperson. If you don’t have a ton of experience for your resume, this presents that, so it’s incredibly easy to read and doesn’t look light.
- Professional layout - use this template if you’re applying for a big corporation like Microsoft, or any other publicly traded company. Sales is all about making the right impression at the right time, presentation is paramount, so especially in those companies it’s good to use a professional sales resume layout.
- Simple layout - applying to a company that you don’t know much and you don’t want to risk getting rejected? Then this layout can work best for you. It makes it easy to show your sales experience and skills without catching the hiring manager off guard with a unique layout.
- Creative layout - Have you made a sales career from being unique or one of a kind? Or you’re applying for a sales or business development in a young startup. Then you should consider using something more colorful with more personal sections to show them how you stand out from the other saleswomen or salesmen.
Here’s what to consider when choosing the perfect sales resume layout:
- Be sure it presents your relevant sales qualifications clearly
- It should place your most important sales information at the top
- It should be easy to read and catch your eye
- If you have sales awards and achievements, be sure to highlight them in their own section
- It should work with ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems)
- Be sure to send it as a PDF
Like a great sales presentation, your sales resume layout should have a start, middle and end that is clear and has a great flow. If you can do this, then you’re already well along the way of closing your new sales position!
If you feel that you don’t have the level of sales experience that the company is looking for, then you can still consider using a creative layout. It’s a great way to promote your non-traditional sales experience and might help you get noticed and invited for an interview.
Let your sales resume header make a great introduction
Remember, competition is what sales is all about.
You’re always trying to get that sale before the competition does.
First impressions matter, no matter what you’re selling. Even yourself!
You don’t want your name, address and contact info to be the reason you’re not in the running, right?
A lot of salespeople don’t realize the importance of their sales resume header, so let’s talk about what you need.
A great resume header should include:
- Resume Title - include your top sales experience, with your sales career goals and add something unique about yourself and any sales awards you’ve received.
- Picture - It’s very common to include a photo for a sales or business development resume. Make sure it’s professional, as it will go a long way to give the HR department a good impression of you. You should always check your local rules about including photos on resumes, as in some regions and with some employers it isn’t allowed.
- LinkedIn - It’s hard to be a great salesperson today with the networking power of LinkedIn. You likely have an enormous network of great contacts there, so why not let the hiring manager see how connected you are!
- Email - You should always include your email. Corporate HR departments regularly reach out via email for interview details.
- Certifications - You might have a Certified Sales Person (CSP) certification. It is essential that you include this after your name in your sales resume header. It may be the difference maker between you and the others that get selected for the sales position.
So, if you put yourself in the place of the sales manager reviewing your sales resume you can see where the wrong example above is lacking.
They’re going through hundreds of resumes that just have a name and basic title.
The resume header is the first impression your resume makes, so don’t leave them wanting more!
Unless you have a social media account, other than LinkedIn, that is devoted to your profession or field of work it isn’t a good idea to include social media on a sales resume as it has no relevance to the position.
How to write a sales resume objective or summary
One often overlooked element of a resume is the objective.
The idea is to quickly give the reader some information about who you are and what your goal is. This enhances the rest of the resume by giving it valuable context.
So what’s the best way to go about this?
A good sales resume objective will highlight your desire to create Win-Win-Win situations that benefit your customer, your employer, and you as a salesperson.
A resume objective should be highly tailored to the sales job description. Look for keywords and make sure you clearly show how your experience overlaps with the needs of your potential employer.
Wow, when you see the two sales resume objectives, it’s obvious which isn’t going to make the sale!
The first example packs a powerful sales pitch in just 19 words!
It instantly lets the hiring manager know:
- You’re certified
- You’ve won sales awards
- Have over 10 years of sales experience
- Have worked on major global sales
- Your experienced in software and technology sales
So you can see how much power the sales resume objective has in getting you noticed. Right?
A good sales resume objective is actually serving a dual purpose - it shows what you have to offer as a candidate, but it also demonstrates your ability to align someone’s requirements with your proposition.
This is a key skill for a sales associate.
The resume header is the first impression your resume makes, so don’t leave them wanting more!
How should you include sales experience on your resume?
sales resume experience is all about hard numbers.
Make sure you clearly demonstrate what your impact was in past positions.
Focusing on this by citing hard numbers is far more effective than simply listing your responsibilities for each role. Have a look below at some great and not so great examples.
Resume Experience Examples
- Created and managed a new 10-people sales department that surpassed the top individual quota KPI’s for 3 years in a row
- Led a team of sales executives in a sales campaign that resulted in increased sales of $500k and the company exceeding its annual sales targets by 25%
- Received the 2017 Salesperson of the Year award. Selected from a list of 14 candidates.
First, you need to make sure your job title is as clear and impressive as you can. This isn’t the time to be humble!
While it’s not always possible to provide exact metrics of how you impacted some areas, you can see how this experience example mentions specifics whenever possible. It also highlights key areas where they excelled at managing teams and exceeding goals.
- Handled designated sales territory, regularly meeting sales goals
- Attended weekly national sales status calls
- Part of a team of 15 sales managers
Ok, this example doesn’t say anything other than you had a sales job and did the tasks you were asked to do. You can already see this resume going on the “no” pile can’t you?
Don’t simply list tasks. Doing this demonstrates a lack of motivation and that go-getter mindset that every sales position is looking for.
Additionally, make sure your resume tells a compelling story - this is where a full work history may be the right solution. It should represent a clear path, showing your progression over time.
But, what if your past positions don’t include “sales” in the title? Simply use the description and responsibilities outline to show any links to sales or its key skills - communication, organizational, and proactivity.
Finally, compare your experience section with the details listed in the job description for your sales position. This will remind you of anything you might’ve missed during the writing session and will give you hints on what achievements you’ll want to highlight further in your resume.
What if you need to create an entry level sales resume experience section?
So how can you create a sales resume experience section when you don’t have any?
Don’t worry, we’re going to show you how to do that now.
Maybe you just recently graduated from school? Or are making a change into a sales career?
You may think you don’t have the sales experience that is needed for a great sales resume, but in just a few moments you’re going to realize that you’ve got more sales experience than you think!
While you may not have been the VP of Sales for North America, you’ve most likely worked in an environment that required the necessary sales skills to make a great salesman or saleswoman. This experience could come from an internship, a side project, an organization you volunteer for, etc.
Here’s what you should do:
- Start by identifying the kinds of skills and experiences you think will be relevant for the sales job you’re applying for. For example, the posting may be looking for someone experienced in customer service or account management.
- Now, look back at your previous experiences to see what you may have done which could demonstrate that. In this example, maybe you worked in retail or another customer service job where you needed to listen to the customers needs and make sure they were always happy.
- Once you’ve got the right experience, emphasize it using the same language the job description did.
With these techniques, even if you’ve never had a job as a salesperson, you can still show you’re qualified for your first position.
Of course, if you’re creating an entry level sales resume, your education section is going to be of particular importance.
How to create the best sales resume education section
Sales is a unique profession that doesn’t usually put as much emphasis on education when being hired.
Don’t get me wrong, a strong degree or college diploma in business administration or marketing is going to help you for sure, it’s just not usually the #1 factor for getting or not getting the job.
If you’ve been in sales for several years, you won’t have to put as much emphasis on education on your sales resume as a newcomer or fresher in sales.
If you’re applying for your first job in sales then you’re going to want to expand the details of your education where possible.
Here’s what you can add to your education section:
- Relevant courses (here you can mention projects, skills acquired, lessons learned, etc.)
- Your GPA (if you think it’s relevant)
Here’s a look at how a sales industry veteran’s education looks compared to someone who is writing a resume with no sales experience.
This person graduated 10 years ago, so it’s not necessary to include many details about their education. This degree acts as an anchor or foundation that their sales experience was built on. In this case it serves to be a box that is checked by the HR team that you have a university education.
Here is an entry level sales education section example:
- Specialised in Biostatistics
- Worked phone banks to solicit donations during university pledge week
- Participated on the university debate team, placing in the top 5 at 4 tournaments
You can see that by expanding on the experiences you may have had at university creates a list of sales experience even when you didn’t actually have a paying job as a salesperson. Hiring manager take note of sales resumes that do this.
How to include skills on your sales resume
There are two basic approaches to including your skills. The way you go about it will depend on whether you’re describing technical or soft skills.
Let’s break down the difference and how to do each one the best way.
How to include technical skills on a sales resume
Most of the technical skills required in sales have to do with software for lead and customer management or presentations.
You’re either familiar with the software or you’re not. There isn’t really a need to elaborate beyond that.
This kind of a skills section is important because many ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) will screen your resume for certain keywords before a human ever sees it. A simple list of relevant technical skills required in the job description does the job perfectly.
The top sales resume technical skills
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Propeller CRM
- Google Hangouts Meet
How to include soft skills on a sales resume
While technical skills are becoming more and more important in sales, the industry is still build on soft skills.
But just listing them isn’t going to cut it. Anyone can say they have good people skills or are well organized.
To stand out, you need to show that you have those skills by giving examples.
Most big companies use ATS systems to automatically scan resumes for keywords. So, be sure you list your skills as closely to how they’re listed in the job description (more on how to do that later).
Here, you can see that someone scanning your resume can quickly see which soft skills you possess and that you’re serious about backing them up. Right away, this is going to distinguish you from most of the other sales resumes they’ve seen.
Whether you’re a retail sales associate working in a store or an outside sales manager with high-ticket clients, speaking to customers to uncover their needs and present them with the right offer is crucial.
This skill flows well into account management, which covers the long term communication with clients.
The end goal here is retaining high value users and upselling current customers to new services or add-on products. It’s where the bulk of profit for many businesses comes from, as this expansion revenue requires a lower investment from companies compared to acquiring completely new customers.
The top sales resume soft skills
- Dealing with Objections
- Cold Calling
- Public SpeakingPersonal Ethics
- Highly Driven
- Door to Door Sales
- Active Listening
- Pitch Delivery
- Emotional Intelligence
- Creating Good Rapport
- Dealing with Objections
- Cold Calling
- Public Speaking
- Relationship Building
- Writing Reports
4 steps to follow when adding skills to your sales resume
Follow these four steps to match what the employer is looking for to maximize your chances of getting hired:
- Read the job description carefully and write down all of the skills it mentions.
- Then list all of your own skills. These could be hard skills like knowing a language or soft skills like working well in groups.
- See which skills match up - they don’t necessarily have to be exact matches, to raise a flag for you.
- Don’t just list the keywords - demonstrate you have these skills by giving examples from your past experience.
When it comes to sales, there are specific skills that make for a great salesperson - these have to do mainly with communicating with customers and transforming leads into high-value customers.
Choosing the right technical and soft skills for a salesperson resume
Remember your sales resume isn’t just a resume, it’s an answer to a specific job.
So, you should make sure that sales skills and keywords you use are tailored to that job posting.
Let’s take some text from a Sales Representative job offered by The Kellogg Company:
- Selling, negotiating, and executing business plans – The data doesn’t lie. You’ll utilize your tried and true fact based selling techniques to grow Kellogg’s in-store sales.
- Patience + Persistence = Profit – It’s time to put your can-do attitude to the test. You’ll be a champion for Kellogg by implementing creative ideas and innovative solutions to overcome roadblocks, selling within the grocery landscape.
- Excel, PowerPoint, Nielsen…Oh My – Showcase your savvy working with these applications to create a compelling sales story at every store.
- Drive Results – You will be accountable for delivering on key metrics such as POS (Point of Sale) budget, call coverage, and maintaining “perfect shelf” discipline … just to name a few.
YOUR RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Access to an approved* personal smartphone with Android or IOS operating system connected to a cellular network while working
- Intermediate technology skills such as Microsoft Office Applications, Internet, Cellular use
- Strong problem solving, influencing and negotiation skills
- Demonstrated use of excellent interpersonal skills
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Bachelor’s Degree in business or related field
- Proficiency working in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint
- PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH WALMART
Now let’s pick out the keywords and skills that someone applying to this job should mention:
Selling, negotiating, creative ideas, innovative solutions, problem solving, negotiation, interpersonal skills (all of these should be backed up with examples)
Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Nielsen (these can be listed as technical skills)
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH WALMART (this should be highlighted with specific examples on how you worked with them)
This is only a portion of the requirements, but it’s already clear that you’ll have a lot of soft skills to demonstrate. When this happens, you can go beyond simply listing them in their own section and try to ensure they are mentioned and backed up in your experience, education, or other resume sections.
Adding certifications to your sales resume
This can be done similar to your technical skills section, or you can add CSP after your name at the top if that’s your only relevant certification. Just be sure to mention any certifications the job offer specifically asks for or mentions.
Top Certifications to Include on a Sales Resume
- Challenger Sales
- Spin Selling
- Sandler Training
- Certified Sales Professional CSP
Other sections you might want to consider
As a sales manager, sales associate or business development director you know that having a unique selling proposition is a major advantage.
Adding creativity and personality is your way to do this on a sales resume.
Before you go too crazy with this creativity you have to keep in mind that your resume is going to be read by a human with their own preferences and biases. As much as possible, you have to craft your resume to match that person or organization.
If you know the company you’re applying to is very traditional, then keep your resume that way. If the company pushes culture and personality a lot on its website and in the way it presents itself, it makes sense to reflect this on your own resume.
One way to approach it is to consider culture fit. Emphasize elements of your personality that match with the company. Just like with the experience above, you want the person reading your resume to get the feeling “This person seems perfect for us.”
For example, if you see the company likes to go hiking for an annual retreat, mention that you love to hike. Small details like this can help make you feel like the perfect candidate.
Or, if there were specific books or motivational speakers which had a major impact on how you approach sales, listing them is a great way to combine a bit of personality and some insights into what kind of salesperson you are.
For even more tips and advice about additional sections in your resume for sales jobs, check out our guides:
- Language skills
- Hobbies and interests
- Volunteer work
- LinkedIn on Resume
- Resume Awards
Cover letter for sales representative
In case the job description says you need to provide a cover letter, do include yours. Otherwise, you can always leave it out.
Nowadays, job application forms include questions like “why do you want to work here”, or “explain why you’re the best fit for us”, which makes you wonder are cover letters really necessary?
Still, they help you tell your story in a way that, if written right, it’s captivating and engaging.
In any case, you should pay close attention to the following tips when a cover letter is a must:
- Make sure you go over a cover letter checklist, not to forget what your cover letter should say;
- Match the cover letter design with your resume’s;
- Address your cover letter properly;
- Keep an eye on your cover letter length;
- Use a proper cover letter ending;
If you need more inspiration, check out this example Sales cover letter.
Key takeaways: what makes a great sales resume?
- Choose a resume layout that sends the message you want and fits your experience level.
- Create a resume header that shows your sales certifications and makes sure you’re easy to contact.
- Make sure your resume objective or summary is very specific about your sales experience, accomplishments, and future goals.
- Your sales experience has detailed metrics and specific examples showing the impact you’ve had in your role.
- Any soft skills you list are backed up with examples.
- You list all the technical skills you have which match the job description.
- Your resume has a bit of personality designed to show you have the right soft skills and will be an excellent culture fit.