Preparing an effective sales resume


The two resumes displayed here are an example of how a sales candidate with a good work record for many years closed recent gaps in his employment history.

Sample resume - original


Sample sales resume - with improvements

John W. Salesman had an excellent work history for 17 years, then struggled to find a “home” in recent years. This is an all-to-common occurrence with many industry professionals during the past 5 years. With this sales resume, there were several problems, most importantly the inconsistent work history since 2010. Also, the experience with Richardson was broken up and not shown optimally.

Mr. Salesman said that since 2010 he held one consulting position, one on contract and one as a W-2 employee. I have often seen people who have been in one industry for the duration of their career offer their services as a consultant in between periods of W-2 employment. That leaves the field open for them to take any acceptable work that comes along, regardless of its duration of pay arrangement. In John’s case, he didn’t set out to do this but in hindsight, he was doing just that. So, we combined it under the heading of “Consultant” for the revised resume and included some description of what he did.

The Richardson Electronics listing was the next mistake. John worked there for 17 years but you wouldn’t know it by the original resume. He held 2 positions there from 1990 to 1998, then was recruited away by one of their Manufacturer’s Reps. Richardson then recruited him back in 2001. In 2008, Arrow Electronics purchased Richardson Electronics so John didn’t change jobs then, only the company changed names. Now, it is appropriate to list his 17 years under Richardson RFPD, an Arrow Company… and detail the 3 positions listed under that employer.

Another important note is that the statement of 17 years with Richardson RFPD is listed on the first page of the resume. It is acceptable to have a resume longer than one page in length as long as you show key information like this on the first page. All 3 positions at Richardson are listed consecutively, followed by WES Tech Associates. The DHL experience was left off since it was at least 24 years ago. The only time John would include it at this point is if he were applying for a position at a shipping company and wanted to show direct industry experience.

A few other minor changes…

State all numbers that relate to sales volume and revenue in digital form. Four million gets lost in the text but $4,000,000 jumps off the page and draws the reader’s attention.

The font was changed from Times New Roman to Arial, which is a bit easier to read but the 11 point size remained. Don’t make the font size much smaller because little words start to disappear to people without perfect eyesight.

There was inconsistent use of margins, spacing and centering. Your resume needs to show that you have good attention to detail. Some readers pay attention to this more than others, but you don’t want to let small details trip you up. These things might seem trivial but can come back to bite the author if someone checks how the resume was written. We do that. When someone submits their resume electronically, which is almost always, all we need to do is activate the MS Word “reveal codes” function to see how the resume was set up and formatted. When it is apparent that someone doesn’t know how to center their name correctly or set up a simple header, it takes away from our confidence in that individual’s technical abilities.

Hopefully, this revised resume will open more doors for Mr. Salesman!

Craig Frank


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