8 Tips for an Outstanding Outside Sales Resume

By Jane Hurst

Posted in Career

When you are looking for an outside sales position, it’s important to make sure that your resume is tailored to the specific job you are applying for. You don’t want to give out cookie cutter resumes that look like you only spent ten minutes writing them. You need your resume to stand out and catch your future employer’s eye.

When you’re ready to revisit your resume and take it to the next level, follow these eight tips for an outstanding outside sales resume.

1. Highlight Your Skills

Before you even begin thinking about your resume, take the time to list your skills on a sheet of paper.

It’s important to take this first step because it will give you the chance to reflect upon the skills that you excel at and which experiences honed those skills. List your hard sales skills like account management and territory development. List any applicable business or sales classes that you’ve taken. It will prove to your future employer that you have certain hard skills and it’ll give them an idea of what you know before you meet them.

Soft skills are also incredibly important. These are the personality traits that you want your future employer to know about. Soft skills include communication skills, leadership, and adaptability. These skills will not only tell your future employer how you’ll interact with prospects and customers, but also how you’ll interact with your colleagues and how you’ll fit within the team.

Use this skill listing exercise to create a list of specific hard and soft sales skills you have to tailor your resume even further.

2. Cover Letter

Once you have determined your skills, you need to write a cover letter.

It’s important that your cover letter is no more than four paragraphs long. The person reading your letter is going through a lot of cover letters every day, so the shorter you can sell yourself the better. Don’t let your CL be longer than 1 page.

Your first paragraph should have an introduction to yourself and state why you’re applying for that position at that specific company.

The second paragraph should be devoted to your skills, but be careful of how you promote them. This is a professional letter. You don’t want to oversell yourself in this section, but you should still promote your skills. Keep your language simple and avoid flowery advertising language.

The third paragraph should explain why you are a good fit for their company. You will need to research the company first and explain how your skills add value to their company. The more specific you are, the more you will impress them with your research and dedication.

The last paragraph should be a simple closure including your personal website, or LinkedIn profile, and an introduction to your resume.

Be sure there are no typos and, above all, do not plagiarize. This means that if you’re applying to more than one company, you need to write different cover letters for each application from scratch. Don’t just put a different company name on top.  A well researched and highly specific cover letter will get your foot in the door.

3. Design Your Resume

There are several options for your resume design. Pick a font that fits your personality and is aesthetically pleasing but still professional. Ariel, Times New Roman, and Calibri are great resume-appropriate fonts.

Your resume layout should make sense structurally and be easy to read. You don’t want to give the hiring manager any reason to not finish reading your resume. If your resume is cluttered and tires out the hiring manager’s eyes, they’ll likely to move you to the ‘no’ pile. You want to do what you can to make their lives easier.

You can find different resume template examples online that can help guide you through the process. Find one that suits you and go from there.

4. Employment

You should always list your most recent experience first. In each section, list the company name, your title, and how long you worked there. You should include the company name and address here in case your future employer wants to contact them.

The experience and metrics you list under each company is arguably the most important part of your resume. This is your chance to show your future employer what you’ve worked on in your past experiences and what you’ve achieved. Numbers and metrics are especially important for a sales resume.

Some guiding questions are:

  • Did you ever exceed your sales quota?
  • Were you ever named top salesperson of the year?
  • When were you promoted?
  • How much revenue did you bring in yearly?
  • How many accounts did you handle at a time and what was your customer satisfaction score?

The responsibilities and metrics you list here should be tailored for the role you’re applying for. Show the hiring manager exactly why you’re a perfect fit.

5. Skills

List your skills right after your experience on your resume or near the top of your resume in another column. Education and other sections can be listed in other areas, but you want to emphasize your skills first.

Remember your skills list? Now is the time to include the best skills from your list on your resume. The skills you list should be specific to the job you’re applying for. Job postings will usually give hints to what kind of hard and soft skills they’re looking for in their next hire. See what matches between your skill list and the job posting. Those are the skills you will want to list on your resume.

Your resume should only be one page long maximum (in the US), so narrow the skills listed to those that are most important to the outside sales position you’re applying for.

6. Education

In this section, list any education degrees you have. Start with your highest degree and go backward in levels of mastery. If you have any additional certifications, equivalencies, or any sales training you’ve taken, include them here.

Depending on your level of experience, you can even list college classes that are relevant to outside sales and you can bullet point them below your college entry. However, you should be careful about doing this if you’ve been out of college for 2+ years and if the position you’re applying for isn’t a big career shift for you.

Your high school and university-level education becomes less and less important as you gain real work experience. Your education is a great way to show your future employer how open and willing you are to learning.

7. Volunteering

The volunteer experience section is where you can share what you care about outside of work while still highlight your abilities for outside sales. Did you organize a yard sale for a non-profit group? Do you spend every weekend volunteering at a dog shelter? Both of these experiences show that you are organized, committed and good with people.

We hope that these tips are useful to you as you make your next career move. When you’re at your next company, show off how much you know about outside sales and the industry by introducing them to essential outside sales tools.


Author Bio: Jane Hurst is a writer, editor and avid traveler from San Francisco. Contact her at About.me.

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