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Sales Resume Example & Writing Guide

A proven job specific resume example + writing guide for landing your next job in 2022. You can edit this Sales resume example to get a quick start and easily build a perfect resume in just a few minutes. Just fill in your details, download your new resume & start your job application today!
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Sales Resume Example & Writing Guide
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A great sales resume is like the best of your initial pitches: It gets you in front of the client (or hiring manager) so you can make the sale. Get your presentation in order and you will be on your way to your next great sales gig.

You know it takes time to make a final sale, or get that job offer, but you also know your initial contact (that’s your sales resume!) can make or break your sale. 

Take advantage of Resume.io’s heavy-duty resources for job seekers: our resume guides and resume examples for 350+ professions, plus an intuitive resume builder. Let us power the most important sales pitch you will make: the one that closes the deal on your next great job!

This resume guide, along with the corresponding resume example will cover the following topics:

  • What does a sales professional do?
  • How to write a sales resume (tips and tricks)
  • The best format for a sales resume
  • Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • Professional resume layout and design hints.

What does a sales professional do?

Sales professionals sell, of course, but there’s more to it than offering a product or service and walking away. Sales professionals must know everything there is to know about what they are selling. But they also have to understand their clients, the market and what differentiates what they sell from other like products.

Some salespeople may generate their own leads, while others will either receive leads from a marketing department or have people walk into their place of business looking to buy. Salespeople may have one client who they are responsible for, which means they must have a great relationship with that client and be able to anticipate and address their needs and any problems that arise. Other salespeople have repeat clients or must continuously find new sales targets.

Statistical insight

The seven types of sales jobs*

Not all sales jobs are alike. Here are seven different roles for salespeople:

  1. Inside sales: Responsible for serving current clients and maintaining the company’s relationship with them.
  2. Outside sales: Face-to-face selling to customers outside the office.
  3. Sales support: Work in a team to support the salespeople.
  4. Client services: Ensure customer satisfaction and increase sales to existing customers. Similar to inside sales.
  5. Lead generation/development: Research and network to obtain new business contacts that may become customers.
  6. Business development: Sell, sell, sell by any means including door-to-door or cold-calling.
  7. Account manager: Focus on existing accounts and continue to sell these accounts new services or products.

*Source: Sales Force Search

Sales job market and outlook

The sales job market is very much dependent on what you sell. The advertising sales industry is completely different from the car sales market (see our car sales resume example and guide for more details).

Many high-tech companies are ramping up after pandemic layoffs, and salespeople are needed, but difficult to find, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s not true in all sales areas.

If you are in retail sales, your prospects are not great. During the pandemic, the market share of online sales jumped to 16.1% of U.S. retail sales, up from 10.5% in 2019, according to xSellco, an etail software company and subsequently, retail sales jobs are predicted to grow at a sluggish 2% in the next decade. The demand for real estate agents and wholesale and manufacturing sales reps, likewise, will see a 2% increase. If you are in retail or real estate, check out our shop assistant resume sample or our real estate agent resume sample to give you a boost!

Insurance salespeople will have it a little easier, with a 5% predicted increase in demand, followed by financial salespeople at 4%. The brightest spot here is for those with technical expertise. The market for sales engineers, or people who sell complex scientific and technological products and services, will rise 6%.

Statistical insight

Sales salaries are often driven by commission, so how much you make depends on how good you are at selling and what you are selling. Retail salespeople earn a median of $27,320 a year. At the other end of the spectrum, sales engineers earn $108,830. 

According to Salary.com, the mean typical salary range for a salesperson is $54,915-$64,154.

How to write a sales resume

The very first step in writing your sales resume is understanding what sections to include. Your CV should contain the following elements:

  • The resume header
  • The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • The resume skills section
  • The education section

Within that framework, you need to address the sales needs of your prospective employer in the tone that matches the company’s style. Just as you research your clients before making your pitch, you should research the company here and aim your pitch directly at the hiring manager or your prospective boss. This has the dual purpose of answering the questions, “Will you fit into our culture?” and “What can you do to lift my sales numbers?”

A great resume sells you as well as you sell the products and services you represent. Take these steps to help ensure you get the interview:

  • Directly address the needs of the company and show how you can fill those needs with skills you have already demonstrated.
  • Make a professional first impression with a clean, easy-to-read sales resume layout and design.
  • Focus on the keywords and phrases you need to include to avoid being filtered out by the ATS.

ATS optimization

Almost all large companies use an Applicant Tracking Systems to scan and sort resumes. To help you beat the algorithms designed to filter out weaker resumes, make sure you personalize you application for each job. Here are some steps to make that process easy:

  1. Analyze the job listing and highlight all needed skills and attributes
  2. Mark the ones you have
  3. Check you resume to make sure they are included at least once
  4. Use exact keywords and phrases from the job listing.

Targeting not only helps you beat the ATS, but it tells the hiring manager that you want that specific job.

Choosing the best resume format for sales

Here we recommend you stick with the most popular resume format: reverse chronological order. Why? Recruiters and hiring managers like it best. They know exactly where to find the information that is important to them and they can quickly see where you are in your career right now.

This format is also favored by ATS, so when you apply online, the scanning process will most likely place your information into the correct boxes.

If you are a new entry into the workforce, check out the resume formats we suggest as chronological alternatives or hybrids. Mature job seekers shifting careers might also find these ideas useful.

Resume summary example: your elevator pitch

Within your sales resume, the summary section is the one place you can show off your smooth sales talk. The rest of your resume consists of bulleted items, but here you have the freedom of 3-4 sentences. Describe your sales style while you wow them with your sales numbers. 

No need to repeat what you will detail in your employment history section, but do shine a spotlight on one or two of your greatest sales achievements. You want to pat yourself on the back a bit while staying on the conservative side of bragging.

You can find a resume example for your summary section below.

Summary section resume example

Experienced and motivated Sales Development Professional with five years of experience in high level sales environments. Proven track record of expanding businesses by successfully networking and forming smart partnerships. The ability to cultivate key relationships and consistently generate new business. Self motivated and driven to help increase the prosperity of a business while working to enhance their reputation. 

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Employment history sample: deliver the goods

The employment history section of your sales resume is where reverse chronological order comes in. Starting with your most recent position, you will detail all you have accomplished. You’re a salesperson, so you know numbers count. Use them here to back up your sales assertions.

Present yourself as a person of action with strong words that illustrate your activity. 

Expert tip

Try some of these high-powered words to boost your employment history section.

accelerated persuaded revitalized
exceeded championed propelled
sparked promoted yielded

Below you will find an adaptable employment history resume example.

Employment history section resume example

Experienced and motivated Sales Development Professional with five years of experience in high level sales environments. Proven track record of expanding businesses by successfully networking and forming smart partnerships. The ability to cultivate key relationships and consistently generate new business. Self motivated and driven to help increase the prosperity of a business while working to enhance their reputation. 

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Sales CV skills example: attributes in demand

What makes you a great salesperson? Can you explain it in your 4-7 top skills? That’s what you are tasked with doing in the skills section of your sales CV. Sales takes top flight interpersonal skills , but you also need a depth of knowledge in your industry vertical and be a savvy user of sales applications.

Create a list that speaks directly to the needs of your targeted employer (and the ATS!) by reviewing the job listing and your research one more time. Choose skills that match closely with those the new position demands.

Try to find a balance between your emotional intelligence and your technical expertise.

Expert tip

What is emotional intelligence and why should you list it as a skill? Here are the five main components of emotional intelligence, according to psychologist Daniel Goleman:

  1. Self-regulation
  2. Self-awareness
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

Below you will find a skills section resume example.

Skills section resume example
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Team Management
  • Business Development
  • Innovation
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Sales education resume example

You’ve reached the easiest section of your sales resume to compile. List your high school and any college degrees you have. If you have earned a master’s degree or more, you can drop your high school.

If you have certifications or have completed sales seminars that enhance your resume, you may add them here as well. 

Expert tip

As networking may be a large part of your job, consider adding an Affiliations section. If you are a sales star, you may call this section Affiliations and Accolades and add any awards you have earned.

Below you will find an education section resume example as a formatting guide.

Education section resume example
  • Bachelor of Communications, Manhattan College, New York
  • Aug, 2010 - May, 2014
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Resume layout and design: showcase your style

You know how important first impressions are, so apply that knowledge here. Use these helpful hints for presentation to enhance the look of your sales resume.

Think easy-to-read. While you want to capture attention, your real goal is to get your document read. Keep your margins at one inch and use a clear, legible font. Leave ample white space.

Straddle the line between eye-catching and glaring. Minimize the use of color and avoid graphics and images. Save the flash for your sales presentations.

Expert tip

The key components of your resume are your contact information and your most recent job and title. This is where hiring managers look first, so make sure these items are easy to find.

Finally, make sure your resume text and formatting are free of typos and errors. Using an online builder tool such as the one from resume.io which has a built-in spellchecker and one of our resume templates to get your job hunt going quickly.

Key takeaways for a sales resume

  • The demand in many areas of sales is sluggish, but high tech and scientific sales jobs are going unfilled.
  • Use your excellent communication and sales skills to sell your prospective employer on you.
  • Focus each resume on your targeted job by personalizing your sales resume to address the needs of each employer.
  • Take advantage of the online resume builder to help you seal the deal on you new job!
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