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7 Easy Tips to Build a More Effective Resume and Cover Letter

08.13.15   |   Job Search & Career   |   Sean Cashman, Division Manager, at Treeline, Incorporated

how to write a strong sales resumeHands down, without hesitation, the 2 most frequently asked questions I get, as a recruiter, are:

  1. “How does my resume look?”
  2. “Can you take a look at my cover letter? “

For all of you who are struggling with building your resume and cover letter – this blog is for you.   I am going to lay out a few simple pieces of advice and direction for you that will help understand what a resume is, why they are necessary, and what hiring managers generally look for.  Will I answer all of your questions...probably not but you will have a different set of tools to help you figure it out. Here we go…

  1. Be Your Own Marketer

Your resume is your marketing material. It is simply your stat sheet of everything that you have done right in your career.  Be a braggart, boast, list off every win you have had in every role that you have played.  List your achieved goals, awards, recognitions, top rankings. This is the only time in your career where someone is going to legitimately care. Take advantage of it.

  1. Organize Your Resume.

When someone hands me a resume that is formatted incorrectly, I don’t think, “This person is not bright and does not know how to write a resume.”  Instead, my thought is, “This person is too lazy to go online and search for resume formatting examples.” Don’t be lazy, spend the time to create a great resume. Click here for a simple sales resume format.

  1. Remember: Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

Nobody, especially a salesperson, likes to read a resume so make it easy to read.  How do you do that? – Numbers.  I am talking about numerical characters – they draw the eye and they effectively articulate your successes. For example;

  • Activity: Consistently make 50+ calls/day, 50+ emails/day, successfully conduct 7+ face to face visits/week)
  • Revenue: I successfully closed $300K in net new business. I was 120% of my $500K quota in FY14, finishing at $600K.
  • Growth: I grew my territory by 130% YoY, from $500 in FY13 to $650K in FY14
  • Ranking: Consistently ranked Top 5 on my team of 50 Reps in the Division.
  1. Highlight Why You’re a Fit for a Specific Role

At the end of the day, your resume is a living document and it will always be changing.  If you are a multi-faceted sales executive, you may want to have a few different versions on hand that will be more marketable for one role or the other. If you are going after a leadership role, have a resume geared towards your successes in leadership. If you are also an individual contributor, you will want to have a version pointing out your successes in closing business.

  1. Read, Edit, Repeat.

I will read a resume with my candidate and I will notice a simple typo and point it out to him or her.  Most of the time the candidate will say, “Oh, I didn’t even notice that…good catch.  I don’t typically write resumes.”  Resumes are not a common occurrence but that does not excuse any mistakes or lack of attention to detail. This is one of the most important documents of your career and if you do not want to take time to make sure it is accurate and written correctly, then why would anyone else.

  1. Do/Don’t Write Cover Letters

As for your cover letter, I have one piece of advice – cover letters are out-of-date and hiring managers typically skip them and look at the resume.  But, if you are putting together a cover letter, cut and paste it into the body of the email you are sending. If you attach the cover letter to the email, it will most likely go unseen.

  1. Go Digital or Go Home.

That leads me to another point, you should only submit your resume and cover letter via online application or electronically via email.  Do not snail mail or fax your resume.  Even if someone does see it and call you, they will ask you to email a copy anyways.  Also make sure your resume is consistent across all digital formats. Need to watch a quick video on resume writing? Here's a refresher.

This is a start, use my advice and you will get more traction in the job market.  If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to visit Treeline’s site – we have tons of resources.  Happy hunting!

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