How to describe sales experience on a resume

It’s a big question. How do you put that sales experience in your resume? For if you can put it in their correctly, then you’ll most certainly wow your audience – but put it in their wrong and they won’t be impressed at all. In other words, it can make and break your chances for certain jobs.


So how do you make it make you? Well, the best strategy to use is to actually use some of that valuable salesmanship that you’ve learned on the job. Use some of the big tricks that you learn while selling, to boost the quality of your CV.

What am I talking about? Well, read on.

Features and benefits

The first thing that you’ve probably learned from your sales days is that if you discuss features (this computer has a phenomenal CPU) you’ll leave your customer lukewarm. If you talk about benefits (When you look at pictures on this computer the picture is so clear, you’ll actually feel you’re there) then you’ve got them.

When you’re writing up your resume you’ve got to use the same strategy. You’ve got to sell them on the benefits of your salesmanship. What do I mean with that? Well, a feature of your salesmanship might be ‘I worked there for 3 years as a senior salesperson. Wow. Did you? Let me just grab my pillow, before I read the next line on your resume.

But if you talk about what you actually accomplished, ‘I boosted sales at my outlet by 20% and sold more than most of the rest of the team combined’ and you’ll be sure that people will sit up and take notice. So find a way to list your sales achievements and how bringing you into the team will boost their company and you’ll be a lot closer to having that job.

Of course, that’s not enough.

Put your personality on your cover letter

Being good at sales is a lot about what personality you have. For that reason, make sure that this is on full display in your cover letter. What do I mean with that? Don’t try to sound like an academic. Don’t use overly complex sentences or big words because you think it makes you sound smart. It doesn’t[1].

Instead, the trick is to sound like you. After all, if you can use that to sell electronics, cars, or fridges in Alaska, then it will be enough to sell you as well. So bank on that. Focus on finding ways to showcase who you are. Then the people reviewing your resume can make the call of whether that will suit how they sell.

This has the added advantage that if you wouldn’t have been a good fit for the company, you won’t waste your time going through the process of finding that out. People will know instantly and you can move on to more promising positions.

The key is enthusiasm and showing off your research

Often, sales is down to picking up on subtle cues in your customers so that you know what motivates them. You can do the same with a company that you’re applying to. Research what they do, why they do it and how they do it. Then, send those signals back to the company when you make your pitch.

Use the same keywords in your cover letter and your resume that they use in their job description. This will demonstrate that you actually read what they’re interested in and will also help any computer programs they use the filter you into the correct pile (namely the ‘invite for interview’ pile).

Also, be optimistic and full of praise. Flattery works really, really well[2]. So use that to your advantage, by telling the company why you respect what they do and how they do it. Also, note that you might want to put in a subtle reference to their great hiring practices. After all, it’s generally HR who gets to see your resume first.

Last words

The trick is to use what you’ve got. If you can do that effectively, then you’ll be able to make waves wherever you apply. After all, the sale is a huge part of every business and if you excel at that, no matter if you’re writing a resume for mall jobs, or to sell office supplies over the phone, you’ll be able to get noticed.

Of course, there are other sales strategies you can use as well. Perhaps, build a yes ladder[3], or use the foot in the door technique[4]. Strategies like these work and will make selling yourself that much more effective.


Useful links:
[1] How to look smart
[2] Flattery will get you far
[3] Foot in the door technique: How to get people to seamlessly take action
[4] The Scientifically-Proven Method For Getting People To Say “Yes”

Author: Veronica Wright

Hi, I'm Veronica from Resumes Centre. I'm here to share all my struggles and experience about daily routine and give you as much career tips as possible.