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Hot Tips For Resume Tips That Work For Sales Executives

Apr 8, 2008
It's Not Bragging - It's Data

Employers need information to determine you are the right person for the job. The interview and the resume are the conduit for that information. If you don't let employers know you are the best candidate for the job, how will they find out?

One coaching client, I will call him Marty, is a sales executive with excellent credentials. He built low turnover teams who broke quota and attended president's club events (top performers only) for 16 years. Yet those accomplishments were not on his resume.

He explains, "I'm not a bragger. I just wasn't raised that way." During a practice interview, he responded to "How did you and your teams deliver such high performance so consistently, regardless of where you worked?" with the generic, "I coach, teach and motivate" not realizing his answer was not compelling. Every executive is expected to coach, teach and motivate.

After a lot of probing, we determined his management techniques included:

* Holding weekly one-on-one meetings to review forecasts and learn what was needed to close business.

* Clearing the way so sales force could focus on sales, not internal issues.

* Field visits with each sales person to review presentations and accounts.

* In depth product training.

* Assisting with final negotiations and closing big deals.

* Constantly evaluating performance and intervening when required.

* Encouraging focus on key accounts resulting in 200% increase in revenue.

These are exactly tasks employers use to evaluate candidates for sales executive positions. Marty's accomplishments are impressive and needed to be highlighted in the resume and be part of his interview. His version of his resume simply stated he has 25 years' successful sales experience and hoped to find a new employer where he can contribute: Standard introduction to a resume and it included no data to seize the employer's interest.

When Marty included his accomplishments, it compelled the reader to learn more:

* Generated revenue of $200+ million in a four year period

* Managed and grew a sales team of over thirty sales executives who achieved account penetration of 800+ new-name Fortune 1000 accounts in a five year period

* Grew regional sales to Fortune 500 clients from $6.0 million to $60+ million/year in less than nine years

* Generated over 35% of company revenue with a team of eight

Now that's data employers can use. It wasn't until Marty realized it is data, not bragging, that he was able to include the information in his interviews. He used these guidelines:

1. Organize your resume and interview to include your accomplishments.

2. List accomplishments in terms of dollars, time saved or other metrics for success.

Numbers and statistics are required to demonstrate accomplishments. It is not enough to say, for instance, that you created a business plan and presented it to the Board. That it was accepted, implemented and delivered measurable results is what wins you an interview or a job offer.

3. From that list, take each bullet and list all the tasks you performed but omit any words like managed, oversaw, was responsible for, coached, mentored or guided. Instead use words like negotiated, conducted, created, delivered, provided, developed, monitored, achieved, sold, introduced, built or generated.

4. List all metrics for success that include time saved, money saved or revenue generated and low turn over if appropriate. Statistics that demonstrate % of company revenue generated or speed of new product introduction and numbers that demonstrate effectiveness capture attention.

5. From these lists, extract those accomplishment and tasks in which you believe employers would be most interested. Create bullets and use the most impressive in the Summary section of your resume.

Once you are comfortable with stating your accomplishments with a metric, practice introducing the data into conversation. It is exactly what prospective employers need to learn about you. When you lead with accomplishments, you give the employer reason to talk to you to learn more. The company has a need to hire. It is your job to help the employer see you are the right person. Remember, it's not bragging, it's data.
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