A dynamic car sales resume is like the ignition switch for your journey with potential employers. Set the wheels in motion towards your desired destination — the perfect car sales job — with a resume that resonates right away.
Just as it takes time for vehicle shoppers to make up their minds about the purchase you help them make, dealerships aren’t likely to rush the selection process for filling car sales positions. But in both instances, decisions about you are formed instantly. It might take minutes with a prospective car buyer, but you only have seconds to impress a car sales hiring manager.
Everything you need to launch your job quest can be found at resume.io. As a powerful resource for job seekers around the world. we’ve developed more than 300 occupation-specific resume guides and resume examples , backed by an easy-to-use resume builder. We offer the same tools for writing great cover letters, plus advice on a vast range of hiring topics to make your next career move successful.
Let us help you confidently express yourself and impress employers with a car sales resume that performs and delivers. This guide, along with our car sales resume examples, will cover the following topics:
- What does a care sales professional do — the job role and outlook
- General writing tips for a winning car sales resume
- The best format for structuring your car sales resume
- Advice on each resume section: header, summary, work history, education and skills
- Professional resume layout and design hints
What does a car sales professional do?
Not everyone is cut out for a car sales career, but for many who go down that road without looking back, the rewards are tremendous. Either way, it’s not something you must necessarily learn the hard way. Having the right idea about car sales and enough self-insight to picture yourself behind this wheel before buckling up will make the drive to potential fulfillment much smoother.
An aptitude for sales and business alone won’t take you very far. But an honest and thorough inventory of your inner driving forces can make all the difference in avoiding roadblocks and potholes. Common misperceptions about the job may be due to the number of moving parts that consumers are oblivious to on the buying end of a car sales transaction. “Helping profession” is likely not the most obvious occupational lingo that springs to mind when people free-associate notions of what car salespeople do. Yet, going out of your way to be helpful in many more ways than one is what it takes to achieve success and satisfaction.
Expert sources from Glassdoor.com emphasize the relationship-building expectation that car salespeople fulfill in their customer-dealership liaison role. Every vehicle sales transaction balances their obligations as a dealership employee with the trust and confidence they instill by offering buyers information, suggestions and comfortable amenities. The goal of all negotiations on the customer’s behalf is the best deal for both sides.
How much do car salespeople earn?
Car sales professionals generally earn a base annual salary, plus commission as a percentage of dealer profits for vehicles sold or leased. Precise income data is hard to come by because of inconsistencies in the way dealerships pay their sales staff and the way workforce data is collected.
For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sometimes lumps together the average pay amounts for car sales professionals, technical workers and other service staff in the same retail vehicle dealerships category. Or it may be mixed in with other BLS data for all retail sales sectors. According to BLS data published by Study.com, $45,420 was the mean annual salary for retail car salespeople in 2020.
September 2021 payscale.com data indicates that the average annual base salary for U.S. car salespeople is $40,300. The overall salary range, from $21,000 to $95,000 factors in bonuses, profit sharing and commissions.
Looking for other resume examples? Let these related sales cv samples advise you:
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What is the job outlook for car sales?
It’s safe to disregard rumors about the occupation’s death by a thousand Google clicks. Car salespeople are decidedly not obsolete, even if their modern raison d'être started shifting at the turn of the century. Car sales advancement opportunities can be attractive, including for those seeking management promotion. At all levels, job mobility is a competitive success factor that finds employers recruiting strong sales performers away from each other.
Joe Santos at motorbiscuit.com regards the “car salesmen” stigma as a throwback to the days when they held the upper hand over vehicle pricing information. Internet access to resources like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds changed all of that. Prospective buyers nowadays can show up armed and eager to negotiate with more thoroughly researched knowledge about a specific vehicle than the salesperson has offhand.
There’s no denying that online consumer access to vehicle pricing has lifted that layer of mystique from the car sales process. And price may be less pivotal today as a negotiation show-stopper. But this takes nothing away from the infinitely competitive nature of the business. As long as competition exists in any marketplace, the need for qualified sales professionals will not disappear or diminish. And at all levels, job mobility is a competitive success factor that finds employers recruiting strong sales performers away from each other.
As new-vehicle sales continued rebounding from the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown fallout, National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) studies were optimistic about sustained U.S. market resilience and growth. The association’s bright outlook for an upturn from early in 2021 was rewarded when monthly sales rates in April hit a 15-year high. But shrinking inventories due to a worldwide digital chip shortage have caused sharp sales declines in the third quarter. That is not to say consumer demand is lacking.
How to write a car sales resume
What your car sales resume should have in common with those submitted by other job applicants is the structure. It should fit on a single page and include all of these elements:
- Employment history section
- Education section
- Skills section
Thought and care should go into an eye-pleasing header design that clearly identifies who your resume belongs to, your occupation and contact information. It might also include social media links and a photo. For tips, see the later guide chapter on resume layout and design.
Before elaborating on how to write the summary, employment history, education and skills sections, one at a time, here is some general advice for ensuring your resume scores high on all counts, and is actually read in the first place.
A properly tuned car sales resume can propel you through the hiring fast lane, with no need for detours or shortcuts. Stick to this winning two-part formula:
Write every word of your car sales resume with the specific employer in mind, adapting the style and tone as you would communicating in person with a customer. Investigate everything you can about the job you are applying for: the place and the people. Especially try to put a name and a face to the hiring manager, and whoever will be your boss if it’s not the same person. It’s a simple matter of reviewing and revisiting the listed job requirements exactly as posted. Do additional research on your own: online, in person or in conversations with people familiar with the dealership.
Many hiring organizations have adopted applicant tracking systems ( ATS ) to sort through dozens or hundreds of online job applications. Algorithms scan each resume for keywords — usually matching the advertised job description — and rank it against all others. Only the highest-ranking resumes pass through this auto-filter for review by human hiring staff. The rest are deftly eliminated.
Avoid the ATS scrapyard
Ensuring your car sales resume is read by a human recruiter is not as tricky or daunting as it seems. It’s a simple matter of reviewing and revisiting the listed job requirements exactly as posted. The more times you scrutinize the wording the better. Incorporate as many of the exact same nouns, verbs and modifiers in your resume text as possible, but in your own language and context. It has to sound natural and relevant to your qualifications.
Choosing the best resume format for car sales
The most commonly used, failsafe chronological resume format is ideal in almost all job search circumstances. It provides the most straightforward overview of your career highlights in the employment history section.
But if the car sales position you’re pursuing would be a radical departure, or your job background has not followed a linear path of employee positions, you might want to consider an alternative resume format . Candidates with less directly relevant career experience might find a functional resume that emphasizes specific transferable skills The same goes for mature job seekers shifting career gears. A hybrid resume structure is another option that combines chronological and functional elements.
Car sales CV summary example
The usual placement of a CV summary — sometimes called a profile or personal statement — right below the header lends off-the-top importance and directness to your hiring manager connection. By way of introduction — just as your initial focus in the vehicle showroom is on what you can do for the customer — a compelling car sales CV summary conveys what you have to offer the employer.
Page space limitations dictate conciseness in the CV summary without selling yourself short. Two or three well-crafted statements are the showcase for your car sales talents, just as a new vehicle brochure would incorporate clear, descriptive and dynamic language. Omitting “I am” or “I have” helps with word economy. So do action verbs in the simple past or present tense, such as:: demonstrated, initiated, spearheaded, enhanced, expanded, persuaded, built, developed and overcame. It’s about what you did, not what you were responsible for doing.
As provensalestraining.com suggests, there are “elevator pitch” parallels between a car sales resume summary and a car sales opening that hits the mark. The latter has make-or-break importance to the outcome of every customer encounter. Learn how to do it well and you’ll close more car sales.
The introduction stage of selling cars is not all about price or getting customers the cheapest deal. It’s all about you, and the qualifications or qualities that help gain a car shopper’s respect, confidence or attention. It’s about the advantage you offer over others wearing car sales shoes.
The best resume example summaries neither duplicate nor diminish the highlights found elsewhere on the page. They signal intersecting abilities and traits that make you good at what you do, perhaps in a sentence like this: “Consistently exceeded sales goals while earning top survey scores for high-quality customer service.”
Aim to strike a balance between overstating and understating your value proposition. Don’t be too modest, but do share credit where due for team collaboration and cooperation. You can’t go wrong coming across as confident, energetic, determined, earnest and authentic.
Below is a car sales resume example summary you can customize.
Experienced and results-driven car salesperson bringing forth a proven track record of driving increased sales and achieving customer satisfaction. Adept in assisting customers through every stage of their automobile purchase, and working closely with Sales Managers to make sure goals are met.
Employment history sample
The employment history section of your car sales resume shines a rear-view mirror on your most relevant career accomplishments. Under each employer heading, describe your contributions in terse bullet point statements, again omitting “I.” Be specific and use dynamic action verbs along these lines: closed, negotiated, delivered, reconciled, solidified, reinforced, articulated, emphasized and qualified.
Demonstrate tangible outcomes rather than job duties. Focus on results to your credit, solo or shared. How did your individual or team sales performance stack up? Was there an impact on competitiveness or the bottom line? Beyond sales closing rates, what about stats for lead generation and follow-up, repeat customers, client referrals and buyer satisfaction survey results? Any time you can quantify your car sales achievements, your resume is richer for it.
As a resume rule of thumb, only relevant jobs belong in this resume section. But car sales may be one of the most common exceptions, not only for the most obvious reason that all sales success stories count for something. Even if you’ve never sold any type of product or customer service, think further afield about dissimilar jobs that helped pave the road to this one. Former receptionists or restaurant hosts would have plenty of practice putting their best self forward when random strangers walk through the door. Coordinating travel or special events might have accustomed you to work long hours or change personal plans on short notice. A loans officer job would equip you for the financing side of car sales.
Below is a car sales employment history resume sample you can use while writing your own.
May 2018 - February 2021
Car Salesperson at Audi of Duchess, Poughkeepsie
- Created strong customer bonds leading to increased sales and return clients.
- Effectively negotiated prices with customers.
- Maintained up-to-date knowledge of auto inventory.
- Followed up on sales leads.
- Established personal income goals and worked to achieve dealership goals as well.
- Provided optimal customer service to guests at all times.
Car sales resume education example
For some car sales job applicants, the resume education section is straightforward. Because postsecondary graduation is often not a prerequisite, it may be a simple matter of listing your high school (or equivalent GED information). But if you do have further levels of education and training, then there's no need to list your high school at all.
Some employers may require or prefer an associate degree. The same goes for any postsecondary education and training that might set you apart, perhaps in business, marketing, retail management, communications or even psychology.
Whatever the case, any diplomas and certifications relevant to your training and professional development belong on this list, along with internships and dealership-provided on-the-job training. From additional courses and workshops to self-directed webinar sessions, don’t overlook anything that will stand out on your resume. That includes business or trade association memberships that enhance your knowledge, skills and contacts. Emphasize how they help you keep pace in the dynamic automotive retail industry.
Below is the education section from a car sales resume example.
September 2013 - May 2017
High School Diploma, Peekskill High School, Peekskill
CV skills example: Your driving force
A powerful skills list shines the high beams on what matters most in your car sales resume. It’s another great opportunity to use keywords highlighting your most striking qualifications.
Your list should incorporate hard skills and soft skills that make you a remarkable job candidate, not just average or good. Think of hard skills as the nuts and bolts of a car salesperson’s abilities — what you are good at. Soft skills are what optimize the performance of any well-oiled machine — the personal qualities that help you excel at selling cars.
A winning attitude
Getting caught up in social cliques and developing a “know-it-all” mentality can be the downfall of even the most talented car salespeople, warns autocheatsheet.com. While there is no huge secret to success in car sales, your attitude — as manifested in soft skills — can matter up to 90% more than hard skills. Customers know within about 30 seconds of meeting you if they like you enough to buy a car from you. Good resume examples incorporate soft skills for the best results.
Automotive retail strategist Kathi Kruse, founder of Kruse Control Inc. champions the use of social media to gain traction in any sphere of sales, and for car salespeople specifically. The numbers she cites are convincing: 79% of salespeople who use social media sales tools outsell those who don’t.
Check out a car sales CV sample for the skills section below.
- Great Customer Service
- Effective Competitive Analysis Research
- Effective Time Management
- Interpersonal Communication Skills
- Knowledge of Automobile Systems
Resume layout and design: First impressions
Nothing less than a professional-caliber resume document fits the bill for car sales job candidates. Hiring managers will expect a clean, reader-friendly layout that is polished without being too formal or stuffy. does justice to the qualifications your resume conveys. It should be eye-catching without being flashy or gimmicky.
Keep your resume layout sleek, streamlined and uncomplicated, like the contours of a classic coupe that’s totally pleasing at first glance with no need to dissect any reasons why. Ensure there's enough white space in the margins and between the lines. Keep in mind that most resumes only do catch a passing glance from the beholder, so make yours merit more.
For a resume to display confidence, without looking like it’s trying too hard, takes a certain “je ne sais quoi” that some car salespeople may be fortunate to possess. But that doesn’t mean you have a knack for graphic design or the inclination to fuss with all of the creative elements such as fonts , text formatting and color splashes. Achieving just enough pizzazz, without sacrificing professionalism, can be tricky, especially when striving to harmonize with the employer’s own visual brand.
There are no shortcuts to a well designed resume, but there are passing lanes to avoid speed bumps you might encounter en route. Consider using resume.io's builder tool, one of our road-tested resume templates , where the most tedious formatting tasks are a done deal. Browse our collection of job-winning designs in four style categories: Modern , Creative , Simple and Professional . Pick one that's well-suited to the car dealership position, download and replace with your own text. It’s that easy.
Key takeaways for a car sales resume
- Car sales can be a challenging but fulfilling career for those with job knowledge, realistic expectations and self-awareness at the outset.
- The same communication skills that car salespeople require to effectively understand and assist their customers will serve them well in tailoring their resumes to specific job and employer requirements.
- Targeted resumes should include keywords throughout that match the listed job description.
- Use our online resume builder and templates to make your life easier and the job application process faster!