Uncovering opportunity and driving growth. Every great product or service needs an equally great sales team. In your resume, you are the product. You have an obligation to sell yourself as the “next best thing.” Employers experience the communication and influencing skills of a sales manager the moment they read the first few lines. Much of the job will be spent talking on the phone, over the internet or in person, but when someone has the time to think about what to write about themselves, that content had better be utterly compelling. If you can’t sell yourself, how will you go about selling for your future employer? But how do you write a resume that provides a stage for your selling skills? This guide will show how you might:
- Build a compelling sales manager resume that ticks all the boxes.
- Cover your contributions across the breadth of the sales cycle.
- Ensure that you use role-specific language to pass the ATS test.
- Use the format of your resume to provide a foundation for future conversations.
Along with our resume examples and resume builder tool, we will help you to persuade and influence your dream employer, while ticking the ATS software boxes to make sure it is read in the first place. The secrets of a slick sales resume will be shared with you over the next few pages. Switch on!
The role of the sales manager has been much maligned. Helping customers to realize that they need your product or service (and not the other one) is a delicate undertaking. In an age of fierce competition, where the internet has leveled the playing field and start-ups are nipping at your heels, the role of a sales manager has never been more important. When presented with a purchasing choice, the human decision-maker still needs that human voice telling them that they are doing the right thing. But sales is far more involved than simply saying “come on, buy our stuff.” The sales resume has to demonstrate how obstacles have been overcome, how people have been persuaded and how targets have been smashed. Innovation and planning form the foundation of success and there has to be sound judgement, analytical insights and thoughtful service at every step. There are three basic considerations for a sales resume:
- Highlighting your experience around every stage of the sales journey.
- Passing the ATS test where specific keywords are important to your specific role.
- Ensuring a focus on communication, delivery and results – it’s all about the pipeline.
Looking to craft your own sales manager cv? For more materials to advise you, please consult our related sales resume examples:
- Sales Assistant resume sample
- Car Sales resume sample
- Sales Associate resume sample
- Telemarketer resume sample
- Sales resume sample
- Account Executive resume sample
- Account Manager resume sample
- Sales Representative resume sample
- National Sales Controller resume sample
- Field Sales Professional resume sample
What does a sales manager do?
No matter what the product or service, the best sales managers share a multitude of common traits. The sales role sits at the intersection of operations, product, marketing and finance, with close collaboration required to ensure that the sales offering is optimized. A thread of teamwork should run through a sales resume, with frequent references to how the sales manager achieved their success with others, constantly working to improve relationships and adapt their behaviors to different situations.
Sales managers are often big personalities who are intensively driven and target-oriented, so it is important to carry a sense of determination and momentum through your resume. Write it in such a way that your career seems to be on an upward (and profitable) trajectory, and that you are progressing as your skills increase. A mundane resume hopping from job to job every year will not suffice. Make your recent achievements seem that little bit more sensational. When an employer reads a sales resume, they need not only feel that you could sell ice to Eskimos, but that you would feel particularly passionate about selling whatever service or product they provide. Try to make sure that your main sales achievements are relatable to whatever you will be selling for them. But what matters to someone reading a sales manager’s resume?
Much of a sales manager’s time is spent persuading and influencing potential buyers, judging their needs and researching the positioning of their product or service within the market. They need to analyze the effectiveness of their activity, adapting to changes in their market and evaluating the various channels that they use to reach their customers. When it comes down to the purchasing process, they need a high tolerance for stress and copious amounts of patience in the negotiation stages. Many sales managers or sales associates oversee a team of sales reps or sales assistants, so people management and delegation are also critical. When the inevitable obstacles present themselves, an adaptable attitude and innovative approach will go a long way to solving problems. Polished communication skills are critical at every stage of the process, whether it is delivering presentations or ironing out the fine details of a legal document. Last, but not least, it is their service-first attitude that will keep customers coming back. All of these aspects should be woven into the stories of your resume, but for a human to read them, first you have to pass the ATS test.
The role of ATS software in recruitment
Any sales manager should know that there are certain keywords that will get their clients eyes to light up. In a similar way, the first step in the recruitment process for many big companies is driven by software that looks to make an initial decision as to whether a candidate is suitable for the role. If your resume fits the criteria in terms of the language that it uses and the keywords that are evident, you will pass the test and your resume will be read by a human. If you do not have the requisite amount of keywords, you should really be asking yourself why not?
For the sales manager, analyzing sales documentation and the online presence of your employer is important as you will pick up on the language that they use. If you seek to mirror this language in your resume, you will go a long way to sounding like “one of them.” Looking at the job description will also help to give you a steer about the sorts of questions that they will be asking at the job interview.
Playing the keywords game is part of writing a resume, but do not let it get in the way of sounding like yourself. The most free-flowing part of any resume is the summary. That is where you start to make your case.
Resume summary example: All about achievement
Everyone wants to hire a superstar sales manager to add some rocket fuel to their bottom line. Your summary has to make it crystal clear that you are the one for them. A sales manager’s summary should leave functional details and personal qualities to one side. The one critical consideration for your future employer is what you have achieved (and consequently what you might be able to do for them). While percentages and sales growth fit well in the employment history section, there is nothing more impressive than leading with some really big numbers in the summary to grab their attention. If you are hitting 35% YOY growth targets every year, they may not care how you did it. After an employer reads the sales manager’s resume summary, you want them to be thinking one thing: “Wow. I wonder if they can do that for us?”
Sales success should be quantified with numbers
While you will likely go into more detail about your projects in the employment history section, the summary is a powerful place to include details about your most successful projects (if they are relevant to the role). Show that you are proud of what you have achieved and don’t hide the numbers. You may not be able to provide the full context, but your future employer will have a starting point for the job interview questioning. Knowing why the numbers matter is the very foundation of sales.
Focus on your industry knowledge
Choose the industry experience that is closest to your future role. There is nothing worse than a Sales Director or MD reading the first few lines of a resume and thinking that your industry or product experience isn’t the right fit (while in actual fact you do have some relevant experience). If you don’t understand the product or service that you are selling, you won’t get very far.
Check out the resume example text below.
Experienced and self-motivated Sales Manager with five years of industry experience overseeing sales figures and new account developments. Bringing forth a proven track record of working collaboratively with sales teams to achieve goals, escalate revenue gains, and advance the sales cycle of the company. A strong leader with the ability to increase sales and develop strategies to retain customers.
Employment history sample: The sales cycle
Different stages of the sales cycle call for different behaviors from the sales manager. Ensure that your employment history paints a full picture. As the nature of sales roles can vary significantly, potential employers want to understand that you can do the basics of the role. They need to understand that you have worked in similar environments and have overcome similar challenges. Convince them that selling their product will feel like putting on a familiar pair of slippers.
Your employment history should cover every aspect of the sales cycle – with your experience spread across your past employers. If possible, pick out aspects of each role that could be related to the job that you are applying for. It is better to expand on relevant experience than include stuff where they think “oh, that is not for us.” A sales manager has to have an affinity for their product or service, so the more the resume is geared towards it, the better.
Your employment history should also show your early adoption of sales techniques and methods. Social media has been a great selling tool for years now, so talk about how you are on the cutting edge of the industry. Every sales person needs to be an influencer on social, so that has to form a thread through your recent employment history.
Make sure that your sales manager examples are not only measurable, but give them some context. You have to show your future employer how you have achieved the numbers and tell the story of the obstacles that you faced along the way. Nothing runs smoothly in sales and you have to show how you have been resilient. It is also important to cover how you worked with stakeholders. You are often not only selling to an external audience – sometimes you need buy in from your own people in terms of how you go about hitting your sales targets. Showing how you collaborate with others is crucial in any resume, but especially for sales.
Sales Manager at Winthrop and Lee, Boulder
November 2014 - September 2021
- Helped to achieve a 25% increase in sales revenue over the course of 1 year.
- Established sales goals by forecasting annual sales quotas and projecting expected sales volume for existing and new products.
- Effectively monitored competition and appropriately adjusted costs based on supply and demand.
- Managed sales employees and counseled employees based on their professional growth and productivity.
Sales Manager at Lola & Co, Denver
September 2010 - October 2014
- Successfully managed a sales team of 10+ people to meet and achieve sales goals.
- Developed and implemented sales plans to expand customer base and increase customer retention.
- Presented sales, revenue, and expenses reports to management teams.
- Researched competition and developed strategies to stand out as a company against competitors.
- Monitored the performance of sales team members and worked to increase team morale and motivation.
CV skills example: Jack of all trades
There are countless situations in which your sales skills will be required: conferences, meetings, presentations, email correspondence and social media. Are your skills up to the task in every situation? Some people assume that selling is a simple occupation. Find a buyer, tell them about the product or service and they can make up their mind whether it is for them. In actual fact, modern sales managers have an incredibly skill-heavy job with technology and social media transforming the job from how it looked a decade ago. Describing your modern skillset in your sales manager CV is key to securing the very best roles. Longer skills descriptions might be included in the employment history sections of your sales manager CV, while the shorter skill phrases are easier to browse in the specialist skills section.
- Negotiated a three-year deal with a projected sales uplift of 120%
- Introduced a social selling process for the sales and marketing team
- Oversaw performance of supplier base, achieved cost savings of 13%
- Influenced internal stakeholders and managed customer service initiatives
- Developed promotional materials increasing new customer pipeline by 45%
- Collaborated with production teams on new product development and marketing
- Grew the sales team from 8 to 15 people and developed three new team leaders
- Created analytical dashboard for business visibility of all sales metrics
Negotiation, Customer Service, Influencing, Coaching, Social Selling, Forecasting, Planning, Collaboration, Budgeting, Performance Management, Prospecting, Delegation, Analytical, Communication Skills, Promotion Management, Market Research, Innovation, Technical Sales, Cold Calling, Ensure that your skills list is comprehensive in the skills section - with a mix of obvious skills that need to be included and some rarer skills that help you to stand out from the crowd.
- Project Management
- Business Development Strategies
- Industry Knowledge
- Interpersonal Communication
- Innovative Problem Solving
Resume layout and design: Shout about success
The layout of your sales manager resume shows the hiring manager where you place the emphasis in your career. Make sure that your career successes are able to shine through. Firstly, a resume is not about cramming as much text into a two-page document as possible. I am sure that you could come up with lots of content to fill two pages at a tiny font size, but your message would be utterly lost. Design your resume so that it comes across as being visually clean and easy to read. You shouldn’t make the reader guess as to what is important and what is simply filler. Don’t go into too many technical nuances and keep a consistent level of detail across the resume. If a certain section suddenly seems dense in terms of the content that you are sharing, the next section might not receive so much attention as the reader’s mind is still trying to process what they have just read. Keep it simple. I am certain that our resume template collection will have a few options that will work for you.
Sales manager education section example
While most sales managers possess a bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing, many have taken courses and qualifications in a wide range of subjects. While a bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing or business qualification is preferred, most sales professionals will have been fully trained in a wide range of selling techniques, and it is advisable to mention a few of the higher profile qualifications in the education section. People with an abundance of sales experience may not have formal qualifications, so their on-the-job education is important to emphasize. In terms of extra qualifications, it is common for sales professionals to attend external training and while it may not be advisable to include every individual training program, offering an insight into the most relevant qualifications for the job in question is a good idea.
Bachelor of Marketing, Colorado College, Colorado Springs
August 2005 - May 2009
High School Diploma, The Vanguard School, Colorado Springs
September 2001 - May 2005
Key takeaways for a sales manager resume
- You will be the public face of your product, so leave a lasting impression
- Summarize your elevator pitch with emotive language and impactful examples.
- Demonstrate awareness of the employer’s product by sharing your relevant experience
- Communicate your mix of hard and soft skills with specific achievements in context.
- Ensure that the layout of your resume is a blend of practicality and creativity.
- Share what, how, where, when, and why certain actions have led to the desired result.
- If your resume isn’t inspiring, how will you inspire your client to buy from you?