Improve my resume!
September 6, 2012 11:25 AM   Subscribe

What are some classes or certifications that would bolster the resume of a sales professional besides a college degree?

I have 7 years in Inside/Outside sales experience in a very narrow field. Does anybody know what classes/certifications/qualifications would improve my resume and make me appear as a sales professional rather than a someone with knowledge of a narrow product line in a small industry.
posted by cheechman85 to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could take some general marketing courses at a local community college, or depending on where you are from, they may be available through government programs.
posted by cyml at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2012

Hi -- I'm a recovering sales professional with 8 years experience so I know how you can know everything there is to know about your company/industry and not know how that was applicable.

A couple of questions:

1. Do you have a college degree? It is unclear from your question.

2. Were you a high performer in your previous sales role?

3. Was your narrow field something that you had studied before you got the job?

4. Are you applying to other narrow fields or highly technical industries?

In my experience, unless the role is highly technical -- something like a sales engineer, sales skills are much more important that certifications. I would be looking for evidence that you were a high performer on your resume, whether or not you traveled (for an outside position) or had experience closing deals via phone/email/web for an inside sales. I also would look to see if you had experience with whatever CRM we used ( for example). Tailor your resume for the specific job.

That being said, I'm trying to transition out of sales so I'm taking some classes online through University of Texas Continuing Education, and there are some sales classes, but I'm not sure how impressed that would make me from a hiring point of view. I have my MBA -- I know that makes me seem more professional in terms of having general business accumen. That was a plus for my last job where I worked with CFOs and CEOs, but would have been less useful in a previous job of software sales to IT directors of colleges, school districts, and state government.

Feel free to memail me if you want specific help with your resume -- I"m terrible at all of this, but have been very successful in getting hired for sales jobs.
posted by hrj at 11:51 AM on September 6, 2012

I was a sales professional too. You need to do a functional resume, highlighting transferable sales skills and achievments.

-Achieved 131% quota
-Protected a sales base billing $2,000,000 annually
-Grew base by 10% in 2011
-Renewed $700,000 in contract revenue 2011
-Presidents Club 2009, 2011, 2012
-Ranked #1 of 54 in Key Accounts
-Ranked #3 of 150 Account Managers

Money talks, bullshit walks.

Here's some bullshit to pad the rest of it. Remember to use action words, created, developed, produced, managed. Avoid phrases like "Reponsible for."

- Product Management
-Strategic Planning
-Matrix Management of individuals in implementation and service departments
-Territory comprised of 15 Fortune 100 companies headquartered in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia
-Created and delivered sales presentations and RFP’s for Signature Accounts
-Customers included: National Airline, Huge Bank, Worldwide Hotel Chain, Steel Producer, Aluminum Producer

Tell the absolute truth. When you go to interview, create a presentation or leave behind that includes Stacked Rankings, Certificates of relevant Sales Classes (presumably taken at your former employer) and letters of recognition.

It may seem unnatural and like bragging to highlight these items on your resume, but in sales it's all about performance. Managers want people with quantifyable success. They've already removed the underperformers. If you haven't highlighted EVERYTHING that makes you a good sales person on your resume, they'll move on to the guy who did.

Also, close the damn guy in the interview. "It sounds like I'd be a great fit for the position, what do you think?" If you get anything even remotely positive, continue, "It sounds like you agree with me, what are the next steps in the process?" If she indicates another interview with another manager, "Terrific, when shall we set that up?"

You don't have to ask for the job, we all know there are processes, but failing to be aggressive will leave your interviewer cold. If you can't sell yourself, how the hell you going to sell the damn widgets?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:01 PM on September 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

If you have taken any sales training from outside organizations you can list them.

For example, I have taken Herman-Miller Strategic Selling at a sales meeting (an 8-hour training).

You can take AMA online classes which can also help bolster the resume (but I have only taken a few of their classroom marketing classes which were worthwhile, none of the sales ones).

But Ruthless Bunny above is right-on; the resume's function is to land the phone interview, and hard numbers and achievements will get you past the gatekeepers. And at that point you can make up whatever you want (in terms of % to plan etc.) but be sure you can back up everything you claim.
posted by scooterdog at 12:22 PM on September 6, 2012

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