What is it that can differentiate success from mediocrity from failure? What enables salespeople to do the tough, but necessary, work needed to get into the winner’s circle? Let’s see if you can figure it out hidden inside these lyrics…
This is a companion piece to my post, Interviewing for a Job in Sales: 10 Things You MUST Do. In that article, I offered 10 interviewing tips specific to the world of sales. Similarly, in this article, I offer resume tips specific to the world of sales from the perspective of a veteran sales manager who has had hundreds of resumes come across my desk over the past 15 years.
It’s important to first understand how the process works. The odds are in the employer’s favor these days—many more job seekers than there are great, quality jobs—especially when it comes to sales. When I post a job opening, I can expect to get hundreds of applicants within a matter of a week or two all vying for that one position. Companies do things differently, but a pretty common process is: candidates apply through an online tool; resumes are screened; phone interviews are conducted; in-person interviews are conducted; an offer is made. Any of those steps in the process could involve several layers—especially when it comes to in-person interviews, where there may be multiple rounds. Also, along the way there may be some sort of personality test and even a “day in the life” opportunity to shadow an existing rep.
How important is the resume? The resume is critically important in the earliest part of the process and less important as you progress through the process. After all, someone has to screen those several hundred resumes and narrow the pool down to a dozen or so in order to move on to the phone interview phase. I can tell you from personal experience that each resume may only get 10-20 seconds of evaluation—then it either goes into the “phone screen stack” or the trash can. If your resume doesn’t “pop” in the first 10 seconds, you’re toast. These tips are meant to help you make it through this weeding out process and earn you the ability to sell yourself person-to-person.
First, congratulations! The fact that you are interviewing for a sales position is a great decision on your part. Sales is a noble profession and it can be highly rewarding. Fun fact: over 12% of all jobs in the United States are full-time sales positions—that’s almost 1 out of every 8 jobs! (Source: SalesForce Training & Consulting Blog).
There are thousands of free resources on the internet that will help someone during their job search—everything from preparing one’s resume to conducting the job search to navigating the gauntlet of interviews to negotiating an offer. What I’m offering here isn’t generic interviewing advice. Rather, these are ten tips specific to interviewing for a sales position from a veteran sales manager who has interviewed hundreds of candidates over the past 15 years.
Would you ever tell your interested prospect, “I don’t think our solution is a good fit for your organization”?
Would you ever dare to refer a customer to your competitor’s offering?
Would you ever admit a mistake or expose a weakness to a customer—even if you knew they would never discover it on their own?
If you answered no to any (or all) of the questions above, I hope you keep reading. I maintain that not only should you be willing to do these things—you must do them if you want to enjoy a prosperous, fulfilling career in sales.