Recruiters Reveal the 7 Most Common Sales Resume Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)


Landing a great sales job begins with a great resume. Even if you don’t have a lot of sales experience, the actual look and feel of your resume can bring you to the top of the pool. Similarly, a stacked resume can be brought down by a couple small typos. Make sure you watch out for these common mistakes.

These are the 7 most common sales resume mistakes we see (and how to fix them!):

1. You had the “text wall”

Hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications for a single position. As much as we’d like to believe that they take their time to look through the information of each resume, the fact is that they only have so much time to narrow down the applicant pool. In fact the average sales manager spends 6 seconds looking at each resume. If your resume is difficult to scan, the hiring manager may be more likely to toss out your resume than they are to sift through a wall of text.

2. You slacked on formatting

In a related vein, make sure your resume is properly formatted! Remember, hiring managers see your application long before they will see you, so your resume is helping to represent you. If your resume is poorly formatted and messy, it may raise questions as to whether you are organized enough for the job. An easy fix for this to have a friend or family member review it. It will be easier for them to cut sections and provide feedback, before it reaches the hands of a hiring manager. Another solution is to follow a template specifically designed for a minimalist effect. There are literally hundreds of free templates online, here are a few that we recommend.

3. You didn’t articulate your skills and accomplishments

Your resume is the fastest, most efficient way for you to show employers why they should hire you, don’t undersell yourself! Make sure that you are clear about what you accomplished in past jobs and the skills you developed. This is one place where it is completely socially acceptable to brag, actually, it’s encouraged! Highlight your awards, your experience, your accomplishments; hiring managers are looking for your best.

4. Your resume is (way) too long

Keep your resume to one page. Period. If you can’t keep your resume to one page, chances are you are including information that you do not need. Highlight the key responsibilities and accomplishments for each job then move on. The goal is to get an interview, where you can expand on your experience. As hard as it is to cut, the one-page resume is the new standard.

5. You included unessential information

The best resumes are short and sweet, and keep the information on the relevant to the work that was performed at each job. Here are some topics that DO NOT go on a resume: marital status, age, gender, astrological sign, etc. If it didn’t pertain to the job you held, it does not need to go on your resume.

6. You had outdated experience

It is important that you only include recent work experience on your resume. If you’re including a job that you worked 20 years ago at a grocery store, you should consider dropping it. Only include your most recent roles that complement the role you are applying for.

7. Typos

This seems like the most obvious mistake, but it can also be one of the most harmful to your job search. Make sure you have someone proofread your resume! Twice!

Your resume should be a clean and concise, positive representation of who you are as a sales professional. Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments. If this post was helpful for you, please share. Happy closing! 

8. You ignored job marketplaces (bonus tip!)

Sending out resumes can become tedious and frustrating, I know. Interestingly, there are solutions out there that use a single resume upload to match you with hundreds of jobs. These services are commonly referred to as job-matching marketplaces and they are becoming increasingly popular. For sales specifically, Ideal Candidate only requires one resume upload to match you with all the open roles that meet your unique selling style and desired salary. Check it out!

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Kayla Kozan

Kayla Kozan

Director of Marketing at Ideal
Kayla spent the last few years studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship on 3 different continents. Now covering the latest in predictive analytics, workplace diversity and big data. She has a keen interest in tech and discovering underrated brunch spots.
Kayla Kozan