3 STEPS TO WRITING A BETTER SOFTWARE SALES RESUME

I believe that the best resume for a Software Sales professional is one that is easy to read, impactful, and show the performance of the candidate over time. This article makes suggestions for writing a better resume. An example resume is included at the end of the article.

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I believe that the best resume for a Software Sales professional is one that is easy to read, impactful, and shows the performance of the candidate over time. This article makes suggestions for writing a better resume. An example resume is included at the end of the article.

The article is geared to Software Sales professionals but the ideas can be applied to any title. A well written resume (and LinkedIn profile) is an important tool for the owner beyond when just looking for a job. Your resume is your Brand tool AND is your report card! As a Brand tool your resume helps to attract and inform the right prospects, customers and potential new employers. As a report card your resume shows your performance and accomplishments at each step of your career. This can be a real motivator and drive the candidate to real success.

If you have been a successful software sales professional and are proud of it be sure to show your history of quota attainment. One of the best things you can do as a sales professional is to provide your record of accomplishments versus quota for the past multiple jobs ( 10 years ?). If the record is solid make sure you present it on your resume. If you have poor performance from multiple positions you need to reconsider if you are in the best line of work for yourself.

What is a better resume? A better resume is a resume that most accurately depicts your experience and accomplishments AND presents them in an easy-to-read and powerful manner. I’ve learned that many good candidates exist behind poorly written resumes and many marginal or poor candidates exist behind embellished resumes. A better resume shows the candidate in his or her best light but is also accurate and informative. It helps to point out the candidate’s potential for success if the candidate is seeking a new position.

Some observations from reading Software Sales resumes. In the past year I have interviewed and read the resumes of over 600 Software Sales professionals. I have made the following observations and drawn the following conclusions:

  • resumes fall short in describing an accurate picture of a candidate’s experience and capability. So much more is determined in a short chat. I will bet that many good candidates don’t get to the chat stage because their resumes are lacking.
  • most resumes don’t have a clear Objective / Summary statement
  • most resumes don’t clearly depict the candidate’s strengths and successes as they relate to a position
  • most resumes contain too much info and thus dilute any valuable info that might exist
  • most resumes do not list Quota performance attainment. If you are proud of your quota achievements then it should be shown
  • 80%+ of the sales professionals have had 5+ jobs in the past 10 years or less. This is a negative in the eyes of most hiring managers but can be minimized by showing your value and positive performance on your resume.

If the resume is an entry point to getting an interview why not craft one that helps you get interviewed for the right jobs? To do so you need:

  • a concise and powerful objective/summary statement at the top of your resume AND that statement should match the type of position you might be applying for.
  • Then everything else on your resume should work to support your Summary / Objective statement. Anything else is extraneous and should be minimized.

A NOTE ABOUT JOB HOPPING AND A SUGGESTION

Many hiring managers consider 5 or more jobs in 10 or less years to be job hoppers and often won’t consider them as serious candidates unless there is a good alignment of objectives, industry or territory experience. There are many reasons for the frequent job changes but rarely is it heard that the candidate just couldn’t be successful. If you are in this situation and you want to stay in sales you have to choose your next opportunities wisely. Your next job will be the first step in helping you build a successful sales career.

THE 3 STEPS TO WRITING A BETTER RESUME

  1. Craft a concise and accurate career Summary/Objective(s). What do you want to do?
  2. Build an outline of your career chronology including companies, your titles, duration, accomplishments, quota performance records. For your eyes only and helpful to review your experience.
  3. Compile a list of your marketable skills, credentials and Keywords. What are you able to do and are these important for the jobs you want?

1. WRITING SUMMARY / OBJECTIVE(s) STATEMENTS

Writing a concise and accurate career Summary and / or Objective takes some thought. This will typically be the first thing a reader sees so make it very clear and concise.

OBJECTIVE / SUMMARY:

What title, role, responsibility are you seeking and what would you like to accomplish? A 2 or 3 sentence summary should follow that defines your recent roles, responsibilities, markets, top accomplishments and value in a way to support your objective.

EXAMPLES:

Objective / Summary

VP or SVP of Software Sales for a midsized Enterprise Software, Business Intelligence or Security Software company. Managed team sizes of between 7 – 70 total reports, implemented Social Media High Velocity Recurring Revenue Model and Salesforce Customer Success platform while building a consistent record of 50% year over year sales growth over the past 15 years.

The alignment of your Summary / Objective statement with a hiring manager’s hiring objective is important. If your objective and the manager’s objective are in alignment, and the basis of your resume clearly supports your objective you will likely get interviewed. If you are pursuing multiple different opportunities you will probably have a slightly different objectives / summary statements for each one. The basis of your resume should be the same but you can tweak some of the supporting material.

Make your objective accurate, concise and compelling. It is the first thing a hiring manager looks at before diving into the resume. You can help set the manager’s mindset with a well written objective.

2. BUILD AN OUTLINE OF YOUR CAREER CHRONOLOGY

Chronological resumes give a clearer picture of a candidate’s experience than a functional resume because they provide a context for a candidate’s work. Many candidates are coached to write functional resumes if they have holes in their careers. This is obvious to hiring managers. I’d always advise a well written chronological resume showing the good work that you have accomplished.

Build your own history outline with as much detail as possible but don’t necessarily use all the info in your resume. You will be sure to have all of your positions and titles on your resume but beyond that only include details that support your Summary / Objective statement. List your employers, dates of employment, titles, responsibilities, products or services worked with, markets worked in, accomplishments, and quota attainment at each position.

3. EDUCATION, CREDENTIALS, SKILLS AND KEYWORDS

Search engines are an important part of the sourcing process and you need to have a section on your resume to help you be found. Include your Education, Certifications, Skills and Keywords in a way that will help you be found. That means writing some of them as both an abbreviation and also fully spelling out too.

Some other DO’s and DON’Ts

  • Write the resume with simple formatting. Stay away from boxes, sidelines, arrows etc. Resumes are often stored in Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and any special formatting may make your resume harder to read after they are input.
  • Be 100% accurate in your dates, quantities, credentials, achievements etc. Most employers background check and errors could lead to future terminations and impact future potential hires.
  • Include quota performance records and define your markets whenever possible.

 

A suggested format:

Name and Current Title with Full contact info including LinkedIn profile link

Summary / Objective

DD/YY – DD/YY Company Name – Title

Short description of company, marketplace, products / Services your sold and WHO you sold to (C level, Director Apps, Line of Business, IT etc.)

Responsibility, Scope and Accomplishments (as they support your objective statement). Who you reported to or reported to you, average deal size / length sales cycle,

Quota performance by year

DD/YY – DD/YY Company Name – Title

Short description of company, marketplace, products / Services your sold and WHO you sold to (C level, Director Apps, Line of Business, IT etc.)

Responsibility, Scope and Accomplishments (as they support your objective statement). Who you reported to or reported to you, average deal size / length sales cycle,

Quota performance by year

DD/YY – DD/YY Company Name – Title

Short description of company, marketplace, products / Services your sold and WHO you sold to (C level, Director Apps, Line of Business, IT etc.)

Responsibility, Scope and Accomplishments (as they support your objective statement). Who you reported to or reported to you, average deal size / length sales cycle,

Quota performance by year

EDUCATION

LIST OF SPECIAL SKILLS, CERTIFICATIONS

KEYWORDS

 

SAMPLE RESUME

John R Good

Vice President Software Sales

johnRgood@youbet.com http://linkedin.com/johnrgoodyoubet 123.123.1234

Objective / Summary

VP Software Sales for a midsized Enterprise, Business Intelligence or Security Software company. Consistent record of 50% year over year sales growth over the past 15 years leading team sizes of between 7 – 70 total reports.

1/2017 – 11/2020 TERADATA Chicago, IL – Vice President, Sales

Teradata is a global leader in Business Intelligence, Cloud, Enterprise solutions with 10000+ employees

Hired as Sales Director; promoted to VP Sales North America after growing business from $5M revenue to $20M in 3 years. Lead team of 70 including sales directors, sales executives, sales engineers, business and technical consulting.

Increased net revenue more than 400% during 3-year tenure through the successful adoption of the “Challenger Sales approach” to sales team.

Introduced metrics to measure sales team effectiveness and implemented program to individual team members. Average sales professional improved performance by 50%.

Performance 2020 125% of quota, 2019 145%, 2018 93% , 2017 88%.

1/2010 – 12/2016 INFORMATION BUILDERS; Chicago IL – Vice President Sales

Information Builders is a leading Business Intelligence tools/solutions software supplier headquartered in New York City, NY with 1,500 employees.

Hired to rebuild and manage a team of sales, presales and professional services for Eastern USA.

Rebuilt and managed a team of sales (15), presales (7) and professional services (7) targeting Fortune 500 verticals in Financial Services, Manufacturing, Utilities, Pharmaceutical, SLED, LEA, Retail and Transportation

Established partnerships with 15 System Integrators with target $1MM + size deals

Closed two of five largest transactions in company history: Topco = $8MM, TDS = $2MM.

Performance 2010 75% quota, 2011 90%, 2012 101%, 2013 99%, 2014 115%, 2015 127%, 2016 150%.

1/2007 – 12/2009 Company Title

One sentence as to company and marketplace. Security Software markets

Responsibility, Scope and Accomplishments ( as they support your objective statement )

Quote performance by year

1/2000 – 12/2006 Company Title

One sentence as to company and marketplace.

Responsibility, Scope and Accomplishments ( as they support your objective statement )

Quote performance by year

7/1990 – 12/1999 Previous Employers

1/1998 – 12/99 Symantec – Director of Sales

1/1994 – 12/1997 Microsoft – Sales Associate

7/1990 – 12/1993 MCI – Inside Sales

7/1982 – 5/1986 US Marine Corp

EDUCATION / CERTIFICATION

  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA) – Michigan State University– May 1990
  • Bachelor of Science – Georgia State University – December 1989
  • Certified Challenger Sales trainer
  • Certified Expert negotiator by Harvard Business
  • Leader Training for CEB Challenger Sales Approach –Teradata
  • Leader Training for Franklin Covey Sales Performance Approach – Information Builders
  • Digital Six Sigma Black Belt – Information Builders

AWARDS

  • Teradata, Presidents Club, 2019 , 2020
  • Information Builders, Sales Manager of the Year, 2010
  • Information Builders, Presidents Club 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Expert Speaker’s Award National Conference 2012, 2016, 2018

SPECIAL SKILLS

  • Expert in Sales Force CRM
  • SQL, SQR, Report writing. Very good data manipulation skills including working with tables and databases
  • Social Media High Velocity Recurring Revenue Model training

KEYWORDS

Software Sales, VP Sales, Vice President Sales, CRM, SaaS, Marketing Automation, Team leader, Business Development, Inside Sales, Solution Sales, Software Service, Campaign management.

Author: Rick Zabor

Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.