Resume Makeover: How to Sell Your Tech Sales Skills

In this month's CIO.com Resume Makeover, the devil's in the details as career and resume expert Ross Macpherson takes a technology sales professional's resume from confusing to concise.

The most important element in a sales resume is metrics: sales figures, number of deals closed, revenue targets achieved and so on.

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Ankit Mathur's resume, however, included none of these details, and that was worrisome to Ross Macpherson, president of Career Quest and an expert in advanced career strategies.

"What was needed was clarification on important details; metrics regarding his performance," says Macpherson. "Given he's in sales, and his performance measured on sales results, I needed to include some numbers, and his original resume didn't include any," he says.

Besides the lack of metrics, Macpherson says, there wasn't anything on Mathur's resume to differentiate him from other candidates with similar background and experience. Even the formatting and presentation was sloppy and unfocused, he says.

Poor Sales Presentation

"His resume was filled with boxes, the fonts were inconsistent, and didn't have a specific focus," says Macpherson. "The format forced you to read the entire thing to hunt for the value Ankit could offer, and with an average of six to 10 seconds to grab the reader's attention, it wasn't doing the job," he says.

[Related: IT Resume Makeover: How to Clear Out the Career Clutter]

Mathur's four-page resume was jumbled and confusing to first-time readers, Macpherson says, and included a lengthy summary paragraph that gave a poor first impression and didn't differentiate Mathur as a candidate, Macpherson says.

The resume lacked focus and, despite the length and incredible amount of information, not enough attention to the relevant detail of Mathur's career and his successes, Macpherson says.

"I wanted to make him stand out from his peers, but his current resume looked like so many others in similar roles," he says. "And the content he included under each poison was 99 percent his responsibilities, which tells me what he did but not any information about how well he did it," he says.

[View Original Resume]

In addition, Macpherson says, for many similar jobs, Mathur copied and pasted job responsibilities, which isn't recommended; it's important to use different language when describing different positions, even if the responsibilities are similar.

Focus on Results

However, once the formatting issues were addressed and the resume's focus tightened, a much clearer picture emerged of Mathur's roles, responsibilities and results took shape, Macpherson says.

"I tidied up the formatting to make the resume more polished and professional," says Macpherson. "Changing the headline at the top of the Profile'section gives the resume focus in seconds, keywords and phrases are included in a table which makes it much more clear," he says.

[Related: IT Resume Makeover: How to Write to Your Audience]

And be rebuilding the 'Profile' section, Macpherson was able to more clearly articulate the value that Mathur brings to an organization, and focus on what makes him unique and highly qualified, he says.

"I pared down the job responsibilities, and included more results. I wanted the focus to remain on what he did and how well he did it. I still provided ample detail on his most recent roles, but as we go farther back in Mathur's career, the need for extreme detail diminishes, so I've provided less detail accordingly," he says.

"The whole idea was to 'sell him' in fewer words, by formatting it more effectively, highlighting performance and keeping the language concise," says Macpherson.

Mathur was impressed with how these simple changes and editing changed the focus and impact of his resume. By shifting the focus from what he'd done to the results of his efforts, Mathur says he's sure the new resume will have a much more powerful impact on potential employers.

"It is very concise, and covers all professional aspects of the jobs I have done, while highlighting what I accomplished and achieved during my tenures with various organizations," Mathur says. "Before, it was only telling prospective employers about my responsibilities," he says.

[View Resume Makeover]

The new resume is crisp and concise, with an emphasis on results; while Mathur felt uneasy at first about curtailing some details about previous roles, he's certain the resume will have a powerful impact with recruiters and hiring managers as he searches for work.

Sharon Florentine covers IT careers and data center topics for CIO.com. Follow Sharon on Twitter @MyShar0na. Email her at sflorentine@cio.com Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook.

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