Sales representatives typically serve as the first point of contact between a company and prospects or customers. As a sales rep, you help ensure existing customers have the products and services they need, identify new markets and sales opportunities, and turn leads and prospects into customers and revenue.
As a sales rep, you’ll likely work directly with customers or businesses and must do research to understand what they need and want, then provide those solutions through the sales process. You may be responsible for generating your own leads, and retaining consumers after you make the sale.
If you’re applying for a sales representative position, knowing how to structure your resume and what you should list and highlight, including education, skills and objectives, can help your resume get noticed and selected and an interview scheduled.
How to structure your sales representative resume
When formatting your resume for a sales rep role, you should include:
A summary/career objective
Relevant work history, including the company, dates worked, and brief description of the duties performed
Relevant skills for the role
When creating your resume, you’ll want to carefully read the job description to ensure you include all relevant keywords, skills and experience that shows you are the best candidate. By tailoring your objective and resume to the job description, it’s more likely it will make it through any applicant tracking system software and to the desk of the hiring manager.
Sales representative job description
A sales representative sells products, goods and/or services to customers or organizations. They generate new leads, close sales, and work to retain existing clients through upselling, cross selling or renewing contracts or services.
Virtually every company has some form of sales, whether retail products, goods or services. Sales reps need to have extensive knowledge of the product or service they are selling, know how to highlight the features, and how to close sales.
Sales reps may work directly with consumers, or they may showcase or sell a product to other businesses, organizations, or agencies. While the duties of a sales rep can range depending on the industry you’re in or the company you work for, generally, the job description for a sales rep can include duties such as:
Generate, track and manage leads through a variety of tactics or channels
Negotiate and close sales promptly
Educate clients on product benefits and features
Handle payments and close transactions
Negotiate contracts to ensure optimal benefits and customer satisfaction
Complete sales reports and presentations for management
Meet (or exceed) sales goals
Handle customer service complaints, issues, or questions
Sales representative education
A high school diploma or GED is sometimes required for a sales representative role. Depending on the organization, additional post-secondary education may be preferred. For example, an ideal candidate may have a business, communications, marketing, or finance degree.
Education for hyper-specific roles may also be encouraged depending on the company or industry. For example, if you’re a pharmaceutical sales rep, you may need education in biology or pharmaceuticals. Additionally, there are several certifications you can get to be more appealing to a prospective employer.
You’ll want to outline all relevant education and certifications on your resume in a way like the following:
Bachelor's degree, communications
National Association of Sales Professionals
Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) certification
When listing your education, here are a few tips:
Consider leaving off the years you attended school or your graduation date. Typically, that’s not as important unless you’re still pursuing your degree. In that case, be clear your education is in progress. For example,
Master’s degree (Business Administration); anticipated completion January 2022
List the order of your education as the highest level first. For example, if you have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, list the Master’s degree first, followed by the Bachelor’s.
If you have additional certifications or training applicable to the role, list them in their section with the heading “Additional Certifications.” Include the organization that provided the certification, the title, and the date of completion or renewal.
Unless you’re a recent graduate or it’s a requirement for the role, you don’t need to include your high school education.
What to include on your resume for a sales representative
Typically, a sales rep’s resume will list the education or formal training you have that makes you most qualified for the role.
Then, in the work experience section, you’ll want to include duties related to the job description, such as:
Developed a lead generation system that consistently identified more than X leads per month
Analyzed sales metrics data from my designated territory and assisted in developing an evolved sales strategy to close more sales
Exceeded sales targets and activity metrics by X%/X new clients/etc.
Performed cost-benefit and needs analysis of both existing and prospective customers to understand how to better meet their needs
Scored X% on our customer satisfaction survey and retained customers at X%
The experience and skills you list should be relevant to the job you’re applying for, especially if you have experience in a particular industry. Try to go beyond simply listing duties you’ve performed, and instead show both duties and achievements with examples or numbers to support the statements.
Sales representative skills and traits for a resume
There are many skills and traits you could list on your resume for a sales rep position. Here are a few to choose from to get you started:
Social media use
Relationship building skills
Throughout your time as a sales rep, you’ll be able to perfect skills like communication, lead generation, contract negotiation, relationship building, storytelling, and more. This will help contribute to your success.
Start with an entry-level sales representative role to begin developing the important skills you need for success. Learn the industry, test sales, closing, and lead generation strategies, and learn from those around you. You may find you want to specialize in a certain industry, or only work within a few particular industries over others. If this is the case, be sure to highlight that on your resume.
Action verbs to include on a sales representative resume
Should I include references in my sales representative resume?
Your resume is a professional representation of your career qualifications and skills that make you an ideal candidate. As a general rule, avoid including references in your resume unless they are specifically asked for. This is information that tends to distract hiring managers from the information you want them to see, and it can take up valuable space on the page.
If references are requested, you can include them on your resume or as a separate document. Be sure to list the name, job title, company, email address, and phone number for each reference.
Sales representative resume objectives
A career objective, also known as a resume objective or summary, is a brief statement toward the top of your resume that explains your professional goals and intentions for applying to a job. In 1 to 3 sentences, you should mention the job title, add a couple of key skills, and share what you’re hoping to achieve in the job.
Goal-oriented sales representative with X years of experience. Seeking a position with XYZ company to contribute to product improvements and revenue generation. Regularly exceeded sales goals by X%.
Sales professional looking to boost territory sales goals by promoting XYZ company products/services to customers in need. Regularly exceeded sales goals by X% and generated X leads per month through innovative lead generation efforts.
Highly-motivated sales representative seeking a position with XYZ company, where I can contribute strong customer service and negotiation skills to close sales and meet revenue goals. X years of sales experience in the Y industry and a degree in X.
Sales representative looking for a position with XYZ company.
This is too short and doesn’t include enough detail about your skills or intentions. Be sure to list a couple of key skills that make you the best for the role, and share your desire for being hired.
Energetic, outgoing sales representative with a degree in marketing. Previous sales experience and would love to join XYZ company to improve sales.
Numbers speak louder than words, and as a sales representative, you should have plenty of numbers and metrics to support your claims. Be specific about what you bring to the table, and highlight those key skills or metrics that help you stand out.
I want to apply my communication and negotiation skills and knowledge of the industry to this role to meet sales goals.
With a few more details, this objective could be much better. Consider adding your years of experience, or be more specific about how your knowledge of the industry or skills would help you to meet sales goals. Also, be sure to mention the role you’re applying for (sales rep) and possibly the company for a more personal touch.