The landscape of jobs inside the sales industry is vast. There are salespersons in nearly every business, whether it’s a sales representative for a large pharmaceutical company or a salesperson hawking used cars. But every sales job has some critical features in common. For example, all salespeople have to learn the costs and benefits of specific aspects of a product base, and competition over buyers’ hard-earned dollars is always challenging. The sales industry is also at the whim of changing marketplaces: ad salespeople for newspapers used to be plentiful — now there are few, and most sales work in media is in digital placement advertising on Facebook or Google.
Choosing a career in this field can also be challenging. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment in sales and other occupations is likely to decline by 2% over the next decade. But if you are a born salesperson, you can still have a promising career in sales in most industries.
If you’re thinking about refreshing your resume to apply to a new sales job, the following guide has been customized to help you improve it through a few essential tips.
Let’s start by learning more about the main three resume formats.
Sales job titles
Current trends impacting sales jobs
The global free-market economy has led to significant changes in sales in the U.S. and abroad. For example, according to sales giant Salesforce, outsourcing end-to-end sales processes to third-party vendors, aligning sales (B2B) and marketing (B2C) domains, and selling products on social media have created new revenues and exploded market opportunities for big and small companies alike.
Because of these changes in the industry, the demand for quality salespeople has risen. From the IT industry to the manufacturing sector, global sales trends have boosted abundant opportunities for sales jobs. In addition, companies such as SAP America provide employees a chance to earn high sales commissions, whereas IT firms like CA Technologies have sales representatives making an excellent base salary and bonus through commission.
The COVID pandemic did put a bit of a brake on global trade, falling by 9.2% in 2020 alone, and full recovery to pre-pandemic sales will likely take years. Employment in every sector was impacted, but sales jobs, according to financial experts, are among the least affected due to the rise of the e-commerce sector — jobs in sales declined only by 2% during the pandemic, a much lower rate compared to other industries.
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Average salaries and employment outlook for sales workers
The sales industry has many different jobs, and there is always tough competition for the best ones. However, people with the best skills and most relevant work experience in new technologies are the most likely to succeed in the next few years.
Check out the types of jobs available in sales below, from high-level leadership to newbies:
Leadership-level sales: Sales Managers and Engineers
People in sales leadership positions, such as presidents of companies, managers, and engineers, are compensated handsomely. Why? Because senior sales personnel increase gross revenue, usually the most critical business metric, signifying growth and business health. Managers and engineers in sales consulting, sales alignment, and sales process improvisation develop and enforce market strategies for businesses and also bring in and develop great talent.
Sales managers’ and engineers’ growth in the job sector tends to improve as they can figure out the best way to sell complex products in crowded marketplaces.
Job Outlook 2020–2028
The employment of sales managers is projected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average American job.
Sales engineers’ jobs are projected to grow 6% between 2019 to 2029.
Sales Representatives and Associates:
With more products and services in the market than ever before, and tremendous pressure to come out on top, the burden on sales departments has also risen. One fundamental way sales reps try to find small advantages is by optimizing new software and online platforms facilitating older sales techniques. For example, car salespeople used to create inventory sheets of the best strategies to sell cars for different segments of the population: families, single men, or professional women, for instance. But most of those strategies have been replaced with data analytics from advertising platforms, such as Google Ads, that help match their product to the people most likely to want to buy it, often automatically through AI algorithms.
Job Outlook 2020–2029
Inside or Outside Sales Representative
Overall employment of sales representatives is projected to grow by less than 2% between 2019 to 2029.
Overall employment of sales associates is projected to be stagnant between 2019 to 2029.
Seven of the top soft skills needed for sales jobs
Selling is a skill! And salesmanship, the combination of a discrete set of soft and hard skills that are ethically and thoughtfully administered, can be your tool to a long and lucrative career. While salesmanship requires different types of skills, they are also usually determined by job specifications. So if you’re a newly recruited salesperson, know you will most likely learn how to do your job in many different ways. However, there are some skills all people in the industry should obtain.
Below are seven desired skills required that are simple, pragmatic, and practical:
Listen to your customer:It might be the most overlooked sales skill. Studies say that a salesperson with good listening skills retains more than 50% of customers. This makes sense, right? Better customer interactions — and a real connection to a human being that acknowledges your needs and wants — ultimately leads to more sales. Good listening also generates a sense of respect from the customer.
Flexible speaking skills:Good salespeople change how they structure their message depending on their target customer, whether in person, in writing, over a video call, or on the phone. An efficient salesman makes sure the person on the other side understands them clearly. And remember, communication skills include both verbal and non-verbal conversation, such as keeping intense eye contact. Mirroring facial expressions and not slouching.
Sharp organizational and product intelligence:If you choose sales as a career path, you should know the structure of the business. For example, you should know as much as possible about the product, the company’s services, its business clients, and its competitors. Moreover, you should understand the people in the company and what they do — this will help you learn the information you can use in your sales strategy, for example. For example, suppose you are an Apple sales representative trying to get more hospitals to buy iPads for diagnostic use. In that case, you should know about the top apps and security features available in the devices to make sure patient information is airtight secure — a huge concern for hospitals. And knowing how Apple manufactures its iPad devices could probably help you determine how many hospitals could buy in bulk order, for instance.
Self-motivation:Being in sales can be challenging. Salespeople are vulnerable to getting frustrated and depressed if they don’t hit a sales benchmark. Therefore, self-motivation is required to help you work during tough times. Self-motivation is a weapon that supports you in your sales career. Of course, being self-motivated doesn’t mean you can’t use tools to help you improve, such as mental health apps or even talking with personal coaches.
Critical thinking and problem-solving:Today, many companies are worried about new graduates lacking essential skills like critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. These soft skills are often missing from class curriculums. Companies believe these qualities should be innate in a salesman and prefer a candidate to avoid putting extra money into training.
Prospecting:Prospecting is one of the leading sets of tasks required by salespeople, and one needs a great skill set to do it well. Knowing how to prospect allows you to maintain a pipeline of potential customers and presents you as the trusted advisor for the product or service. If you are an excellent client prospector, you can quickly turn potential customers into buyers and prevent you from wasting hours chasing unresponsive messages or emails. This skill can’t be gained overnight. You will achieve it with experience working in an environment with solid sales expectations.
Tech-savvy:The sales game is constantly changing. With every new month or week, a new product or service comes into the market to take over the business. Think of how the iPhone blew out all other cellphones in 2007. Being tech-savvy will increase your productivity and efficiency in carrying out any task. Through social media blogs, articles, trade shows, referrals, and advertising, you can easily connect with your customer and boost customer acquisition. You can also easily leverage sales mobility. To become tech-savvy, enhance your technical skills and make use of content conversion tools such as Vutura.io.
Educational requirements for sales jobs
Companies believe in formal education. No matter how many skills you have mastered while at work, you should have a proper educational background to hone your skills and enhance your experience.
You need to carry a degree in sales and marketing for a sales manager job. Similarly, a bachelor’s degree in engineering is required to start as a sales engineer with a business degree (BBA/MBA). To get started in this particular job, a diploma or certificate in sales or engineering also works. However, growing competition in the market also raises the bar of educational requirements. Therefore, companies prefer qualified candidates with a formal degree in math and commerce background for senior positions in sales jobs.
Individuals considering sales representative or associate jobs should know they require a high-school diploma. However, the sales job for technical and scientific products (such as pharmaceutical goods) often requires a bachelor’s degree relevant to the sales area. Certificates in sales are also acceptable by many companies for technical and non-technical sales jobs.
Sales resume examples by experience level
Before applying for a sales position, using the correct resume format is necessary. The below guidelines will help you in deciding the best template suitable for your background.
Sales Resume Examples
3 tips to stand out and get the job you want
Interviewing for a sales job requires more than knowledge and experience. Interviewers are also influenced by “soft” interview skills like your personality and confidence. First, however, you should remember a few elementary things to include in your resume to stand out among other candidates.
Craft a compelling cover letter:Ensure you’re presenting the right picture of the company’s requirements and your ability and skills to fulfill them. Never put any redundant skills and accomplishments that are already in the resume. Also, recruiters usually prefer to read the cover letter, so don’t take it as a courtesy or formality in the process. Instead, the cover letter should be an overview of your abilities and shows your determination to take the job.
Make a positive first impression:In a sales job, your appearance also matters, along with your strong command over sales skills. A powerful first impression gives a preview to the interviewers of how you will interact with customers and clients. Remember, in a sales job, every person in the organization scrutinizes your dressing, handshaking, talking, and even how you walk.
Preparation:During your sales interview, your abilities and knowledge regarding the product, position, and company are carefully reviewed, and you will be expected to answer specific questions about your previous work and why and how you went about it. So careful preparation is required if you want to ace your interview.
There are a few tips to follow before going for the first meeting with the interviewer.
Research the services and products offered by the company.
Share your skills with the interviewer that are useful for the desired job.
Prepare your sales pitch; recruiters usually ask the candidate to sell something to them.
Impress the interviewer with your personality, skills, and knowledge. Prove to them that you can deliver results to the company.
Speak confidently and persuasively about your experiences, motivations, plans, and approaches to meet sales targets and goals.
4 easy steps to build an interview-winning sales resume
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What does the sales department in any company do?
Every business organization has a sales department with vast responsibilities like converting sales, retaining customers, and pushing the business forward through new strategies. In addition, the sales department performs market research, advertising, packaging, and selling products and services to the consumer. Thus, they are one of the main connecting links between the company and the customer
Can we use the same resume for different sales jobs?
Since the sales department has various functions to perform, the companies ask for a diverse set of skills and experience for the required position. Therefore, everything you mention in your resume needs to be about the desired position for which you are applying. A custom summary for every application, just like a custom resume, enhances your chances of getting a job.
What are the different job roles in the sales department?
Sales jobs are varied. Some sales positions are different from others. For example, you might be involved as a manager, overseeing the salespeople, or you may be required to travel and meet clients. Within the department, conventionally, the roles are divided into sales representative, account executive, salesperson, key account manager, regional sales manager, sales engineer, director, and vice-president sales.
What is the future in the sales occupation?
The requirement for jobs like sales representatives is continuously growing. Critical roles accountable for maintaining and building the client bases will remain in demand. However, due to the emergence of e-commerce, the sales industry faces some depression in growth, especially in the retail sector. Outside SRs, the development will be sluggish in other sales-linked professions. Thus, before deciding the sales as a career path, make sure your role will be relevant in the upcoming years.
What is the career trajectory for sales field employees?
Since there are countless job responsibilities in sales, there are many opportunities for a career-oriented employee. A sales field employee can choose from four primary career tracks like sales, operations, business development, and research. The salesperson also has the opportunity to transition into marketing. Many career choices in sales have unlimited earning potential.