I’ve hired hundreds of sales professionals throughout my professional career, and each time a new resume hits my inbox it must immediately meet a core set of standards.
Over the years I’ve seen it all: resumes filled with typos and poor grammar, unreadable fonts, written to win a Pulitzer Prize and not to secure employment, you name it – I’ve seen it.
The most standout resumes I receive are crafted with tight, concise language and a clear motivation to secure a job. They are honest, direct, and make it clear to me in less than five minutes why I can’t pass up hiring such an applicant.
When hiring salespeople, here are five red flags to look for on a sales resume.
No sales track record on paper.
The sales industry is full of people who have charm, but aren’t necessarily good producers. The applicant I hire is the one who can walk the talk. That person has solid numbers to back up their experience and outstanding references to support their claims.
When it comes to narrowing down candidates, numbers are a useful tool recruiters use to quantify and compare ability. In other words, while I look for resumes with key characteristics, demonstrating ability to bring in revenue is the top priority, and being able to do so quickly is key. A sales resume should have at least three months worth of recent sales figures ready upon request.
Consistent job hopping.
Hiring a new salesperson is an investment. This involves devoting time, money and resources to training a new hire and supplying them with the tools they need to succeed.
The risk is far too great to hire someone who, based off their employment record, will most likely be applying to a new company in six months, or who poses the risk of poisoning company culture on account of their instability. Not every employer fosters productive or happy environments, so short-term employment is a reality, but if your job candidate indicates it happens consistently, put a big red X on their application.
A resume chock-full of errors galore.
This shouldn’t be news. If job candidates can’t take the time or care to proofread a resume before representing themselves, they can’t represent my company. Typos indicate a lack of attention to detail and a poor personal presentation.
LexisNexis Sales Account Manager, Jeff Weaver says you should proofread until your eyeballs bleed. “I want to hire a sales person who will write flawless e-mails and other customer correspondence. I want to hire a sales person who will draft flawless written proposals and contracts. If you can’t create a flawless one- or two-page resume, I just know you can’t live up to my expectations on the job.”
Way too much information.
The ideal job candidate comes in with a resume that can be scanned at a glance. Not only that, but the resume is tailored to your company and the skills the position demands.
I don’t have the time to review high school accomplishments contained in a six-page resume. That candidate will be automatically removed from my consideration set. Their job descriptions should be concise, and only include skills and experience that you deem relevant and necessary for the position.
Unprofessionalism… in print.
When you have piles of resumes to scan, the ones that rise to the top communicate details as professional as possible. Check their email listed. It should include a point of contact containing the applicant’s name and maybe a number or two.
Email addresses like [email protected] are not—and will never be—acceptable. I prioritize sales resumes that go the extra mile by creating an email address exclusively branded to the applicant (i.e., [email protected]) that eliminates slang and cliché buzzwords.
A job candidate may not be able to change their past work experience, but they should do everything in their ability to polish up a resume and make it presentable. A clean, professional resume shows hunger and motivation to do the job right. It may just be the defining factor that makes an interviewee worth hiring.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Mike Mirshahzadeh is the co-founder and EVP of Endeavor America Loan Services. He founded and operated the third fastest growing financial services company in the U.S. before the age of 30. With 21 years of financial industry experience, Mike now oversees recruiting efforts for a 200+ team of mortgage sales professionals throughout the country. Connect with @mmirshahzadeh on Twitter.