Research shows that the average recruiter spends less than 6 seconds scanning a resume before making a “GO / NO GO” decision. Six seconds! The takeaway from this research is clear. Avoid anything that makes it more difficult for a recruiter or hiring manager to review your resume. Rather than going for clever or exhaustive; go for clean, readable, and impactful. In other words, what you leave off of your resume can be more important than what you put on. To help you with this, we compiled 4 things to leave off of your sales resume.

Objective.

We recommend against using an Objective on your resume unless you have tailored your resume for a specific employer. Why? It doesn’t help to differentiate you as a candidate but it can immediately knock you out of consideration. True story. One of our better hires almost didn’t happen due to the objective on his resume. “To utilize my sales experience to secure a medical sales position.” Since he wasn’t interviewing for a medical sales role, the Sales Manager decided to pass on him despite being impressed during the interview. Three weeks, several interviews, and no solid candidates later, we convinced the Sales Manager to reconsider. Nine years and multiple President’s Clubs later, this gentleman is still working for our client.

Do use an objective if you are tailoring your resume for a specific employer (and you should tailor your resume for each opportunity you apply to.) Most medium to large-sized companies use Applicant Tracking Systems to scan and score the resumes that are received. Resumes are scored based on how many keyword matches the bot finds on your resume. Most ATS systems give you a point if your resume contains the name of the company you are applying for.

Tasks and Duties.

In the six seconds a recruiter spends scanning your resume, they are looking for results and fit. They are not looking for generic skills. Take, for example, the following 2 bullet points listed on a sales resume in our database:

  • Responsible for identifying key business opportunities in my territory.
  • Daily customer contact with excellent customer service.

Isn’t it obvious that a sales rep identifies business opportunities and maintains daily customer contact? Leave tasks or duties off of your resume unless they help you qualify for the position you are applying for. Here’s an example where listing a duty helps:

  • Led a team of 10 new client generating account executives.

This experience would be critical if you are applying for a Sales Manager role leading a team of hunter sales reps. It also illustrates why you need to tailor your resume to the position you are applying for. 

Personal Information.

Don’t give employers a reason to knock you out of consideration before they’ve met you. For example, you might think that it’s a positive that you’re married with two children. The Sales Manager, on the other hand, might question whether you would want to travel 35% of the time. We’ve received this exact feedback from managers countless times.

Anything More Than One Page.

Especially in sales, you should be able to condense your accomplishments to one page. Remember, you have 6 seconds to get noticed. In most cases, limit the experience listed on your resume to the past 10 years. The lone exception is when your prior experience could prove extremely valuable to your potential employer.

Sales Resume Guide – What Sells?

If you want more sales resume guide tips on how to write a sales resume that sells, you can find more resources on our website: Top Ten Resume Tips, Top 10 Resume Mistakes and a Sample Sales Resume. We’ll close with three advanced tips.

  1. A well-written resume shouldn’t answer every question a potential employer has about you. It should create enough interest and intrigue so that they will want to meet you to get their answers.
  2. “Nothing sells like success.” Make your successes (blatantly) easy to find on your resume.
  3. If you remember nothing else from this article, complexity and excessive text will lead to confusion which will get your resume rejected every time.