always. be. selling. that’s a common motto for anyone in a sales or retail position, but don’t forget a very important point of the job hunt: it applies to you as well. when you’re putting together your resume, never forget that if you want to prove how well you can sell, make sure you’re marketing yourself as well as you possibly can. let’s look at three different kinds of sales professionals: one newbie, one seeking seasonal retail employment, and an experienced sales associate looking to become a manager.
first up: laura, who’s seeking her first job in retail sales.
like many job hunters with more enthusiasm than experience (so far), laura wants a resume format that showcases what she already has. this means changing things up a little from the traditional experience + skills + education format, and putting her most relevant skills first.
laura has some traditional work experience as a food server, but she wants to showcase her dog walking business, which has skills that could be very transferrable to a sales role. she starts by using the word “entrepreneur”/”entrepreneurial” up front, to emphasize her business skills. it’s important that she uses her bullet points to back that up, and she does—she’s very clear that she was the owner of the dog walking business, and that she was responsible for developing customer relationships, providing good service, and handling her own advertising/marketing. this shows that she is a “self-starter” without having to spell it out. she also does this with her volunteer experience, showing that she works directly with customers/potential adopters to “sell” them on adopting pets, using the kinds of skills she’d presumably use when talking to customers in her new retail job.
let’s look at andrea, who has more experience, but is more of a freelance sales associate. she’s looking for a part-time sales associate position (back-to-school, holiday season, etc.) to earn money and build experience while she goes to school.
andrea is clear on her objectives here: she’s a student, she has sales experience (specifically in the sales field), and she’s not necessarily looking for a career—just the next opportunity to use her expertise while attending school. her summary section outlines what she sees as her biggest advantages: her experience, her reliability, and her product expertise.
next, she lists his experience, choosing to focus on the retail experience she already has, so that the reader doesn’t have to cut through a bunch of information that isn’t necessarily relevant to the immediate goal of finding a part-time gig. for part-time jobs, you want to hit a number of key points in your resume:
- what you want.
- why you want it.
- what you bring to the table.
you’re not looking for a forever career, you’re looking for a way to turn your skills and experience into a job that you can fit in with your life. from that angle, it’s in laura’s (and your) best interest to have a clear, uncluttered resume that hits those points without getting distracted.
our final retail resume-writer is felix, who’s got a lot of sales associate experience behind her, but wants to jump up a level in the store management food chain.
felix’s resume shows an accomplished auto sales professional. but he needs to accomplish two things: 1) show his track record of sales; and 2) show his capabilities as a team leader. the remainder of his skill bullets are used to show the breadth of his experience. this format, the skills-based resume, is helpful for someone like felix, who wants to emphasize that he’s ready to take more of a leadership role. he has a lot of great experience, so he doesn’t need to camouflage anything, but he wants to show what he’s capable of doing—not just what he’s already done. a “moving up” resume should be a balance between those two elements: where you’ve been, and the tools you have to go where you want.
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