The 5 Essentials of a Powerful VP Sales Resume

VP Sales Resume SampleWant to be considered for a coveted Vice President of Sales role – with a leadership resume that promotes you far above a Sales Manager or Director?

You’ll face an uphill battle if you rely solely on the same metrics and quota figures that nailed your current position.

Here’s why: employers assume that a VP-level sales leader will have already mastered the art of building relationships, training sales teams, and exceeding objectives. Most Sales Managers or Directors aiming for the VP slot have proven that they can close deals and surpass expectations!

What your resume REALLY needs to make it past the gatekeeper for a VP Sales job are these 5 elements, strategically positioned on your executive resume to illustrate your readiness to take the helm of an entire Sales organization: Continue reading

Believe it or not, font matters

If you’re ready to truly think of your resume as a marketing piece, then this won’t come as a total shock: font choice is key.

Unfortunately, most people are so focused on writing the content of their resumes that they don’t give a second thought to font, and yet it can make a critical difference in the look and tone of your materials–giving the hiring audience an immediate impression of who you are, what you offer, and at what level you operate.

This is why I recommend looking at your industry—and your desired reader—before picking a resume font or defaulting to Times New Roman.

For example, conservative fields dictate the use of a closed, trim font. Fast-paced, technology-focused careers need a streamlined, sans serif font. Creative fields beg for the use of a fancy, innovative font (at least for your headings).

There are 2 major caveats to font selection: 1) your selection must common enough to be readable on every computer screen and in every word processing program; and 2) font size/spacing will differ greatly—meaning that you’ll have to make point size adjustments if you change your mind.

Here are my overall recommendations by industry:

  • Accounting: Arial 10
  • Operations: Book Antiqua 10 or 10.5
  • IT: Arial 10 or Tahoma 10
  • Sales (VP or above): Garamond 11.5
  • Technical Sales: Tahoma 10 with Arial Narrow 11 Headings
  • CIOs or CTOs: Arial or Book Antiqua 10
  • CFO: Arial Narrow 11.5 and Arial 10

If you ask professional resume writers about their choices in fonts, you’ll hear many variations.

Keep in mind that these fonts are READABLE in nearly every application, and therefore may be a bit “boring” to those who are very familiar with font choices.

I personally find Palatino to be too gray-looking, Georgia too heavy for all-over use (although great for headings), Century Gothic too wide, Calibri fantastic (but not convertible in many applications), and Franklin Gothic Book too narrow for readability.

Don’t be afraid to switch out heading fonts; Garamond has limited readability in italic format, but italicized Book Antiqua closely resembles it and offers much more style.

So take a look at your resume with fresh eyes, click on Select All, and try out a font change (or 2). You might be surprised at the effect–and the results.

3 ‘tests’ that you can use to ensure your resume hits the mark

In the rush to get your resume in front of employers, stop for a minute (or a few hours) and consider whether you’re giving an accurate picture of your capabilities.

All too often, candidates unload a mixed bag of skills, job duties, and meaningless phrases (take “self-motivated team player” – please) on employers, and then wonder why they’re still job hunting months later.

It’s important to map out a resume strategy BEFORE writing anything! Get a clear picture of your goal, the skills you plan to market, and the audience you’re targeting.

Then, run your document past these critical tests to ensure that it produces results:

1 – Are you making employers read a book?

In my recruiting days, we simply tossed resumes that were 4 or 5 pages long–especially when they began with long, self-important paragraphs that took up half of the first page.

What happens for many executives and seasoned professionals is this: they’ve kept up with their careers by creating a basic resume, then adding to it throughout the years. Pretty soon, it resembles a novel.

If your strategy for updating your resume has always been to add your latest job, and then add the next, and the next… it’s time to STOP.

Hiring authorities don’t have the time to wade through pages of your career to find out the relevance to their requirements.

Summarize your credentials up front, and then chop-ruthlessly-from the back, until you’ve narrowed it to 2 or 3 pages at the most.

2 – Are you thinking like a recruiter?

Hold every word up to scrutiny–and I mean EVERY. Does it have relevance to the job you are pursuing? Does it show the level of leadership accomplishment that you want to sell to employers?

You’ll know the answers to these questions if you’ve done your homework. Peruse job ads, not just to apply, but to see if your content matches what employers are seeking.

Think about it: if you’re trying to hire an operations manager, do you really want to see a list of college coursework for engineering on a resume? Probably not.

Conversely, that list of process analysis, efficiency improvement, and performance metrics evaluation skills should be front and center – within the top half of the first page, if possible. This is the kind of information that catches the attention of most recruiters.

Employers are interested in your tendencies, work style, and the pattern of achievement you bring to the table. The more you can articulate (yes, on paper!) what those patterns and contributions look like, the more captivated and interested your audience will be.

3 – Are you still using an outdated presentation–from your college days?

Job hunters who want to get hired in the aggressive market of 2009 have learned to skip objective statements, tiny fonts, and outdated, 1-page formats.

They gain key information on what a masterpiece resume looks like by visiting reputable websites that contain cutting-edge, current resume samples.

A Google search for resume examples can turn up a surprising array of styles and provide you with great starting points (NOT phrases to copy) for your own resume.

Presentation, as I have stated before, is a critical piece of marketing yourself. Be aware that the style and tone of a document speak volumes as to the qualifications and business savvy of the candidate it presents.

Therefore, move outside classic fonts like Times New Roman and Arial, and experiment a little. Try out Book Antiqua or Garamond to shake things up a bit and help your qualifications stand out.

Overall, the best way to get attention during your job search is to throw out the colored paper, lengthy tomes about your career, and worn-out phrases.

Instead, focus on what employers need when they hire a new candidate, and how you can market THOSE capabilities using a fresh, direct approach.

Have You Made the #1 Mistake on Your Leadership Resume?

Are you still giving a résumé presentation that equates to wearing your Saturday jeans to an interview? This is what happens when you ignore the actual presentation and focus exclusively on the content.

Most people don’t realize that choosing that canned Microsoft Word template for their résumés can lay a foundation for less-than-stellar results. It’s even worse if you just type freeform into a blank document with a few headings here and there.

Now, opening a new document and choosing a built-in template might work fine if you’re sending a quick email message, but it certainly isn’t a good way to sell your key competencies if you’re an aspiring leader ready to take on the world and boost your salary in the process.

Now you might ask: what’s wrong with using that Word template? Well, first of all, it’s made for EVERYONE to use. Can all professionals relate to your level of achievement? I doubt it.

In addition, the font allows for only minimal wording to be used, with very short lines. Now, I don’t know about you, but as a professional resume writer, I find it extremely hard to get critical information across in seven-word sentences.

Third of all, the template doesn’t convey status or prestige—the very components that drive careers at the upper echelon.

So, the next time you’re in the midst of a job search, give your résumé style the same attention that you would for any business presentation–using a professional design that speaks to your status, credibility, and level of achievement.