Sales keywords, strategically placed on your sales resume, can make or break your job search. Keywords are the buzzwords and industry jargon that tell database screening software that you just might be the right candidate for the job. They are the words employers are searching for to establish that a candidate has a background suitable for a particular opening.
If you’re in sales and if you want your resume to result in invitations for interviews, you need to know what particular keywords are relevant to your situation. Where do you find those critical keywords for your sales resume?
Look First At The Job Description
Just seen an advertisement or online posting for a position opening in sales that looks appealing? If so, you’ve also found the perfect place to search for relevant keywords for your sales resume. Most advertisements will list not only the responsibilities of the job, but they will point to a wish list of qualifications and characteristics the company would like to see in candidates. The critical keywords are there for the picking – and they’re already optimized for the position.
Sales Keywords – Real World Examples
For example, as I write these words I’m looking at the corporate website for the General Electric Company. I initiated a job search on their “career page,” and up popped an opening for a Sales Executive – CDS Sales. Reading under the category Desired Characteristics, I found the following (excerpts from the website, with my underlining of important keywords):
– Minimum of 6 years of healthcare enterprise or corporate selling / business development experience in integrated solutions (IT, data, content/programming, education, marketing).
– Robust interpersonal skills, with evidence of teamwork and collaboration.
– Solid process orientation, demonstrated resource management and allocation experience, and the ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
– Experienced in relationship management with CXOs, brand teams, medical affairs officers, product team leaders and department heads.
– Knowledge of pharmaceutical marketing, healthcare communications, compliance in ACCME, DDMAC, HIPAA, OIG.
If you were to apply online to GE for this job, your resume would be scanned by software looking specifically for these keywords. If your resume lacks most, some or all of these sales keywords, you are at a competitive disadvantage – even if you’re qualified for the position.
Looking Elsewhere for Sales Keywords
Even if you’re not applying to a specific job opening, you can still use job ads and online postings for keyword ideas to improve the visibility of your resume to computer eyes. Consider the following sources for more ideas…
Read newsletters and trade magazines dedicated to your industry or discipline.
Have a conversation with recruiters specializing in your industry or profession.
Consult with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. You can find a copy at most libraries and online.
Visit online forums and discussion groups that cater to your profession or industry.
Heads-Up: Only Use Keywords On Your Resume That Are Applicable
Before you place any keyword on your resume, take a moment to make sure you’re comfortable with the term, and that your experience with that term is relevant. Always assume the worst: in this case, that you will be asked pointedly to expand on any and all technical jargon you embed in your resume. Be comfortable with these keywords, this jargon, or don’t use them.
You do not want to stand there dumbfounded in an interview because you can’t define matrix management – even though the keyword is woven throughout your resume.