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Starting Your Search for a New Sales Position? Here’s 6 Must Dos.

Perhaps you’re considering following through on your New Year’s Resolution to find a new, better sales position.  Before you jump in, heed the 2nd habit from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits and “Begin with the end in mind.”  Or to steal a line from my favorite Quarterback, Russell Wilson, “the separation is in the preparation.” Below is my list of 6 Must Dos every sales professional should square away before they begin a new career search.

  1. Write an impactful resume.  A well written sales resume should showcase your sales results.  I have more to say on this topic in the article I wrote “Resumes from a Hiring Manager’s Perspective.”  You can find a good example of an effective sales resume  here.  The #1 thing you can do to make your resume stand out, is to beat or even better, crush your sales quota.
  2. Provide proof.  An impressive resume will get you in the door but it won’t win you the job.  The more coveted the position, the more intense your competition will be.  It’s unfortunate but far too many sales professionals exaggerate their sales accomplishments and earnings history.  You will be different.  Your resume and your story will match.  More convincingly, you’re going to bring in documentation to prove it.  A deeper dive into the topic of brag books can be found –  here.  Ten times out of ten, I’m going to hire the sales rep with a slightly less impressive but completely documented track record over the sales rep with the more impressive one that lacks supporting proof.
  3. Update your LinkedIn Profile Picture.  LinkedIn’s own research shows that a profile with a picture gets 7x as much traffic as one without.  If the picture is professional and well done? It receives 14x as many views.  Here at Sales Talent, when we receive an impressive resume, we always look that person up on LinkedIn before calling them.  We’re looking to see if the sales #s, dates, etc. match.  We also want to see if the candidate knows how to present themselves online.  You can find my thoughts on an effective LinkedIn Profile Picture – here.
  4. Get Strong LinkedIn Recommendations.  I literally paused writing this blog to take a call from one of my clients.  We have a candidate that is all the way through the interview process with my client and it’s decision time.  Unfortunately, the hiring manager is on the fence.  He laughed when I commented that it seemed like he’s looking for a reason to hire or not hire the candidate.  You just never know when a recruiter or hiring manager will be playing a similar thought through their head about you.  In situations like this, strong recommendations can make a difference.  I’ve written 2 blogs on the topic of LinkedIn recommendations and the power of external validation which you can find –  here.
  5. Google your name.  You might be surprised what you find.
  6. Line up your references.  The point of the entire exercise is to get an offer.  References will be required at the end of the process but a savvy candidate will use them during the process.  Here’s an example of how.  Perhaps a key ingredient of success in the sales role is the ability to consistently set appointments with the C suite.  When the topic comes up during the interview offer to get the hiring manager on the phone with your former boss who will be happy to speak to your ability to consistently get appointments.


Following the 6 steps above does not guarantee that you will receive an offer from every company that you interview with.  What I will guarantee you is that it will dramatically increase your odds.


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Chris Carlson

My name is Chris Carlson and I’m the founder and President of Sales Talent. This blog grew out of my desire to document and share what I’ve learned in my two plus decades of sales recruiting and leading Sales Talent. We post a new blog once a quarter on the 3rd Thursday of every January, April, July and Oct. These posts are aimed at sales professionals and leaders that speaks to talent selection, team building, or career advancement. If you have a topic that you’d like my take on, please reach out to me.

You can find Chris Carlson on LinkedIn or contact him directly at: