Why Your Resume Lost You The Interview

Jul 9, 2018

As a recruiter, former sales person and sales manager I can safely say I have seen hundreds of thousands of resumes in my time. Some better than others and some…well they go straight into the shredder; or if we have a compelling enough conversation I will encourage a candidate to re-write it or I will make aesthetic and grammatical changes with their guidance. Some of you are reading this and are probably clueless about how much better your resume could actually be! This needs to be something taken seriously, especially if you DO NOT have a recruiter in your corner lobbying for you to win an interview.

A resume is a first impression and if you responded to an online job posting then it is likely that the hiring manager has been inundated by hundreds and sometimes thousands of candidates. As a result of the volume they are dealing with, a little bit of ego and presumptions, your resume at first glance can simply look “wrong” and if it doesn’t captivate them in one second…yes you have one second…then you can end up at the bottom of the pile or worse. Not to worry, I am going to tell you exactly how to avoid being discarded like that old napkin that has been sitting on your desk for two days.

This is focused on a salesperson’s resume and how to best

position yourself if it is a sales role you are after, however, these principles reign true for most roles and this advice can be relate-able to many other verticals and roles out there so read on.

Lose the Pages!

You are NOT Working on a Thesis….No One Cares About Your Life Story…sorry. I don’t know how many times I have been forced to go through someones resume and life story…I mean is it necessary to include that in 1995 you ran a lemonade stand with your little sister for the summer from May to August every other weekend? Unless you franchised that baby like Howard Schultz did with Starbucks and built an empire…which would beg the question… Why are you looking for employment?… then just drop it. It actually makes you look unprofessional and makes the hiring manager wonder if this is on your resume as something worth talking about…you probably haven’t done much in terms of accomplishments.

Keep the resume to a two page maximum.

This also relates to how much work experience is too much? Keep those summer jobs out of there from the adolescent years when you were off from college or university. Keep to the last five to ten years of relevant experience as it relates to the current opportunity. If you don’t have that depth of experience then include experiences, extra-curricular activities, sports and academic accomplishments and volunteer work that can relate to the role you are applying for. If the hiring manager wants to learn more about your history, they will ask you in the interview you won because your resume wasn’t garbage after reading this…you’re welcome.

Numbers Don’t Lie…People Do…

If you are applying to a sales or sales leadership role then I’d suggest including what you have actually accomplished if you are a veteran. Don’t patronize the hiring manager with “fluff” words and over describing the day to day role…we know you had to make dials, talk to people, and drive around in your car all day suited up in scorching temperatures or freezing conditions, all while carrying one hundred pound samples up hill both ways…Your job is to produce so what did you produce? We want to see hard data! This should be categorized in two places on your resume: a section at the very top titled Accomplishments and in a section describing your previous work history. Under Accomplishments list awards or professional recognition that you have received. Under your work experience for each specific role you can outline the hard data of what you actually got done. Go it?

We want to know what your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) were, whether or not you were meeting them and the result. That’s it. Example: Requirements of the role: 200 dials a week, 30 in person presentations, 100 canvassing calls, 2 deals a week, average deal size $5,000, $520,000 a year, followed up by your actual achieved numbers. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate, if you met 76% of your target or exceeded it by 110% be honest on the results, it speaks to your character. You know what looks great on a resume? Someone with great tenure who survived in their previous role with a mix of highs and lows and didn’t turnover in six to twelve months like so many others do. This speaks to your endurance and stamina to roll with the punches.

Sales people need to demonstrate resolve. So if you are reading this and have been hopping from job to job over the past year or more then STOP! Park it, pay your dues and build credibility, nothing will destroy trust and credibility more than seeing that someone can’t hold down a career or job for more than one year. The sweet spot is four to five years. Sales is a fluid career profession and there are lots of reasons people make changes. However, what is the hiring manager supposed to think when they see this? Despite your reasoning, you’ve already created doubt in their mind and your resume found its way to their recycling bin on their laptop.


Here is how you should layout your resume in order to maximize your opportunity to be seen, stand out and win an interview:

John E. Doe


President’s Club Winner: FY17

Winner’s Circle: FY17Q4, FY17Q3, FY17Q2

123% to Target FY17

Team Captain Promotion 2018

Rookie of the Year 2017


ABC Company: 2014-Present

(Insert daily expectations…remember numbers don’t lie, stick to the KPI requirements)

Once you’ve satisfied the numbers you can add one or two points that describe day to day

Describe what you have learned in your time here.

123 Company: May 2010- June 2014

– (Insert daily expectations…remember numbers don’t lie, stick to the KPI requirements)

-Once you’ve satisfied the numbers you can add one or two points that describe day to day

-Describe what you have learned in your time here.


I Did IT University, NY, NY 2006-2010
Sales Science, BA



Basketball – Div. 1


Volunteering (NY Food Shelter)

As you can see the above example is incomplete but this should give you a great starting point for laying out your resume and the content that you want to include. It is simple, direct and to the point. Everything that a hiring manager wants to know is at the top of your resume, so as they are flipping through a pile or scanning through a laptop screen this will be the first thing they see. Notice at the end if you have any additional characteristics or traits that are worth mentioning they are a great way to cap things off. Here are the numbers, awards and why I am awesome…concluded with the unique qualities that make you who you are. I hope you found this helpful and best of luck in your career search.