It was a long day of screening resumes…

since I’m working myself through 136 applications for a Sales role in the Netherlands. And like writers can stumble, I currently have a “recruiters block”: screening your 96th resume and realizing you’re just staring at the pages.

Time for a quick break. So why not have one in writing?

While screening this variety of account managers, hunters, business developers, sales representatives, there are some recurrent things that I find remarkable. Some of them simply annoy me, some of them are a potential lost opportunity to get that first interview in your agenda.

So here are 5 conclusions I feel like sharing with an audience.

  1. Don’t compare yourself with an animal. What is up with this trend anyway? “Sales tiger”. “Commercial animal”. I know you’re enthusiastic, I know the extravert (and sometimes over the top) character of sales profiles but there is no added value whatsoever for the one reading the letter. It even has the opposite effect. So please: think it when you look in the mirror in the mornings (or say it out loud for a good old school affirmation). But don’t write it.
  2. We’re asking you to be closing contracts, bringing home the money and exceeding your targets. So, copywriting skills are not on the wish list. But Word does have a feature called “spelling check”. It’s simple, it takes 2 minutes and it avoids me getting my eyes poked out by obvious typos. Just run your letter and resume through this magical software, follow her suggestions and make me a happy screener.
  3. Motivation still does the trick. Candidates often complain on social media about recruiters not reading their motivation letters. Well, I do. A motivation letter says everything about you: your energy, your style, why you apply, why you think you’re THE hunter we’re looking for. It doesn’t have to be a formal letter, just a note about who you are and what thrives you is already a good start to get an extra feel on the application. And it can convince me to plan a Skype call with you, even though I might have reservations on your experience.
  4. If you claim to be the best, you’ve got to know your numbers. Put them in your resume, know them by heart. My favorite hunter profiles are people who brag about their achievements. Actual achievements. What was the target, by how much did you over exceed, what was your turnover? That says to me: this candidate is a proud over achiever. Just what I’m looking for.
  5. Brag about results. Not about titles. You can be a sales manager, leading a whole team. Doing 2 visits per week, being responsible for the 2 interns who are trying to help you generating leads. What I need to know is: what was your focus, what were your responsibilities and what did you achieve?

Break’s over. Curious to see if there are some tigers, giraffes and maybe antelopes in the pipeline.