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Software Sales Resume Red Flags

Reading a software sales resume is always a challenge. What do you look for? How do you sort the signal from the noise? And – of you’ve got a lot of them on your desk – how can you start weeding out the ones that aren’t appropriate?

Here are some common red flags our software sales recruiters see all the time.


1. Short Employment Terms

This is a common red flag but sales professionals routinely change jobs every three to four years. Specifically, look for employment terms of less than two years. It’s difficult to maximize earnings in less than two years, so leaving prior indicates potential performance issues.

2. No Specific Numbers or Accomplishments

Any successful sales professional should have specific examples of deals they’ve closed, quotas they’ve achieved or awards they’ve won. If a candidate doesn’t include them on a resume it’s likely they don’t have them.

3. Non-Software Sales Experience

A lot of sales professionals want to sell software. A lot of sales skills are transferrable. However, ramp up time is going to be a lot longer for a candidate from outside your industry and you’ll end up paying a premium for irrelevant experience or asking the candidate to take a financial step backwards.

4. One Long Employment Term

This is particularly relevant if the long term is followed by several shorter terms. Success in sales will always be somewhat circumstantial, but if a candidate can only excel in one environment, you need to know what that looks like.

5. Incompatible Organizations

The differences between a startup sales team and that of an enterprise organization are substantial. Candidates moving from one to the other can feel stifled by a bureaucracy they’re not accustomed to or lost without the support systems they’ve relied on in the past.

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