Finding great SDRs: Hidden Gems to Spot on a Resume

Chris Algiere
March 26, 2017

The search for new SDRs can be painful. The sheer volume of applicants can be overwhelming, most applicants lack sales experience, and often when you find a good resume, that person has already taken another job.

When filtering resumes, one of the easiest things to do is eliminate candidates without any sales experience. Unfortunately, that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to hire a sales development representative.

Don’t get me wrong, SDR experience is good in some situations. If you can plug someone into the seat and have them perform immediately, you’ve struck gold. However, there are a few reasons experience is not ideal.

When experience is a bad thing

First, what a new hire knows is almost guaranteed to be different than the processes your team follows. Retraining someone who has their own method is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks.  

Second, If they’ve been in the SDR seat for a few months to a year, they’ll likely be looking to move out of that seat quickly - either leaving for a new opportunity or looking for a promotion before you’re ready. Here you are back at square one.

The key to finding a great SDR who will stay in the seat for a year or more is to find someone who is coachable, willing to learn, and has some life experience that can translate into a sales role.

Spotting your next rockstar SDR

Remember, your goal should be to find great people that can do the SDR job, not SDR robots that will burn out in a year or two. This will not only help you create a great SDR team, but those people are more likely to go on to become your company’s next generation of leaders in other positions.

The hidden gems on an entry-level resume

Here we’ve identified some common activities on a recent grad’s resume that translate well into a sales role:

  • Fundraising - They’re not afraid to make the ask, they’ve likely made numerous calls before, faced rejection, and have interacted with a number of different personalities.
  • Teaching - Educating a buyer is more important than ever in the era of the “sales consultant”. Teachers also have to think ahead, they know how to organize information so that it’s easily digestible, and come ready with a plan of attack.
  • Journalism or Media Studies - The ability to organize information and craft a message succinctly is key in a prospecting email. They know how to write a headline to grab attention. When it comes to talking to people, they are great listeners and can pick up on subtle clues that a lead may drop. These people know how to tell a story, and you won’t have to worry about writing skills or grammar mistakes. They may even make the rest of your team better communicators.
  • Restaurant experience - These people manage multiple customers’ requests, need to be timely, and often have to suggest a solution (like which wine to pair with your meal, or which level of software their organization really needs). Taking orders also applies here. Your SDR has to ask the right questions in order to discover a pain point.
  • Data analysis - When it comes to prospecting, your SDRs better know how to find the people who fit your ICP. Additionally, they’ll be better at analyzing their own performance and improving upon it. Don’t underestimate a fantasy football whiz or someone who has come from a finance or statistics background.
  • Coaching experience - This takes emotional intelligence (EIQ), which is key when selling to multiple personas. Coaches are often looking to get the same result from many different people, so they’re good at adapting their techniques for each individual.

So if you’re struggling to find great SDR candidates, it may be time to re-prioritize your “must-haves” and change your focus to someone who’s coachable with some of these experiences that are proven to translate into the role. You’ll save yourself a lot of work down the road.


Want more help screening out bad resumes? Try giving your applicants a short assignment, we've already created it for you:

Free SDR Resume Screening Assignment