Professional Development on Your Resume

Developmental Roles

One of the resumes I looked at today was from a very successful sales rep. This individual had a good track record over the last 10 years. They listed a number of examples of growing sales and exceeding expectations. Their background is impressive.

When I got to the bottom of their resume, it just stopped. The end of their resume (with names masked for confidentiality):

<Retail Sales Company> City, ST Mo/Year to Mo/Year
Management Trainee

Performed and managed operational functions with a high degree of autonomy and initiative.
Developed and executed innovative strategies to enhance service levels.


<School Name> University, City, ST Mo/Year
Bachelor of Arts

This resume misses two opportunities. First, during this individual’s career, they list no continuing education or professional development. According to their resume, their education stopped when they graduated.

Second, the two bullets for the Management Trainee position highlight autonomy and innovation, instead of successfully mastering the skills and techniques of the training program. I’m sure this firm taught a good regime of management, leadership and sales skills. Based on the career progression after this position, I’m confident that the job seeker got some benefit out of the position. And yet, the most noteworthy thing that they have to talk about is that they were “autonomous” in a training program.

A much better approach would be to detail the skills learned and the experience mastered during the training. This could go in the work experience section or in the education section. It really depends on which area needs to be strengthened.