Before applying for a job, check out the LinkedIn profile building section. Your LinkedIn is your resume. Most recruiters will check it out before contacting you.
Finding your first job as an SDR will require the skills learnt from this site. You can apply for 1000 jobs, and get nowhere, or hunt for the right job and engage them using the techniques taught here. But remember, you don't need to do it alone. Join communities like RevGenuis. You will be surprised how far a community can take you.
This mindset shift will put you in the top 1% of applicants, guaranteed. Before you go on. This is not your typical “how-to”. This is the real goods. The stuff no one wants to talk about. Like, should you apply before you resign? How do you build your personal profile while still employed?
Ander Vazquez June 4, 2019
Do you want to become a tech mogul, or at least jumpstart your career in tech sales? This guide will help you understand the job-hunting process in technology sales from both a job seeker’s point of view as well as the hiring manager’s. During my career I’ve hired, trained, and managed over 100 Sales Development Representatives (SDRs). But I’m the first to admit that I’ve committed many of the hiring and job seeking sins I’m about to tell you about. But, hey, I did it so you don’t have to!
You are about to embark on a difficult yet necessary process for both you and your dream employer. Learn from other people’s missteps, apply these job hunting tips and you’ll be signing your pre-IPO stock option grants in no time!
How to Land an SDR/BDR job Tomorrow
First off, if you are looking to push a button and instantly line your pockets, keeping scrolling..
A High-Level View of the SDR Hiring Process
Before we start our deep dive, take a moment and think of what the SDR hiring process is like from a 10,000-foot level. This is very similar in concept as it would be for a Venture Capitalist (VC) to invest in a seed round company. Typically, there’s no track record of success, so a VC—or in your case, a hiring manager—will evaluate many unknowns to try and gauge whether you have a low enough risk profile while exhibiting qualities for high potential.
In the end, both decisions are made with a limited amount of supporting data. The hope is that with enough training, the decision to invest or hire will create a high yield over time. Make no mistake, failure is expected in a significant number of these decisions, however, successful SDRs tend to have a very high impact, making this process a worthwhile investment.
Now that you understand the stakes, you want to take every possible effort to position yourself as the most obvious and risk-free candidate in the pool. If you follow this process, you’ll nearly guarantee success.
What To Look For When Applying To SDR Jobs
What To Look For When Applying To SDR Jobs
▶︎▶︎▶︎(WATCH NEXT) What does a Sales Development Rep (SDR) in Software Sales actually do? 🔥https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzeb9Of85hw&t=125s Right now is a super competitive time for the job market bc with the rise of remote work, economic prosperity, technological innovation, and globalization, there is more opportunity and competition than even.
Figure Out Your “Why”
You need to be honest with yourself here. Why are you looking to start a career in sales? During phone screens and interviews, this is typically the first question I ask candidates. A well thought out answer to this question will almost always move you to the top of the applicant pool. Think of the above concept regarding mitigating hiring risk from unproven candidates. Sales is an excruciatingly difficult process to master and the transition period from training to jumping on the phones can be especially challenging. Without the right “why”, first-time salespeople fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
The best candidates will have a 100% clear answer for the why question. My top salespeople had done their homework, spoke with successful salespeople, read sales books, attended seminars, and more importantly, came prepared for the interview with a plan and a strategy.
Contrast this with the worst candidates. Anytime I hear “well, I’m not sure, it seems like a great company and this may be a way in the door,” they are nearly automatically disqualified. Why? Because sales development is a freaking tough job. Anyone who is not mentally prepared for the hardships of a sales career will churn out as soon as the ramp period is over. Being let go from a job is horrible for both the employee and employer. You want to make sure you land a job that you’ll be passionate about because you’ll need to pull from that inner strength when things get tough on the job.
Recently, we had a candidate who showed up at the front door and asked to speak with the SDR hiring manager. I was thrilled at this initiative, however when asked why he wanted to work at our company he looked at me with a blank stare and said: “well, I need a job.” Ouch, thank you, next! The fact that you need a job is not a strong enough reason for any employer to extend you an offer.
Here are some questions to help you figure out your “why” in sales:
- Are you a competitive person?
- Have you been in a position where you are constantly rejected?
- If so, did you come back for more? Why?
- Do you have an outlandish belief in yourself?
- Do you have a high tolerance for risk?
- Do you have very high expectations for your income potential?
- Are you willing to grind day-in, day-out for a decade plus?
Do I Really Want to Work in Sales?
If you answered NO to two or more of these questions, I highly recommend you look at yourself in the mirror and ask if you want to get into such a difficult career. Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite, once said that only 23% of all people have the right mental makeup to be a successful seller. After nearly 15 years in sales, I wholeheartedly agree and would go a level deeper. I would say only 2-3% of people have the ability to stay in sales long-term with an average career. The number of top salespeople who consistently make presidents club and earn millions per year is a tiny fraction of this 2-3%.
You may be thinking to yourself, ‘wow, this is tough, with such a high chance of failure, why would anyone in their right mind want to do this?’ The simple answer is that sales is one of the most meritocratic professions in the world. It doesn’t care which neighbourhood you grew up in, what school you attended, or if you know any country club board members. If you’re willing to bet on yourself, work extraordinarily hard, and make a commitment to figure out creative ways to add tremendous amounts of value to your customers, then you’re on the right track.
At this point, I anticipate we have lost half our readers. But that’s good. If you made it this far and are still interested, then a career in sales could be the right move for you.
How to Get Your SDR Job Search Started
Let’s get going, however before you submit any applications or write a single cover letter, you must set your house in order. Here are a few things you absolutely MUST do before you speak with any potential employer.
Clean up your Social Presence
Social media is now a critical part of the candidate screening process. You must learn to use professional media like LinkedIn (and to some extent Twitter), and protect your personal profiles such as Facebook and Instagram to avoid disqualification.
Most modern companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help them manage the hiring process. This includes a repository of applications, candidate screening, interview scorecards, and onboarding logistics. In the candidate screening module of the ATS, there are many built-in tools to help the hiring team identify all the social media profiles of the applicant. This can work to your advantage or seriously backfire. Here’s what you need to do on each platform:
If you haven’t already, set up a profile. Make sure it’s as complete and detailed as possible. LinkedIn has become the modern-day business card and this is the medium where you showcase your professional qualities. Make sure you have a professional-looking headshot, write a personal summary, and include media such as projects you have completed or even school projects you are proud of. Here’s a great LinkedIn profile to a top-performing SDR which you can use as your guide.
Facebook & Instagram
This section is easy. Set these to PRIVATE and delete any posts or profile pictures that can be considered obnoxious or offensive. When job hunting, there is very little to gain from having public profiles and a lot to lose. True story: I once had an applicant whose FB profile photos were mostly photos of him in his underwear. Think of a 90’s Calvin Klein ad but taken in a messy college dorm room. Besides giving me a good laugh, the only thing this candidate received was the cold, automated rejection email.
This is the least used platform by millennials, but if you are a regular Twitter poster, make sure you delete any highly controversial tweets. Even if the hiring manager agrees with your angry rants about the President, they likely cannot hire someone who has a compromised social media presence for a customer-facing job.
How to Prepare Your Resume
Now that you’ve cleaned up your social presence, it’s time to polish your resume. In this section, I will cover some of the must-dos and share some of the most common mistakes I see applicants make.
- Resumes should be ONE page long. No more, no less. It’s your job to figure out how to compress all your experience into a concise format. Three-page resumes go straight in the trash.
- Quantify your accomplishments. A hiring manager is not looking for your job description, but rather what you got done. For example, instead of saying “Worked at the University Intramural league office”, you can say: “Increased enrollment in intramural leagues by 50% in a three-year period by launching campaigns targeting students who had previously expressed interest but had not yet registered”. If you fail to quantify accomplishments, this is usually interpreted as the candidate who is a clock puncher and not focused on driving results.
- Opinions vary on listing interests, but I’ve never been a fan. They just take away from the larger message of your accomplishments. You’re working with very limited real estate in your resume, so save this for the in-person interview.
- Hire a resume editing service: I get it, you just got out of school and burning $150 on something you can do yourself seems like a waste of money. Trust me, it’s not. A resume is a reflection of yourself and if you’re submitting average work, you’ll be perceived as an average candidate.
- I don’t recommend using the standard MS Word resume template. Microsoft has done some upgrades here recently, but I still see a steady stream of subpar resumes using this format.
Here’s an example of a truly innovative resume. This was created by a third party company to showcase their resume making ability and they used Marisa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo as their test case.
Required Reading for Future SDRs
If you were to build a piece of IKEA furniture, chances are you may be able to figure it out without reading the instructions, but it would take you 3X longer and the end result could be disastrous. Interviewing for a sales role without the proper base of knowledge is the same thing. There’s a chance someone will hire you without putting in this work, but you will have spent way more time interviewing and potentially burn great opportunities as opposed to simply taking a full day to educate yourself with some of the top sales development training materials. Here are some books I recommend to every candidate during the interview process and prior to their first day on the job:
Sales Development by Cory Bray & Hilmon Sorey – This book breaks down every aspect of the SDR role and serves as a step-by-step manual on how to become a successful SDR.
The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi – This book will help you see the bigger picture, making you a star in the eyes of your manager. This book is geared 50% to the SDR and 50% to the manager, so don’t worry if some stuff goes over your head. The 50% that is applicable to the SDR is more than worth it.
The Challenger Sale by CEB – This is THE defacto textbook on selling disruptive solutions. It does not teach step by step techniques but rather the framework and mindset required to sell expensive products or solutions to an organization.
Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross – This is the equivalent of a ‘64 Ford Mustang, meaning this is the original piece of content that brought the world of sales development to the forefront. Tons of insight on how to be successful as an SDR, plus I found it very fun to hear some of the stories about the early days at Salesforce.
Even if you only read ONE of the above books, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition. If you only remember one thing from this entire article, this section should be it. Feel free to send me a thank you note later.
Starting Your SDR Job Hunt
Enough theory, let’s start looking for jobs! The good news is that the SDR role is exploding in popularity because it accomplishes two things: 1. It specializes prospecting efforts, allowing senior salespeople to only speak with qualified prospects. 2. it acts as a recruiting and training ground for other more senior roles in the organization.
Currently, there are over 1,000 open SDR positions in the Bay Area alone. Should you apply to all of them? Not unless you want to waste a lot of time. Try this approach instead:
- Start with yourorganic list of your 20 dream companies. Chances are if they’re growing quickly, they likely have SDR jobs open.
- Look through Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. GD & LI. These are expensive job boards, so if you see a job here, you will know that companies are willing to make a serious investment into their SDR team.
- Learn about the company’s culture in advance by reading their company blog or Glassdoor reviews.
- When looking at Glassdoor reviews, look for patterns, mostly good or mostly bad. There will always be some bad reviews, and these typically can come from the worst employees, so take those with a grain of salt. Some companies are inclusive and cheery like Invoca, others like Tesla are all about performance and high pressure. Pick the environment where you feel you will thrive.
- Hunting for a job is very similar to hunting for a deal. You have to build a pipeline of opportunities and the more successful you are here, then the more complicated your job tracking will become. I recommend you sign up for a free trial of Salesforce (you will need to know how to use a CRM as an SDR anyway) and use it to track your various applications and progress you make with each company. If Salesforce is too complicated, a simple spreadsheet with companies, contacts, dates, and statuses will do.
If you read all this way, you’re probably ready to put rubber to the road and start applying for sales jobs. It might not be quick, it won’t be easy, and there will be bumps in the road. Take it from me—I’ve struggled mightily during my career and have taken these lessons to help build one of the top Sales Development Organizations in all of SaaS.
Here is Hamish Stepherson’ summarised process for hunting for a job
✅ Compile advertised jobs
✅ Find hiring manager on
✅ Look up email using
✅ Add all contacts to a Google Sheet with contact details
✅ Download Lavender, it's free if you're out of work
✅ Curate smart, personalized emails to each contact with Lavender
✅ Do not mass email. Make sure the email has 1. personalization, 2. the problem you'd solve, 3. call to action
✅ Send email at lunchtime. There's a high chance they've been in internal meetings all morning with upper management wondering when they're going to hire these roles.
✅ Hiring managers hate recruiting, so it helps to fall in their lap
Vidyard, start recording personalized videos to each member of the spreadsheet from above
✅ Identify a new problem that you'd solve in the role, make sure you can pitch yourself in less than 60 seconds
✅ Add in a comment that directly relates to them, think podcasts, investor news, posting (try to stay away from university alumni/alumnus)
✅ Start sending the Vidyards first thing in the morning
✅ Find the hiring managers on Linkedin and engage on their posts.
If they aren't posting on their own, comment on the posts they're commenting on
✅ Don't try to connect with them (yet)
✅ The hardest day by far, the cold call day
✅ Look up phone number using
✅ Leave voicemails if you can
✅ Send your final follow up email for the week
✅ This email has to be concise and respectfully direct
✅ Be clear of why you would be a fit for the role in one sentence
✅ Send personalized connection request sent at 10am
✅ The chance of the hiring manager seeing it is much higher since they'll likely be hanging out with their kids, taking their kids to sports, working out, catching up on emails, walking the dog or on their way to breakfast
✅ When they accept, send a voice note with similar content to your Vidyard
Many may say the multi touch approach in a week is an overkill. It's not.
When looking for a job, it helps to be aggressive and stay at the forefront of the hiring manager's mind.
Be that 1%.
Resources / Tools
Lavender - The #1 Sales Email Assistant
Amy Volas Lavender shows data on your recipient and their company. See personality insights, social data, recent news, events, funding announcements, tech stack, job listings, and more. Then our AI writes personalized intros for you.
Sign up for the Lavender Newsletter
This is probably the most important part. If you want your resume to be in the pile with 1000 others, good luck. Leverage your network to get referrals, recommendations and introductions. It's the best way in.
How To Prep For The Entry-Level Sales Interview
Looking to launch a career in sales? Our Futureforce Recruiters share their top tips to help you ace your sales Interview. This is your first step in understanding each stage of the sales cycle, prospecting, cold calling, to closing deals.
Sales Interview Tips - Sell Yourself In a Job Interview
Learn the secrets on how to sell yourself in a job interview and get your dream job.
Here is a list I compiled of 60 interview questions you should consider asking if you are going for an SDR or SDR Manager role.
If you think you need professional help, that's okay too.
- Reach out to recruiters in your area,
- Reach out to recruiters who specialise in tech
- Reach out to HR professionals who help with resume building and teaching you to interview better.
- The cost of these services will become insignificant over the course of your career.
Attributes for an SDR/BDR to highlight
Communication: An SDR must be able to speak clearly with prospective consumers. This covers both written and verbal communication, as well as the capacity to pay attention to and comprehend the demands of the client. Persuasion: An SDR must be able to persuade potential consumers of the benefits of the company's goods or services. Time management: In order to meet quotas and accomplish goals, an SDR must be able to prioritise work and efficiently manage their time. The capacity to adjust to shifting conditions and client demands is essential for an SDR. Solving problems: An SDR must be able to recognise and fix any problems that may come up throughout the sales process. In order to find new sales prospects, an SDR should be proficient in researching target markets and possible clients. Teamwork: An SDR may need to cooperate with people from other departments and inside the sales team, therefore they must be able to work well in a team. Emotional intelligence: An SDR needs to be able to recognise, control, and comprehend their own emotions as well as the emotions of the clients they work with. Organisational abilities: An SDR needs to be able to manage their workload, and maintain track of their contacts and sales funnel. Negotiation: In order to close agreements and meet their sales objectives, an SDR must be able to bargain with potential clients. Creativity: An SDR may differentiate themselves and succeed if they have the capacity to think creatively and provide original concepts and sales strategies. Resilience: An SDR needs to be able to bounce back from failure and rejection while still working towards success. An SDR must have confidence since they frequently must present and sell to potential consumers. Customer service: An SDR must deliver exceptional customer service since it can boost client happiness and loyalty. Product expertise is essential for an SDR to successfully convey the benefits of the goods or services they are selling to prospective clients. Knowledge of the industry and the marketplace in which the company works may aid an SDR in identifying new sales possibilities and convincing customers of the benefits of the firm's goods and services. Social media: An SDR might utilise familiarity with social media platforms to investigate new clients and establish relationships with them. Data analysis: An SDR may benefit from having the capacity to evaluate data and utilise it to develop sales strategy. Leadership: An SDR may have to assume leadership responsibilities within the sales team, thus the capacity to inspire and guide people is crucial. Coaching: An SDR may be charged with mentoring and coaching other sales team members, thus the capacity to do so is essential.