Writing a great sales CV is one of the toughest challenges you face when applying for jobs. For most candidates, getting your foot in the door and securing the interview is the hardest part, especially when most employers spend no more than a few seconds scanning each CV before making their short-list decision. Securing your spot There’s no right or wrong way to put together a hard-working CV, but there are some tricks to staying out of the immediate ‘no’ pile. To help you get that all-important interview, we’ve compiled a list of nine steps to create a winning CV.
1. Write in the first person.
A CV is about you, written by you. You’re not writing a review of another person. It’s a consolidation of your experience to date, from your point of view. Stick to ‘I’, and avoid ‘he, she, or they’.
2. Apply a simple, well-known layout based on three key sections
You’re going to include a lot of information in a just a few pages, so it’s important to make sure everything is presented neatly and tidily, and nothing is missed out. Following this guide should help you to keep things simple.
a) Name, contact details, profile and summary (include your LinkedIn details, particularly if you’re active in your industry or publishing articles).
b) Your experience, knowledge and achievements.
c) Qualifications and other information.
3. Good presentation is essential
Use consistent formatting, professional fonts, and a simple, clear layout as we’ve outlined above. The presentation of your CV is the first thing hirers will notice, so it needs to impress.
4. Quantify your experience with statistics.
You work in sales, and it’s your successes and your ability to sell products, grow businesses, and get others excited in your concepts and ideas that make you good at what you do. Unless you demonstrate how you have excelled in your field by showing tangible results, your CV won't do you justice. Sales managers should demonstrate their achievements alongside targets, working speed alongside results of hiring, evidence of growing and building sales teams. Led any major company successes? List them.
5. Describe the sales process you currently follow
Companies hiring in sales are interested in what routes to market you’ve worked in. Whether it’s through channels, vendors, third-party distributors, supermarkets, retailers, direct to businesses, or somewhere else, they’ll want to hear about your experience.
6. There’s no need to “say cheese”
Unless you’re applying for an acting or modelling job, most companies won’t be interested in a photo. Save this space for compelling content that will work harder for you, and simply direct employers to your LinkedIn, where they’ll find your headshot, along with even more valuable information.
7. Keep it short
If you have less than five years of sales experience, your CV should be no longer than two pages, and three pages if your experience spans longer. Just remember, employers are short on time, so don’t send them your life story. Find more tips in our blog “How to Ace CV Filtering Software”
8. Dates just don’t matter
While it might have been something you were taught at school, there’s no need to include dates of qualifications. But, you definitely should include the details about which grades you achieved, and where you studied.
9. Stay current
Unless you want to, there’s no requirement to include any experience that is over 15-20 years old. Of course, if you have some remarkable achievements that will help sell yourself, include them. But this part of the CV is rarely looked at and could go under the radar.