Already in 2021 we are seeing companies start to ramp up their recruitment activity and hire the experienced sales and account management professionals they were unable to do during 2020. Meanwhile job applicant competition remains high for the best jobs.
Here we give our top five CV tips that you can’t afford to ignore in 2021. The most critical part of your CV to get right is your personal statement, skills and experience. When writing a CV make sure it is tailored to highlight that you have the specific skills and most relevant experience to ensure the CV stands out from the competition.
1. Understand your audience
People reviewing your CV will generally be looking for the same thing when hiring in sales and account management: profit, bigger market share and developing their business. They will look for candidates who will help their business to achieve these objectives from how they have described their work experience.
Whether you have six months or 20 years worth of experience, the rules are the same - so make sure your CV highlights these points through numbers, financials plus other objective information and past experiences. Remember to include your past sales figures in your work history (particularly your sales results next to target), as these are what people reviewing your CV are drawn to.
Top CV advice tip: Bullet points aid the person reading your CV.
2. Draw Parallels
Your previous work history should be listed in chronological order with the most recent employment first. If there are some parallels between your old company and the job you are applying to, then it’s worth providing information about the similarities. This will help the person who is reviewing your CV to compare your potential fit to the job description. As an example, this might include stating that your previous employer worked with many clients in the healthcare sector, if you know this is a key customer base for the company you’re applying for.
Top CV advice tip: Tailor your CV to reflect each job you apply for.
3. Identify an achievement
Pick at least one specific achievement from each of your past jobs and briefly explain how that example improved the business. Always use concrete evidence such as percentage increases in sales etc. It can’t be stressed enough that your CV is designed to get you the interview, not the job. Avoid delving into too much detail but provide enough information to entice potential employers to want to meet you.
A common mistake candidates make on their CV, is to understate their past sales achievements and by doing so, they greatly reduce the impact and the quality of their CV.
Top CV advice tip: Keep your CV up to date throughout your career - not just when job hunting
4. Make it keyword friendly
Did you know that an increasing number of employers are now using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to assist in shortlisting candidates? Job titles and job buzzwords will help CV filtering software put your CV at the top of the pile and help someone who isn’t an expert in sales, filter your CV effectively. If your job title is company specific, explain in brackets what it means. Someone else might not know that a Cloud Solutions Consultant is a Business Development Manager.
Many ATS can also link your CV to your social media profiles, so ensure relevant skills and experiences are shown across your CV and your LinkedIn profile in particular. Be aware that when a hiring manager is reviewing your CV they may also be reading your thoughts and views on Twitter etc too.
Top CV advice tip: Before applying for jobs check what is publicly visible about you, on social media profiles.
5. Be factual
In 2020 we saw a growing number of companies complete background checks on the accuracy of the CV before hiring a candidate. All aspects of your CV, including your dates of employment and sales figures, must be factually correct. If you have a gap in employment and are concerned about how this may come across on your CV you can always enter dates as month-to-month or even year-to-year, rather than specific dates.
If you’ve had a number of jobs over a relatively short period of time, you can group these jobs together, for example, 2015-2017 ‘worked in temporary roles within the retail sector’.
Top CV advice tip: Double check all dates and figures quoted are correct.
Finally, make sure you are easy to contact, an alarming amount of CVs do not include basic contact information - it’s crucial your CV includes your email address and phone number (mobile number is sufficient).
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