Considering applying for a sales job? You need to start with a sales CV that opens the door to an interview. A CV that’ll get a hiring manager to stop sifting through their pile of CVs and reach out to you instantly.
The most effective way to do this is to focus on your career achievements. It’s often said that you should sell the solution to a problem rather than a product offering or features. The same applies to your application. Highlight your winning negotiating, relationship building and problem-solving abilities. This will transform your CV into a story of exceeded sales targets, lucrative contracts won and large amounts of revenue generated.
So before you hit send on your next sales application, read this below and build yourself the perfect sales CV that’ll open up opportunities for you.
What to include in your CV
Let's start with the basics. To give your self the best chance of progressing with your application and being called for an interview ensure your CV has the following sections:
1. Personal Information
At the top of your CV, give your full name, location, email address, and phone number. The information will make it easier for potential employers to reach you for an interview.
2. Personal statement
Just below your contact information, it’s recommended you give a brief summary - just one or two sentences - highlighting your attributes and experiences that make you suitable for the job. Your professional profile is great opportunity to pitch yourself and shows the recruiter why they should consider you for the position.
3. Educational Background
Give a breakdown of your education history in reverse chronological order. Since sales is a competitive space, including any professional development courses or conferences you attended can make you stand out. They also show your passion and commitment to a career in sales.
4. Work Experience
When showing your employment history, refrain from just listing your roles. Instead, show how you made a difference by providing relevant statistics and mentioning significant achievements. Remember to also mirror the language used in the job description to show similarities between your experience and the role you’re applying for.
What hard and what soft skills do you possess that are relevant for the job you’re applying to? Even if you’re short on experience, include attributes you acquired in college or other environments. Mention any sales skills and personal traits that you believe will be relevant to the job.
6. Interests and hobbies
This section is optional but if you chose to add your hobbies and your passions it’s a rule of thumb to leave it towards the end of your CV. The hobbies you mention will give the impression that you are a whole-rounded person. However, do not lie about your hobbies - you don’t want to get caught out.
Common Sales Jobs
Sales is a broad field with numerous job titles falling under the umbrella of sales. Here are just a few job titles in the industry you might come across:
- Sales Development Representative
- Business Development Representative
- Account Executive
- Sale Executive
- Sales Manager
- Business Development Manager
- Key Account Manager
- Account Manager
- Partnerships Manager
- Channel Sales Manager
- Field Sales Manager
- VP of Sales
- Sales Director
- Chief Revenue Officer
- Telesales Executive/Manager
Pitch yourself so it resonates with the prospective employer
It’s not just what you say about yourself but how you say it. By now you know that if you want to build trust and rapport with a prospect you need to speak their language. It’s the same with your sales CV. Study the company you’re applying to, the job description, and the person specification. Understand what they’re looking for and then mirror back some of the words and phrases used.
Remember that in some cases your sales CV needs to get past applicant filtering systems – before it even goes to a human. The filtering systems work just like a search engine – scanning your CV for keywords. For example, you might want to highlight pitching to international companies or seeking out new sectors for business development. Other keywords might be overseeing client renewals or specific social media platforms and CRM databases in which you have expertise.
It’s all about the prospect
Imagine you’re sitting in front of a prospect. You’ll be actively listening, asking open questions that help you unpick useful information and making them feel that you understand their problems, pain points and business issues. Now do the same when writing your CV.
What skills and experience are important to the hiring manager? What problems can you help them solve? What are they looking to achieve by filling this role? Tailor your CV to each hiring manager and concisely highlight your USP and relevant career achievements.
Back up your talk with facts and numbers
To gain credibility in a sales meeting you’ll have product features and benefits, performance records and ROI figures to hand. Do the same with your sales CV.
Look for solid evidence that demonstrates how you can sell face-to-face and over the phone. Charismatic presentation and public speaking skills give a major boost to your CV. Don’t forget social media – can you demonstrate an engaging and effective presence across the platforms relevant to your target market?
Explain your potential employer what you have achieved in your career so far with real world examples and specific measurable outcomes. Employers are generally interested in your results and achievements as they demonstrate how you are able to use your skills to their benefit. A strong sales CV will have punchy bullet points that lead with key benefits such as:
- Grew client database by 150% in 12 months and smashed annual sales target by 30%
- Won ‘Sales Manager of the Year’ for two consecutive years, having exceeded all quarterly sales targets by an average of 20%
- Increased average order value by 40%
Let’s face it, Facts and figures are the best way to reinforce your results and achievements. They work when you use them in sales pitches and they’ll work when pitching yourself for a role. If you can quantify results with numbers of accounts, pounds or percentages, it will help you stand out as credible.
Keep it brief
Instead of trying to cram everything you’ve ever done into two pages, highlight exceptional successes, contracts and projects that are relevant to the role or industry you’re applying to. Keep it clean and simple. It’s likely that applicant filtering systems will reject CVs with text boxes or lots of different fonts and colours. So keep a close eye on your formatting. Also, the hiring manager wants to quickly hone in on your key selling points. So use headers effectively and guide their eyes to the information that’s most important.
Show that you can build relationships
You can demonstrate resilience by consistently driving great business results, but what are you like to work with? Salespeople don’t always work alone. It’s often said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers, so show you motivate those around you to excel.
Other personal qualities to highlight could be:
- Passion for your industry
- Leadership and empathy, for managing people and understanding customers
- Commitment to continuous learning
Don’t damage your reputation with errors
Typos and inconsistencies damage your brand and reputation. They also make you appear less professional and trustworthy. Check, check and check again to make sure there are no spelling, grammar or spacing issues. Print your CV and read it aloud to yourself – if possible, ask a friend or colleague to proofread it too.
To succeed in sales you need to be passionate, motivated and incredibly persuasive. You already apply smart problem-solving skills to each client and new prospect. Now, you need to transfer these skills to your CV writing to ensure you build rapport and close the sale with the recruiter.