We all know that you need to tailor your CV to whichever industry you’re applying. That’s all well and good, but sales goes a bit further – in sales, a CV isn’t just a description of you, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate to whoever’s reading it just how good you are at selling, using yourself as the product!
If you apply to a sales role with just your bog-standard CV, it’d be like a photographer using an iPhone selfie as their LinkedIn profile picture – you’re wasting an opportunity to demonstrate your skills straight out of the gate. Use language that goes above and beyond the boring and normal to impress the reader with your skills.
Know the Company
Tailoring your CV to the industry is good, but tailoring it to the specific company is even better. If you can mould your application to the specific culture and style of the company to which you’re applying, you’ll be miles ahead of other candidates.
It requires a little more work than just the spray-and-pray way of firing out CVs to every job advert you see, but the extra effort will be obvious to employers and will get you many more interviews.
Previous Sales Roles
We appreciate that not everyone applying for a sales role will have previous sales experience, but if you do it’s an absolute must to highlight exactly what style of sales you used as well as the amount of revenue you generated for the company where applicable. Other details to include would be average deal size, amount of clients, sectors into which you sold, methods of prospecting and typical decision makers.
Some people think that things like personal statements, achievements & awards and hobbies & interests are unimportant in a CV, and will leave them off. They are wrong. Those sections are your opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates and really sell the stuff that makes you you. Participation in sports and evidence of being in leadership positions in societies at uni are excellent ways to demonstrate the qualities employers look for in a salesperson.
There are certain buzzwords employers will look for in a sales CV, including:
- Product Knowledge
- Client Acquisition/Retention
- Goal Setting/Forecasting
- Written/Verbal Communication
- Time Management
- Attention to Detail
Including some of these (as long as they’re truthful) is a surefire way to show them that you’re who they’re looking for.
It’s 2020, and we have a wealth of technology at our fingertips of which frankly not enough people take advantage. Recording a video in which you give an introduction to yourself, your skills, your work history and anything else you might consider relevant is a great way of showing an employer exactly what kind of a person you are. This way, you can showcase the confidence and communication skills on which they would otherwise just have to take your word.
Do’s and Don’t’s
Finally, some quick do’s and don’t’s to help you optimise that CV for Sales.
- Add a career objective in your intro
- Add all previous employment – you may not think that retail job looks great, but a gap looks worse
- Add key details: Phone, Email and General Location
- Add Academic History
- Use bullet points rather than extended prose (imagine reading this list as one big paragraph – not great)
- Have a separate Excel file listing all previous deals you’ve done, their value, and what you made from them
- “Rate” your skills with stars or out of 10 – when it comes to CVs, either you have a skill or you don’t
- Write in third person – we all know who wrote it
- Include cheesy puns or quotes – keep it all professional and written by you
- Have gaps – if you don’t say on your CV what you were doing in 2018, it will be an interviewer’s first question
- Add your full address or date of birth
- Add your full reference details – if they want them, they’ll ask