Your curriculum vitae is a vital tool in your job search and crucially for getting your foot in the door with an employer. It provides you with an opportunity to sell your skills, knowledge and abilities to market yourself as someone a hiring business would want to meet. But what makes a great CV in the sales profession stand out?
My experience is from reading thousands of CV's both as an employer building sales teams, working with recruiters and now being a recruiter. They are crucial to persuade people to choose you above all others, to decide who best to shortlist and as a reference aid during the interview(s). The reality is that so many look and read the same, so how do you stand out? Even before consideration in todays world of searching for the best sales talent think of your CV as your own personal SEO tool, now there's a reason to get it right! So....here are my top tips.
Layout and format.
Don’t make it too busy or fancy, it can detract from the main points you want to get across, make it clear and personal to you. Most importantly keep it relevant and to the point.
Include the expected name, telephone & email address, beyond that there are some key points you need to start adding. Include a LinkedIn address and/or link, this is really useful for the recruiter and you to connect, you also get to see who is taking interest in you. make sure your LinkedIn profile is as good as your CV, the platform is used widely to find people to hire based on experience etc. Photo's are not essential but they do make a difference, certainly with applicant tracking systems (ATS) you stand out to hiring managers. A lot of people don't include home address's anymore but the world is changing and CRM & ATS systems pull this information through from your CV thus people have the ability to search for you with local and relevant positions so include Town/postcode as a minimum.
Profile summary - Make it about you.
Every sales CV needs a short and sharp summary of your experience, expertise, relevance and career objectives. Namely, your professional summary. DON’T make it generic, DO Think of this as an elevator pitch but for yourself. Giving it to you in a sales speak...are you selling your value proposition (VP), unique selling points (USP's) or simply listing your FAB's?
Do this in reverse chronology (most recent first) The longer your career/job history is focussing the detail on the most recent/relevant and dilute over the history/relevance is key. There is no need to get into detail of roles that you had at the start of your career that have no relevance to the one you are applying for today. in this case just cover the dates and roles.
Keep your job titles 'real' and specific, if your an Account manager, Sales development representative, Account executive say that. In an attempt to look more important "Chief Revenue Wrangler" may sound grand and actually convey the importance of the job responsibilities but it's easy to spot grandeur! Most importantly when recruiters and companies search for sales people via job platforms and the likes of LinkedIn they search for the titles they are recruiting for, so think of your CV as your own personal SEO tool as a well. That goes for all the other points discussed.
Make you role descriptions well structured.
Each role is headed with an introduction to give a brief overview of the role, company, and size and scale of your duties. The main responsibilities are to be listed in short sharp bullet points to make it easy for recruiters/employers to digest the information within them. They demonstrate how your skills and knowledge are applied in the roles, and the impact. Skills such as negotiation, customer retention, account planning, understanding/using data, own/solve problems, and closing sales are important abilities to highlight.
Talk about results
Sales is a results-driven profession, it therefore amazes me most CV's don’t talk about people's success and achievements. It’s crucial to highlight what you’ve achieved for previous employers and personally too. Include them in each job or summarise them all in one section, for me the latter is actually clearer and stands out. Ultimately do you deliver, are you a consistent achiever, what are your key highlights, and did you win any awards?
To secure a good sales job, you must include numbers in your CV. Focus on detail such as how much revenue you (and your team if relevant) have generated and percentage of your target that you hit over a period of time in each of your roles. This is the first thing employers will look for when scanning your CV because it instantly marks someone out as appropriate for the role. include other KPI performance metrics. With a lot of remote roles and particularly with telesales roles focus on talk time, number of dials, conversions etc.
Are you well trained, how do you stay relevant. The best salespeople are well trained and operate in a structured sales environment so summarise what training you have had, be it specific sales like MEDDIC, SPIN, Challenger sale, Miller Heiman etc. Include other training and courses you have received as part of your sales training like negotiation and relevant to the industry.
Who have you sold to?
Specific industry experience is a massive advantage in most jobs and sales is no difference. Employers want to know which businesses you have sold to and at what level to ensure they’re hiring a relevant candidate.
While you should avoid boring clichés, the odd one or two sales-focused buzz word can make your CV interesting to employers because you’re telling them what they want to hear. For example, “new business acquisition” "cold calling” "new logo's" “reoccurring revenue growth” "ARPA increase" and “networking” where relevant these are words hiring managers like to read particularly linked to the job they are recruiting for.
It says you are recognised for being a top performer and it also means you were in the top quartile, the best. Also, a little-known fact is that recruiters like us can search for these people ‘presidents club’ ‘gold award winner’ ‘best revenue growth award’
You now know how to make your sales CV stand out, time to get ready for the interviews!
Director @ Candoo.co.uk | Helping people build great teams