Learn how to write a winning CV for your next sales job
As a sales professional, you know how important first impressions are. Your CV is your one chance to make a strong impression on potential employers and open the door to an interview. As a result, a CV that's attention-grabbing and proves you can deliver is essential.
Whether you're looking for a sales assistant, sales executive, sales advisor, sales manager, or sales director position, this guide will help you to write a winning CV for a sales job.
How to structure a sales CV
There is a fundamental structure for sales CVs, which includes the following sections:
Name, professional title and contact details
Education and qualifications
While all recruiters expect to see these details, you can alter the structure of your sales CV to showcase your relevant skill set in the best light and this may include adding sections to your CV if you have room.
For example, if you are a sales manager, you may include awards and conferences to highlight your presence in the field. If you are a sales assistant and early on in your career, you may include volunteering opportunities or even hobbies and interests which showcase your flair for sales.
How to format a sales CV
The look and feel of your CV is just as important as the layout. Formatting your CV requires the same level of care as polishing a deck for a prospective client.
The length is crucial. Too long and recruiters will switch off, or worse, read irrelevant or outdated information that weakens your pitch. Too short and there won't be enough detail to persuade. Two A4 pages is the optimal length for a sales CV. If you are a sales director, three pages could be appropriate.
To ensure communication is clear, use an easy-to-read font, such as Arial or Calibri, and signal each section of your CV with a bold heading. Adjust the margins and the font size so that your CV fits neatly onto two pages. Keep the ratio of text to white space balanced to ensure a clean and professional feel.
How to write a personal profile for a sales CV
A personal profile, sometimes known as a personal statement, is one of the most important sections of your sales CV. It is a short paragraph underneath your name and contact details that offers a punchy overview of:
Who you are
What you can offer the company or organisation
What you specialise in or your area of expertise
Essentially, your personal profile is your elevator pitch, used to enthuse recruiters and entice them into reading the rest of your CV.
Your personal profile should be tailored to each sales job application. It needs to include the features and benefits of hiring you that are most relevant – that is, your skills and knowledge and the impact you'll make. For example, typical sales skills include meeting targets and cold calling and the benefit to the employer would be generating higher sales volumes.
How to write key skills for a sales CV
Next is the key skills section, which does exactly what it says on the tin. This section details a bullet point list of six to 10 strong skills in your arsenal that are relevant to the role. Using bullet points in this way forces readers to notice the calibre of your skillset and knowledge.
Choosing which sales skills to add to your CV can be tricky, but not impossible. Think of your prospective employer as a client and reflect on the skills and experience that are most important to them and the problems you can help them solve. For example, it could be the level of personnel you have pitched to, the product knowledge you have, your competitor analysis skills or your ability to forecast revenue generation.
How to write work experience for a sales CV
The golden rule for listing work experience on your sales CV is to document it in reverse chronological order. That means starting with your most recent position. Your latest job is likely to be the highest point of your career to date and will offer the strongest representation of your abilities as a sales professional.
Structure each position with the dates you worked there – which can be listed as the month and year, or just the year – your job title and your employer. Underneath, add a summary of the role in one or two sentences, then bullet point your key achievements.
To ensure each point is impactful, stud every achievement with powerful verbs to pack a punch, such as generated, delivered, implemented or outperformed, and metrics, like sales figures and percentages, to quantify your results.
Here is an example of how to list sales experience on your CV:
Generated £100K revenue in year 1, exceeding annual sales targets by 10%
Implemented a new sales funnel for cold leads, increasing sales by 5% over 6 months
Coordinated pitch material for aggregates' annual expo, leveraging strong product knowledge
Remember, cherry-pick the skills that are most relevant to the employer, to tailor your CV to the vacancy.
As you work through your career history, reduce the level of detail. Positions from over 10 years ago can be summarised to one line or deleted altogether.
How to write education and qualifications for a sales CV
Like your employment history, education and qualifications should be listed in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent certificate. List the name of the institution, the date the qualification was awarded, plus the name and level of the qualification and the grade you achieved, if applicable.
Note that if you have recently left education and work experience is slim, you can include subjects, modules or dissertation details. You might also want to move the education and qualifications section ahead of your employment history, as your academic record may carry more weight.
Example of a sales CV
Writing a sales CV is akin to writing a sales email, so the process will likely come as second nature to sales professionals. However, if you're uncertain whether you've highlighted your skills in the best way possible, a free CV review will help you land your next sales role.
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