How to create a stand-out CV for your first job in sales
Laura Slingo at TopCV, the largest CV-writing service in the world, shares advice on how to tailor your sales CV for maximum impact during your job search.
As you’re applying for an entry-level role, employers don’t yet expect you to have a fully-developed set of sales skills and tons of experience. However, there are likely to be hundreds of other candidates with a similar level of experience to you, so you need to make sure what you have stands out above the rest.
Here are some tips to help your CV stand out when applying for your first job in sales.
Identify your most relevant skills
Once you’re committed to finding a job in sales, your CV must reflect your competency in that area. Otherwise, recruiters or hiring managers may struggle to see your true potential and will most likely move on to the next candidate who has displayed a more relevant skill set.
When you’ve found a sales role you like, scan the job description and identify the essential requirements you fulfill. Common sales requirements can include communication expertise for presentations and client meetings, the ability to work under pressure and strong administrative and numeracy skills.
Ensure these skills are displayed on your CV. By drawing parallels between your skill set and what’s required for the vacancy, you prove that you’re a great fit for the role and worth considering for an interview.
Iron out your structure
Once you’re familiar with the skills you need to add, it’s time to consider the structure of your CV so your abilities are displayed effectively. As a rule of thumb, CVs should follow the following format:
Name and contact details
Hobbies and interests (optional)
But CVs are flexible, and you can adapt the structure to make your relevant skill set and qualifications more prominent. Your most impactful abilities should sit in the top third of your CV as the recruiter or hiring manager will read them first.
Since you’re applying for an entry-level role and are most likely a recent school or university leaver, you might find that your education demonstrates your competence more than your work history. If this is the case, list it ahead of your work experience.
However, if you’ve had a job, placement or voluntary experience that displays concrete sales skills in action, it would be best to list this section after your personal statement instead.
If you have room to play with on your CV, you can add a hobbies and interests section. If you choose to do so, ensure your interests are relevant to the sales role or are generally deemed as impressive. Otherwise, they add very little to your application.
Highlight the impact you can make
To be successful in sales, you need to prove your credibility. How do you do this? By supporting your claims with performance records, ROI figures and by using concise, persuasive language. The same approach applies to your sales CV, no matter what level you’re at.
Start by bullet pointing your skills and abilities. This formatting option is less daunting than chunky paragraphs and allows recruiters to pick out your qualities easily.
Each bullet point should start with a punchy verb, rather than stating ‘I did this’ and ‘I did that’. These verbs help your achievements sound powerful and impressive. Some great options include: managed, controlled, coordinated, created, developed, designed, increased, decreased, supported, influenced, delivered and analysed.
Then, support each of your claims with facts, figures and other numerical values to reinforce your abilities. Quantifying results will show you’re an authentic sales professional worth hiring.
TopCV offers a range of CV-writing services including expertly-written and keyword-optimised CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. It is currently offering a free CV review to help you land your dream job.