Laura Slingo at TopCV, the largest CV-writing service in the world, shares tips on applying for vacancies and the questions you should ask yourself beforehand.
As a sales professional, you know that first impressions count. If you’re looking for a brand new role, your CV is that first impression, so you can’t afford to cut corners when writing it.
Here are five questions to ask yourself before applying for a vacancy to ensure your CV is in tip-top shape and ready to seriously impress your prospective employer.
Before applying for a role, cross-reference your CV with the requirements listed in the job advert. You might know that you’re a great fit for the job, but unless the right skills are presented on your CV, the recruiter will be none the wiser.
Filter through the job description and identify the keywords and requirements you align with, and then sprinkle these words and phrases naturally throughout your CV. Not only will this signal to the employer that you’re a match, but it will also help your CV pass an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is often used as a stage-one filter in the application process.
Before you submit your CV to an employer, review your employment history to check that it goes beyond your main responsibilities. While your day-to-day duties will tell the recruiter what you do, adding your achievements will show them what you’re capable of – especially if you quantify your ability with numbers.
For example, ‘I closed sales’ may be true, but it doesn’t make you stand out against the competition. ‘Generated over €50k in revenue over a six-month period’, however, will help recruiters benchmark you against other candidates.
When you’ve got a few years of sales experience under your belt, it can be tricky to choose how to display this value on your CV to capture an employer’s attention.
As a rule of thumb, you should showcase your key selling points in the top third of your CV. While you can dive straight into your personal statement and employment history, you might like to inject a ‘core competencies’ section ahead of your work history to make your sales experience more prominent.
By prioritising your core skills in this way, you help the recruiter identify your suitability for the role quickly.
When you’re an established sales professional, it can be tricky to cram years of experience onto a two-page CV – but you don’t need to squeeze every detail onto the document. Employers are only interested in your recent positions because it represents your current level of ability.
Ensure your latest role covers the most detail, and rein in the details as you work back through your employment history. If you have positions from over a decade ago, you can leave them off your CV completely and use the space to talk about qualities that are more pertinent to the employer.
When it comes to sales, you should know that looking professional is just as important as knowing your stuff. Your CV is no exception if you want to create a killer first impression. Ensure that the content of your CV fits two pages comfortably, tweaking the page margins or font sizes slightly if needed. Also choose a plain, easy-to-read font, and keep the formatting and styling consistent throughout the document for the ultimate professional feel.
Before you apply for your next sales role, make sure you answer these questions. That’s how you’ll know your CV is ready to go and will position you for your next role in sales.
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.