There is no perfect CV. Where one recruiter may see an ideal candidate another will see someone with too much or too little of the needed experience.
Ideally you need to have two or three CVs relevant to yourself but with greater emphasis on aspects of your experience relevant to the role you are applying for.
Try and get into the mind of the recruiter, what is it they’re looking for? If the advert says “we require an excellent business developer” then highlight winning customers in your CV. Talk about accounts you’ve won, targets you’ve hit. Don’t harp on about your great technical knowledge if that’s not one of the requirements. However, if the advert reads “must be mechanically minded” then highlight your Mechanical Engineering degree, emphasise your ability to converse with Engineers etc.
Spend time to think about your good points, successes and achievements. Remember your CV is probably the most important document you have. Take your time, don’t hurry, do a first draft and then redraft until it’s right. Plan what you want to convey and how you’re going to convey it. Make sure every word and sentence is selling you and your application.
The layout of the CV should be professional and uncluttered, avoid using lots of different fonts and colours. Start with your name and contact details at the top. List roles with dates, job titles and employers in reverse date order i.e. starting with your most current role first. Try not to go over 2 sides of A4 paper and definitely no more than three. Put more emphasis and detail on recent roles and achievements as opposed to roles you were in many years ago. Do a spell check but also thoroughly proof read your CV. A spellchecker would miss the mistake of putting a title down as Sales Manger instead of Manager as Manger is a word.
A profile or summary is a great way to condense your experience into a few sentences for the recruiter to get an idea of what you’re about. This is your 15 second commercial to get the recruiter thinking in a positive way about you. The profile or summary should be factual and informative i.e.
15 years sales and sales management experience in the construction industry, managing up to 20 staff, specialising in interior fit out and commercial property design. Won and managed contracts up to £1.5million. Progressed from Site Manager to Sales Representative to Sales Manager etc etc
Obviously this example is only valid if the role is in the construction industry. If the role you are applying for is a Sales Manager in a different industry you would steer clear of mentioning construction just yet as this is not relevant and so may act as a negative influencer to the recruiter. In this case you may word it something like this
15 years sales and sales management experience in a fast paced industry, managing up to 20 staff in diverse projects. Won and managed contracts up to £1.5millon. Gained promotion 3 times in 7 years etc etc.
Remember, with the profile you’re attempting to get the recruiter to begin thinking that you‘re the right candidate. Make sure it ticks all the boxes that the advert is asking for. Do not do what the majority of people do which is a list of attributes that they think is impressive i.e.
A proactive, enthusiastic Sales Manager with a can do attitude, able to work equally well on my own or as part of a team. A real go getter with excellent communication skills. Able to converse at all levels from Shop Floor to Board Room.
Notice that the first profile deals in facts whilst the last one is a biased opinion of you
When putting the detail of your role don’t put a Job Description i.e.
Field Sales Representative: My role is to visit customers face to face on a regular basis, presenting our products and dealing with any queries and quotes. Offering advice where needed and handling any objections. Presenting features and benefits, growing the revenue from my area, working to tough targets. Responsible for upkeep of company car. Reporting to the Sales Director sales figures, activity and market information.
A Sales Director knows what a Field Sales Rep does! What they want to know is did you make your own appointments? Was it an account management or business development role? How many customers visited a day? What made you a success in this role? How did you perform against target? So word it like this instead.
Field Sales Representative. A traditional external sales role, visiting self appointed leads. One day a week in office appointment setting, working on quotes etc and four days on road visiting approx 8 clients a day. 70% account managing and 30% new business development. Responsible for the complete sales cycle from identifying the lead to close.
- 2nd highest revenue generator out of a team of 15
- Won sales person of the month 3 times this year
- Grew a stagnant account from £300 spend per month to over £3500
- Grew total existing accounts spend by 15% over past year. Average for sales team is 3%
- Won a prestigious hotel account from a cold telesales call. Client currently spending £65,000 per annum
- Regularly over achieve target. Currently 112% ahead year to date.
- Once when I heard a customer was going to switch to a competitor I visited all 9 of their Branch Managers in a day and saved the account keeping the annual spend of £175,000.
Notice how the second example gives the recruiter a greater insight into what you’re about and the type of sales person you are.
Get them thinking yes, yes, yes. When a recruiter has potentially dozens of CVs to get through they are making judgements about your application from the moment they pick it up. Don’t imagine some one will dedicate 15 minutes reading your CV, taking it all in, reading between the lines, weighing up the pros and cons and then coming to a reasoned judgement. You’ve got less then a minute to get the recruiter to be interested enough to read all of your CV. In that minute as they quickly scan it you’ve got to get them thinking “yes the CV is professional and well laid out, yes they’re in the right location, yes they’ve got a driving license, yes their summary shows they have the right experience, yes I can see this person is an achiever”. All these little yeses help push the recruiter towards judging you a suitable candidate to proceed with. What you don’t want them thinking is “poorly laid out CV, not another proactive enthusiastic go getter, summary says worked in construction which is not important to us, details of jobs look like they could have been copied from job description”. Create a WOW factor. You’ve got to get the recruiter thinking “wow I’ve got to get this person in, they look ideal”.
Do not present your CV as written in the third person i.e. Debbie has been in sales for over 10 years etc… People who do this want to give the impression they have had the CV professionally created which they think gives it some sort of prestige. It doesn’t. All it’s demonstrating is that you don’t have the intelligence, creativity and skill to create your own CV. Even if you do get your CV professionally created, which is a good idea, get them to word it in such a way that it looks like you’ve created it yourself.
If you would like some more advice on creating your CV or would like some examples of effective CVs please feel free to contact us.