How to Structure your CV for Sales Roles

By Ellis Foot, Technology Sales Consultant

It's the busiest time in the recruitment market, particularly for sales professionals. Most companies within the technology market already have a strong idea of how they are going to generate revenue this year and have their hiring plans to facilitate this. Meanwhile, those of you dreading to return to work after the Christmas break are taking your first steps to finding a new role. The market is booming.

So, I thought I would offer some CV oriented advice to those looking to take the leap this year. Drafting a CV may seem like a menial task, but I consistently see great salespeople with CVs that don’t reflect their ability, which will often lead to you falling short at the first hurdle.

Your CV should have one, solitary purpose: Getting you through the door for a conversation by dangling enough of the carrot.

Now whether you’re a 20+ year sales veteran or 1st jobber, the best way to do this, is to:

KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT RELEVANT

Businesses (and recruiters) will only look for important details. The rest will be skim read or disregarded entirely, a savage truth unfortunately.

It’s therefore vital you make the highlights easy to digest by not surrounding it with waffle or irrelevant information.

Put yourself in their shoes, what would you want to know about a salesperson?

These are the three things that will go through their head in a matter of seconds:

Are you any good?

  • The best way to show this is by putting your sales figures, targets vs achievements, largest deals, biggest achievements, promotions – this is your credibility!

Is your current client base relevant or transferable?

  • Who are your clients, what are your target verticals and what regions have you covered? A hiring manager will be asking themselves if "can we use this or is it transferable enough to what we do".
  • Name drop the important ones (if you can). If a business knows you’ve already sold to someone they want to target, it’ll make the hairs on their arm stand up.

Is your product experience relevant or transferable?

  • What is your average deal cycle – i.e. between 3-6 months. If you’re applying for a position that requires a longer, consultative approach, this will distinguish you from a transactional salesperson
  • Is it SaaS, is it a platform, is it API focused, is it Data, is it AI? – What type of product are you selling? – Again, is this relevant or transferable to what we do?
  • What do you need to know in order to sell this product – what knowledge do you have that allows you sell this product effectively?

I can guarantee, as soon as they see a strong sales figure, relevant clients and product experience, you’ll go straight on the yes pile, so put yourself at an advantage!

Now you have the right information, there are key ways you can make yourself stand out through the structure, without needing to get fancy.

Keep the Format Consistent

  • Use the same concise format (example below) for every role breakdown – this makes the information easy to digest and quicker to extract
  • No one cares about the secondary school you went to in 1981 – put the education section right at the end not at the top
  • If you have extensive years of experience – flesh out the most recent 8-10 years, then shorten the rest of the roles to a few lines

Use Buzz Words and Use them Often

  • Job portals and CV Libraries work by picking out key words and phrases from the CV and matching them to the search. Therefore, if a recruiter is searching for “sales”, “payments”, “banks”, CVs with these words naturally incorporated throughout the text will go straight to the top of the list.

Park your Creativity – Focus on Information

  • It’s often the opinion that to make your CV stand out from the crowd you need to add fancy graphics and charts or crazy fonts to do so. This is great if your applying for a marketing or creative function, but you’re a salesperson! Bar graphs showing your slightly better at punctuality then you are at presentations give little to no credibility.

Check your Grammar and Spelling…then double check it…then get someone else to check it

  • Your CV will go straight in the bin if you spell definitely as defiantly
  • Don’t rely on your recruiter to point out mistakes, they are skim reading as well remember. They will trust that you are competent so don’t be complacent.
  • I’m now panicking I’ve made a spelling mistake in this article – but I’m not asking for a new company to pay me thousands of pounds a year.

I’ve attached an example below that’s been tailored from the best CV’s I see on a daily basis, I’d recommend playing with the structure to suit your own style.

Of course, this is subjective, and there may be more in your current role that is worth highlighting, however this format consistently sees the best response rate with our clients.

Sales Technology CV Template

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