CV need work?


1. Don't get too concerned about keeping your CV to 2 pages. This is the first 'rule' that is not 'a rule' at all. Neither should it be 'War & Peace'. The important thing is to keep it succinct with lots of white space to make it easy to read.

2. Use a clear, classic font like Arial or Calibri. Don't go for anything too quirky as it doesn't create a professional impression and stop employers from taking you seriously.

3. Start with the obvious personal information. Make sure your name is clear and ensure your phone number and email address are easy to read. State you have a full clean driving licence (spelt correctly) - important if you are applying for field sales positions.

4. Remember your CV is a sales document. This is the first impression that a potential employer is going to have. The Personal Profile is your 'headline'. This is an 'impact' statement that introduces who you are and what your key skills and attributes are. Personal Profile:

'An accomplished sales professional with a proven track record in new business. Driven, competitive, with a passion for winning new accounts and developing existing relationships.'

This is clearly the CV of a 'new business' sales person and is sending a clear message to a potential employer; I'm happy cold calling. True new business sales people are rare. If you have this skill; sell it!

Most sales people prefer managing accounts and developing existing relationships and there are obvious ways of indicating this:

'An excellent relationship builder with a proven track record in developing existing accounts. Superb organisational and analytical skills. Enjoys building a loyal and longstanding customer base.'

The safest approach is to write a profile that introduces you as an all rounder. So a combination of both would appeal to the widest audience. Be honest with yourself and put your strongest skills first.

5. The next part of the CV is your Employment History. Work backwards from your current job. Clearly put the dates first in bold - Don't just use years; it's irritating as it isn't clear and looks as if you are trying to hide something. The company name and your position

Then clearly state what you are selling - it sounds obvious, but many people don't put it down. Clearly state which markets you sell into and your route to marke

May 2009 - Present ABC Commercial Flooring
Technical Sales Manager
Selling floor coverings to commercial and industrial end users in every market, including the public sector. Gaining specification through architects and forging and maintaining relationships with contractors. Key markets have been retail chains, education, high profile office blocks and the MOD.

Now start to drill down into more detail. Bullet point to make it easier to read. You need to state your average project or order value. What level of decision maker do you sell to within the end user and within the contractors? Remember it is not always the product that you sell that is important to the employer; it is the markets that you operate in and the people that you know.

Average project value £200K
Selling to Facilities Managers, Estates Managers, Project Managers. Presentations to boards of directors.
Long sales cycles - sometimes lasting up to a year to close.
Closely managing a pipeline and ensuring that projects are running smoothly to strict timelines and budgets.

For every position it is important to state your key achievements within the role. I would put them in bold font. Make them stand out. This gives the interviewer something to talk about and enables you to sell yourself effectively. Don't go into too much detail; just put down a 'headline'. You will have chance to talk more about them in the interview.

6. Wherever possible put down figures. Performance v target. Average order values. Turnover when you started, turnover now. How much have you increased the £££ by? You are a sale person; you are employed to make the company money. They want to know how much you can increase their turnover by. However, highlight your strengths not average performances.

7. Next you need to put down your education and vocational qualifications. If you are well into your career, with a degree and a raft of technical qualifications then it isn't necessary to list every GCSE. Use your judgement. Remember not to take up too much space

8. Finally, put down something about yourself. What do you do outside of work? Interviewers like to get to know you as a person as well as you as a potential employee. This part of the CV can still sell you. Put down anything competitive, sporty, community spirited, charity work, family. Anything memorable about you.

Your CV is a sales document. It needs to excite the reader, make them want to see you face to face. It needs to stand out from the crowd.