How to Write a Sales Executive CV
In your Sales Executive CV, you have to sell yourself to a prospective employer. You will be very familiar with selling a product or service on behalf of your employer in the marketplace, but this can be very different from writing about yourself.
Even the most senior executives in all areas of commerce can find this difficult - finding the balance between being objective about your strengths and qualities, and writing with passion and commitment about yourself, can be extremely hard.
First and foremost, you need to take time to research and prepare your CV. This is not a document that can be written 'off the cuff'. You are likely to face a lot of competition for the best jobs, so there is no point in drifting into the crowd.
Your Sales Executive CV, when it is picked up by an employer, will have to impress them within just 30 seconds or less, and must convince them that you can influence future sales and drive the growth of their company. The big challenge is doing this without exaggerating or boasting.
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Overall Direction of Your Sales Executive CV
Above all else, your CV needs to communicate the fact that you have contributed to employers' successes in the past when you are applying for sales jobs. Therefore you need to highlight your sales capabilities and value to potential employers. This means covering what you have done, plus how and why you did it, in order to foster the conviction that you can do the same again.
Your areas of expertise and industry knowledge need to leap out of your Sales Executive CV. Your energy and drive must be beyond doubt. The employer must also be able to read about profits - all the personal qualities in the world are of no use if you cannot bring in the sales.
What Must Your Sales Executive CV Show an Employer?
Sales people are recruited because an employer has an important business need - they are never a luxury. You are not there to talk about the future, but to create it in hard, financial terms. When an employer picks up a Sales Executive CV they are going to be thinking about all or some of the following concerns:
- Can you lift awareness of the employer's brand in the marketplace to the point where customers will part with their money for the employer's product or service, instead of someone else's?
- Can you add to their profits by meeting - or, even better, exceeding - their financial targets?
- Will your actions lead to an ongoing rise in sales, through repeat orders and new customers?
- How soon can you make a difference and will your motivation continue?
- Can you provide new ideas for selling their product or service?
All of these questions can be addressed in your professional CV and you should ensure that they are. What's more, they can be substantiated with evidence of your former successes, adding weight to the employer's belief that you can help address their problems or build on their current success.
This is the crux of writing your Sales CV - you must think about the employer's requirements, not what you would like to be doing.
Sales Executive CV Profile
Remember that your Sales Executive CV is not an autobiography; it is a document that sells you by addressing the five concerns above.
Do not deviate from this and your CV will stand a far greater chance of being successful and gaining you an interview.
While addressing these concerns, you need to target your CV to that particular employer.
This means doing your research into their activities, their goals and their sales and marketing activities, and determining how your past achievements (evidence that shows how you may be able to help this employer) illustrate your potential to help them.
You will need to angle your Sales Executive CV to different employers, so be prepared to amend it each time you submit an application. The point is to make your CV absolutely relevant to that vacancy and that vacancy alone. This means highlighting your relevant strengths throughout and trimming out anything that is less than relevant.
You must communicate this at the top of your CV, in the Profile. If you cannot capture an employer's attention in the first couple of lines, then they are not going to believe that you can capture a client's. Unsurprisingly, sales CVs need to be results oriented above everything else.
So, you must immediately emphasise your outstanding sales skills and potential value to that employer. Always focus on the employer's needs. Why would the employer benefit from having you on their team?
Mention your key strengths and the sector or industry in which you can offer existing knowledge. Your Profile should be written in such a way that your energy, forward drive and motivation is obvious.
Your direction can be demonstrated through the close match between what you are offering and what the employer needs. If you are working in a specialist industry, identify the markets in which you operate and the type of clients you have achieved success with.
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Highlight Your Achievements on Your Sales Executive CV
This is the section of your Sales Executive CV where you need to introduce plenty of hard figures, that is, currency totals, percentages, etc. Your achievements will add weight to your CV as they provide evidence that you can actually deliver the goods.
Achievements are compelling and do more to sell you than perhaps any other part of your CV. An achievement can show that you:
- Generated new leads that led to sales.
- Initiated sales campaigns that yielded results.
- Raised awareness of the brand, increasing market share.
- Increased sales and profits.
- Personally built up a high sales quota, meeting or exceeding targets.
- Led the way on sales team projects or played a significant role in their accomplishments.
- Turned ailing accounts into success stories.
- Took part in a successful new product or line launch.
- Personally negotiated new deals with outstanding results.
Be Specific - and Transparent
Always say what you did, how you did it and what the outcome was. The critical component of all written achievements that include such information is the numerical factor.
Always specify the results that you achieved on your Sales Executive CV: How much? How many? How quickly? To what value?. Numbers really do add power to your claims.
The more specific you are, the more the employer will trust what you have written. When writing your achievements, also give the context that you produced them in. So, if you achieved a moderate quota, stating that the account had previously been in decline makes the achievement more credible, while being altogether more impressive.
Turning a negative into a positive is far harder than continuing a good run of sales that somebody else has set up for you.
This brings up an important point: your individual integrity. The employer may want a confident, motivated sales or business development executive, but this does not mean that they want a person who exaggerates their accomplishments or takes credit for the work of others.
It is better to be genuine and give a slightly smaller but accurate figure, rather than to exaggerate or inflate your results. Many employers are now undertaking fact checking on Sales Executive CVs, so your white lie could easily be exposed. If you are then asked at interview and repeat the exaggeration, it is very likely that you will not get the job, because the employer will decide you are dishonest.
So, being specific and giving honest information will get you further than glossing the truth, because your information will be transparent and therefore believable, lending you integrity. If you are faced with the problem of confidentiality when writing of your previous work, you can resort to percentages or approximations - you add in brackets the fact that the information is confidential.
Sales Executive CV Career History
As you work through your Career History, continue to use as many achievements as possible in order to outline your duties and responsibilities. Each achievement on a Sales Executive CV should show how you made a difference through your personal efforts.
Your detailed entries can include many achievements. Here is a checklist of the information you should ensure is included, whether linked directly to achievements or not. Your bullet points should not be paragraphs, but you can make them two sentences long without losing impact.
- Name of the employer and your job title.
- A brief description of the employer's business activity, if this is not well-known.
- Your targets and sales results.
- Your role and general responsibilities, particularly with regard to planning campaigns. How big was your annual quota?
- Details of the important projects you worked on, including budgets, results and adherence to deadlines.
- Details of any new systems, processes, practices and techniques you introduced.
Package Yourself Well on a Sales Executive CV
The formatting of your Sales Executive CV should be excellent, so that it is easy to read, being well laid out and presented. It should look like a superb selling document.
However, when we talk about packaging - or presentation - we mean more than the appearance. Self presentation is about how you carry yourself, how you speak and the impression you make on levels other than the content of what you are saying.
It is important to write in a confident tone, but not over confident. You should be using strong and positive language, adding impact to the statements you are making. Every word should be supporting the core message of your CV: that the recruiter should invite you to interview because you are the best candidate for the job.
The other thing to retain is a sense of your personality. As well as achievements, you need to ensure that your personal qualities come across. Which qualities are admired by your staff? If you find it hard to identify them, ask somebody who knows you well at work and whom you trust.
You can also make your CV more individual through the use of verbs ('describing words') used before verbs (action words). This makes your description of how you achieved something just that little bit more rounded.
Keywords are Important on Your Sales Executive CV
Having just mentioned personality, we have to address the fact that modern technology plays an increasing role in the early stages of candidate selection. Scanning software is used by many major employers to sift through the 100s of CVs that may arrive in response to a single job advertisement.
As CVs are selected on the basis of strings of keywords entered into the system, it is inevitable that the inclusion of industry keywords and buzzwords will give your Sales Executive CV a stronger chance of being selected. However, do use them carefully and ensure that they do not stand out amidst the flow of your content. Do not compromise quality by inserting repetitive jargon.
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