How to Write a Sales Manager CV
You need an excellent Sales Manager CV, as sales management jobs are amongst the most hotly contended in the jobs' marketplace. For those with the right aptitudes in the selling environment, such jobs can yield rich rewards in a very short period of time.
The CV of a Sales Manager needs to demonstrate specialist skills, such as devising strategies, negotiating with clients and suppliers, managing the sales team, and undertaking effective communication and analysis. They also need to be able to work effectively under sometimes immense pressure, aiming to meet sales targets and motivating their team.
When writing your Sales Manager CV, the challenge is to impress the employer quickly, without exaggerating or boasting. This is a test not only of your persuasive communication skills, but of your integrity as a manager within their organisation.
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Sales Manager CV Profile
The Sales Manager's CV needs to impress from the word 'go' when you are applying for sales jobs. Communication abilities are so important, 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 management CVs need to be results oriented above everything else - no matter how huge your range of other skills, if your actions do not drive profits, then your contribution is meaningless.
Your Profile, at the top of your CV, must therefore immediately emphasise your outstanding sales skills and potential value to that employer. Do not mention what you are personally looking for (as in an Objective) - always focus on the employer's needs.
Your Profile should head straight to the reasons why the employer would benefit from having you on their team. Mention your key strengths as a sales manager, as well as the sector or industry in which you can offer existing knowledge.
It may help if you identify some keywords, particularly if applying to a large company that may use scanning software when doing an initial pass through large numbers of applications (the higher in your CV the keywords appear, the more value they'll attract in the scanning process).
Above all, your Sales Manager CV Profile should be written in such a way that your energy, forward drive and motivation is obvious. A sales manager will not progress far without these attributes.
Your Profile should show focus and direction. This 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.
For example a CV writer at Bradley CVs might write:
Innovative Sales Manager with proven ability to manage key account relationships and major projects in the clothing retail sector. Twenty years' experience in developing and leading target-beating sales teams and managing product lines through life cycle from inception to the marketplace. Superb planning capabilities include researching, identifying and documenting new product requirements, proposing and negotiating development investments, and shaping accurate sales forecasts and product pricing.
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Profits are Achievements in a Sales Management CV
Your Achievements section in your Sales Manager CV needs to have a similarly clear focus: the way in which your actions had a positive impact on the bottom line.
The accomplishments that you need to include in this section are (a) those most relevant to the vacancy arranged in order of (b) the biggest associated increase in profit.
Always write these in such a way that they are meaningful to people external to the organisation you worked or work for. It is all too easy to lapse into jargon to the detriment of intelligibility - remember to be an effective communicator.
Your achievements should all be compelling. Here are some pointers:
- If you were responsible for budgets, identify the most important projects, outlining what you decided to do, why you made that decision, how it worked and what the outcome was (in financial terms).
- If you introduced any sales procedures that had an impact on sales, describe these.
- General increases in productivity or enhanced efficiency can also be included.
- Refer to your territories and any challenges these presented, and which you overcame.
Leadership qualities are as important as sales abilities. Leadership skills support management skills but are not necessarily the same thing - leadership capabilities tend to be the attributes that make up your personal character. Therefore, your ability to listen, to communicate effectively with staff, to motivate other people and support them to the extent that they repay your loyalty with increased performance are amongst the qualities that you should be mentioning here.
On the hard skills side, you may also need to refer to the following in your achievements section on a Sales Manager CV:
- Sales policy formulation. How did the business benefit from your expertise?
- Strategic and tactical planning. Did you develop any new territories?
- Account development. How did your team perform? Have any accounts been dramatically developed or rescued?
- Running a sales team. Did your team meet quotas or exceed expectations? Did you introduce new training programs that improved performance?
- Target marketing and penetration. Did you introduce new products or services? How quickly did they grow?
- Competitive sales analysis. Have you introduced any new lines as a result of research, analysis and evaluation?
- Customer relations and sales presentations. Did you negotiate any outstanding contracts? Did ongoing customer relationship management yield repeat business or an increase in new business?
- Contract negotiating and closing sales. What were your team's specific sales figures, in currency or percentages?
A Results-Driven Career History on a Sales Manager CV
Once you have selected around six achievements for the Achievements section, you can continue using the rest of your achievements in your Career History on your Sales Manager CV.
You should detail the jobs you have held over the past ten years - details of earlier jobs only need be included if they are absolutely relevant, otherwise you can simply list the basic information (dates, employer's name, job title).
Your detailed entries can include many sales and other 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.
- The number of staff in the team you worked for.
- Your role and general responsibilities, particularly with regard to planning and budgets. How big was your annual budget?
- Details of the important projects you worked on, including budgets, results and adherence to deadlines.
- Details of any new systems you introduced, or processes, practices and techniques.
Does Your Sales Manager CV Portray Your Integrity?
It is always important to convey honesty and integrity in your Sales Manager CV. Working in a sales capacity, it is even more important to show you are completely trustworthy, as there are certainly some individuals who will stretch the truth to gain a profitable sale - or a good job.
Substantiate as many of your statements as you can through documentation so that, if asked, you can provide evidence. Every claim you make about increasing profitability must be able to stand up under closer scrutiny, likewise your qualifications and course attendances should all be robust under an employer's fact-checking or screening process.
The employer you are applying to may happen to take your claim to have worked for a company for a couple of months longer than you actually did as a sign of dishonesty, even though you may only see it as a slight and inconsequential tweaking of the facts.
You may not even get as far as an interview if you have exaggerated on your sales management CV. The technologies that are now available to employers make it extremely easy for them to check up on some basic facts, even before they've met you. They want someone who can increase their sales, while minimising their risk in employing you.
Selling the Product - Yourself
The Sales Manager CV that you send out should be a superb selling document. If you are unable to market yourself to an employer, why would they believe you could market their interests?
A confident tone is always important. It is important, though, that you do not sound overconfident, as this will mean you may be perceived as a risky candidate by the recruiter.
The language that you use should be strong and positive, adding impact to the statements you are making.
Every word should be supporting the core message of your sales management CV: that the recruiter should invite you to interview because you are the best candidate for the job. There is strong competition for the best sales management jobs, so unless you produce an exemplary CV you will not get a look in, as other sales candidates are likely to be highly skilled at selling themselves.
Use buzzwords and keywords, but not too many, as too much jargon can make your CV hard to read. What's more, it will lose the pace of the writing, as it will be harder for the reader to digest. Buzzwords do not make up for lack of content and what you have to say is always going to be more important, so do not comprise its clarity.
The other thing to retain is a sense of your personality. It is hard to explain exactly how you should do this, but you can usually achieve a degree of personality through description of your leadership qualities, which are more to do with your personal qualities than management skills.
So, if you write that you inspire your team, say what you inspire them with. 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 Sales Manager 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 specific.
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