A great sales CV is like the best of your initial pitches: It gets you in front of the client (or recruiter) so you can make the sale. Get your presentation in order and you will be on your way to your next great sales gig. Whoop whoop, look at you go.
You know it takes time to make a final sale, or get that job offer, but you also know your initial contact (that’s your sales CV!) can make or break your sale.
Take advantage of cvapp.nz’s heavy-duty resources for job seekers: our CV guides and CV examples for more than 300 professions, plus a powerful CV builder. Let us power one of the most important sales pitches you will ever make: the one that closes the deal on your next great job!
This CV guide, along with the corresponding CV example will cover the following topics:
- What does a sales professional do?
- How to write a sales CV (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a sales CV
- Our top tips for each section of your CV (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional CV layout and design hints.
What does a sales professional do?
Sales professionals sell, of course, but there’s more to it than offering a product or service and walking away. Sales professionals must know everything there is to know about what they are selling. But they also have to understand their clients, the market and what differentiates what they sell from other products.
Some sales professionals may generate their own leads, while others will either receive leads from a marketing department or have people walk into their place of business looking to buy. Sales professionals may have one client who they are responsible for, which means they must have a great relationship with that client and be able to anticipate and address their needs and any problems that arise. Other sales professionals have repeat clients or must continuously find new sales targets.
The seven types of sales jobs*
Sales professionals have the opportunity to pursue various roles within their field. Here are seven different roles for salespeople:
- Inside sales: Responsible for serving current clients and maintaining the company’s relationship with them.
- Outside sales: Face-to-face selling to customers outside the office.
- Sales support: Work in a team to support the salespeople.
- Client services: Ensure customer satisfaction and increase sales to existing customers. Similar to inside sales.
- Lead generation/development: Research and network to obtain new business contacts that may become customers.
- Business development: Sell products by any ethical means including door-to-door or cold-calling.
- Account manager: Focus on existing accounts and continue to sell these accounts new services or products.
*Source: Sales Force Search
How to write a sales CV
The very first step in writing your sales CV is understanding what sections to include. Your CV should contain the following elements:
- The CV header
- The CV summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The CV skills section
- The education section
Within that framework, you need to address the sales needs of your prospective employer in the tone that matches the company’s style. Just as you research your clients before making your pitch, you should research the company here and aim your pitch directly at the recruiter or your prospective boss. This has the dual purpose of answering the questions, “Will you fit into our culture?” and “What can you do to lift my sales numbers?”
A great CV sells you as well as you sell the products and services you represent. Take these steps to help ensure you get the interview:
- Directly address the needs of the company and show how you can fill those needs with skills you have already demonstrated.
- Make a professional first impression with a clean, easy-to-read sales CV layout and design.
- Focus on the keywords and phrases you need to include to avoid being filtered out by the ATS. An ATS is an algorithm or software recruiters use to shortlist candidates. If your CV doesn’t include any keywords or phrases, you risk being rejected by the ATS – boo!
Almost all large companies use an Applicant Tracking System to scan and sort CVs. To help you optimise your CV for the ATS, make sure you personalise your application for each job. Here are some steps to make that process easy:
- Analyse the job listing and highlight all needed skills and attributes
- Mark the skills you have
- Check your CV to make sure they are included at least once
- Use exact keywords and phrases from the job listing.
Targeting not only helps you beat the ATS, but it tells the hiring manager that you want that specific job.
Choosing the best CV format for sales
Here we recommend you stick with the most popular CV format: reverse chronological order. Why? Recruiters and employers like it best. They know exactly where to find the information that is important to them and they can quickly see where you are in your career right now.
This format is also favoured by ATS, so when you apply online, the scanning process will most likely place your information into the correct boxes.
If you are a new entry into the workforce, check out the CV formats we suggest as chronological alternatives or hybrids. Mature job seekers shifting careers might also find these ideas useful.
CV summary example: your elevator pitch
Within your sales CV, the summary section, or personal statement, is the one place you can show off your smooth sales talk. The rest of your CV consists of bulleted items, but here you have the freedom of 3-4 sentences. Describe your sales style while you impress them with your sales skills. No need to repeat what you will have outlined in your employment history section, but do be sure to shine a spotlight on one or two of your greatest sales achievements.
You can find a CV example for your summary section below.
Strong leader with the ability to increase sales and develop strategies to retain customers. Bringing forth a proven track record of working collaboratively with sales teams to achieve goals, increase revenue gains, and advance the sales cycle of the company. Adept in leading sales training workshops, and managing teams to achieve company goals. Several years of experience in various retail settings with a proven track record of job success.
Employment history sample: deliver the goods
The employment history section of your sales CV is where reverse chronological order comes in. Starting with your most recent position, you should detail all you have accomplished. You’re a sales pro, so you know numbers count. Use them here to back up your sales assertions.
Below you will find an adaptable employment history CV example.
Sales Assistant at Carter & Wayne, Auckland
December 2017 — Present
- Tracked competitor activities and prices to ensure competitiveness
- Analysed customer feedback and developed strategies to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Developed and implemented a customer relationship management system that increased customer retention by 80%
- Assisted in the development of new products and services, resulting in a 60% increase in profits
Sales Consultant at Wyatt Hill, Auckland
January 2014 — April 2017
- Created marketing materials and campaigns that effectively promoted the company's products and services
- Created and delivered effective presentations that showcased the company's products and services
- Utilised a CRM system to track customer data and monitor sales performance
Retail Assistant at Hannah Miller Jewellers, Auckland
February 2010 — February 2013
- Responded to customer inquiries and complaints in a professional manner
- Assisted in the training of new retail staff
- Collaborated with other retail staff to ensure all customer needs were met in a timely manner
- Developed and maintained product knowledge to answer customer inquiries and promote sales
Sales CV skills example: attributes in demand
What makes you a great sales professional? Can you articulate your professional value in your top 4-7 top skills? That’s what you are tasked with doing in the skills section of your sales CV. Sales takes top flight interpersonal skills, but you also need a depth of knowledge in your industry vertical and be proficient in a number of sales applications and software.
Create a list that speaks directly to the needs of your targeted employer (and the ATS!) by reviewing the job listing and your research one more time. Choose skills that match closely with those the new position demands.
Try to find a balance between your emotional intelligence and your technical expertise.
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Fast Learner
- Ability to Work in a Team
- Customer Service
Sales education CV example
You’ve reached the easiest section of your sales CV to compile! In this section, you should list your high school and any university degrees you have. If you have earned a tertiary degree, you don’t have to include details about your high school.
If you have certifications or have completed sales seminars that enhance your CV, you may add them here as well.
Below you will find an education section CV example as a formatting guide.
Bachelor of Commerce, University of Auckland, Auckland
February 2007 — July 2011
CV layout and design: showcase your style
You know how important first impressions are, so apply that knowledge here. Use these helpful hints for presentation to enhance the look of your sales CV.
Think easy-to-read. While you want to capture attention, your real goal is to get your document read. Keep your margins at one inch and use a clear, legible font. Leave ample white space.
Straddle the line between eye-catching and glaring. Minimise the use of colour and avoid graphics and images. Save the flash for your sales presentations.
Expert tip: The key components of your CV are your contact information and your most recent job and title. This is where hiring managers look first, so make sure these items are easy to find.
Finally, make sure your CV text and formatting are free of typos and errors. Using an online builder tool such as the one from cvapp.nz which has a built-in spellchecker and one of our CV templates to get your job hunt going quickly.
Key takeaways for a sales CV
- The demand in many areas of sales is sluggish, but high tech and scientific sales jobs are going unfilled.
- Use your excellent communication and sales skills to sell your prospective employer on you.
- Focus each CV on your targeted job by personalising your sales CV to address the needs of each employer.
- Take advantage of the online CV builder to help you seal the deal on you new job!